Let me set a scene for you (and those of you with country roots will be able to relate). It’s early in the morning…the sun has yet to break through the horizon. You step out on your back porch and look around you. There’s a soft, gossamer film of dew on the grass making it look as though a spider was busy spinning her web over the landscape all night. The temperature is just right…you can barely see your breath as you exhale. Excitedly, you rush back inside the house and begin to get ready. You’ve been planning today for over a week now. You grab a cup of coffee and make for the bathroom to get ready. No shower. Just a splash of water on the face and a quick toothbrush and you’re getting dressed. It’s camouflage right down to your skivvies! You grab your favorite rifle (the one that’s been handed down to you from four generations ago), your pack and make for the door.
As you reach for the knob, you hear a soft, angelic little voice from behind you, “Daddy. Where you go?” You wince, knowing what’s about to happen.
“Daddy’s got to go run a few errands, Princess,” you reply, knowing that you’re lying to your two-year-old bundle of joy to spare her from the reality that Bambi is grave danger this morning.
“But daddy, you pay wit me now?” (Ouch! You can instantly begin to feel the air being let out of your sails.)
You respond with, “Honey. It’s too early to play. You need to go back to bed with your mother, Sweety.” (As if sugar-coating your words will coax your little pride and joy back into bed…when you know in your heart of hearts she’s as stubborn as her mother…I mean that as a compliment, Dear :)).
And finally, the coup de grace…”No go Daddy. You pay wit me now.” She flashes that cherub-like smile, and you melt like a candle put to a blowtorch!
You drop your pack and put your rifle back in the cabinet as you take her by the hand, “C’mon Princess. Let’s go make mommy some breakfast.”
Now, the hunting part of this story is purely fictitious for me as I’m not a hunter (not too many places to look for a buck when you live 45 minutes from New York City…in New Jersey…which is where I’m originally from). However, the rest of it isn’t far from the truth. There have been quite a few instances where I wanted to watch the game on TV, or go play a round of golf, or play a game on the computer, and it never happened because there was a soccer ball to be kicked or the little one wanted me to play tea party with her on her princess rug in her room :D. Personally, I live for those moments. My wife is the same way. We’d much rather spend time doing for each other and our children than ourselves…which brings me to our theme for today boys and girls…
One of the key elements of any successful relationship is sacrifice. For this one, we only need to look as far as the greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made to be our role model. Jesus died on the cross for ALL of our sins. What sacrifice could be greater? When you look at it that way, it’s pretty darn easy to give up a football game for a spot of tea with your daughter.
So, guys…let me speak to you for a moment. It’s okay to not go hunting, watch a football game, or play World of Warcraft (oops…I let the cat out of the bag…I’m a gamer), etc. for the greater good of your relationship with your family. Jesus has this to say about herding our sheep (men, we are the shepherd of our flock…our wives, children, colleagues, etc.)…
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me. Just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” – John 10:11-15 (Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, Tyndale)
It says in the Bible that the man is the head of the house. If you want to make life a lot easier with your wife and children, you have to develop a spirit of sacrifice. Give and give and give some more. It’s what you’re called to do as a husband and father and child of God. I promise you that the rewards far outweigh whether you get to see Dallas beating the Eagles or Redskins!
Now, don’t think you’re getting off scot-free ladies. Your man can’t give and give and give without receiving something in return. Face it. He’s a needy, clingy baby that craves attention. Deep down, all of us need that. Your role in this also requires sacrifice. When he does take the time for you and his family, recognize that, and tell him you appreciate him. Remember…you’re the Executive Officer, and you’re the support he needs to be the leader he’s called to be in Christ. And don’t hesitate to give up a trip to the nail salon to keep the kids occupied he plays a round of golf. When you see the little princess about to pounce on his conscience, head her off at the pass.
If Jesus could sacrifice His LIFE for ours so that we may live forever through Him, I, for one, can’t wait to sacrifice a bit of my time and attention for my flock :D.