In the last post we anticipated what habits would help husbands and fathers to be oriented toward the life of the home in ways that produce good fruit. What follows is not comprehensive. In fact it may seem simple, but simple things are often most important because they are most basic to life: plants need watering to live, pets need feeding to flourish, and man, well, man needs spiritual habits to cultivate holiness.
In the last post I ended with a thesis:
“A man’s improvement in the home comes through reorientation of his heart and habits.”
Let’s start with the heart.
Any notion that coming home to escape the hardships of the world also involves escaping the hardships of the home is a not-so-subtle retreat from a man’s godly responsibility. Worse, it is a lack of faith in God’s promise that great joy, the fullness of life, comes from precisely this labor from which Dad often wants to escape.
In the last post on Life's Chief Labor, I ended with the following claim:
“Every wife and every child can tell the difference between the father-and-husband’s genuine sacrificial work on behalf of the family that takes him out of their presence, and the sort of activity that the father-and-husband chooses for himself that takes him away with no perceivable benefit.”
When Dad has a job that requires him to work eight-t0-twelve-hour days to earn income, his family can see that the income he draws provides tremendous stability in the present and, if Dad is wise, into the future. The tangible goods Dad provides by his outside labor—clothes, food, shelter, recreation, etc.—Mom and the kids enjoy. However, Dad also brings significant good, or harm, through his labors in the home. When Dad gets home, are his choices bringing him into the lives of his wife and children, or escaping from them?
Our present culture offers little help to the Church Militant. Comforts and distractions abound; the continuous drone of ubiquitous advertisements chant a mantra of “you deserve it,” “take a break,” and “pamper yourself.” Lest we become the proverbial frog, slowly boiled to death in the accumulating abominations of our age, the Church must recover the glory and joy of indefatigable labor.
My father-in-law once told me that the saints of God will be the only ones singing in heaven. "What about the angels?" I asked. Without losing stride, he replied that nowhere does the Bible say that angels sing. They declare, they praise, they worship; he said, but they don't sing.
Now I've not checked all the references to determine whether or not my father-in-law's claim is true, but even so there is something important about his observation: the human voice is a unique instrument among God's creatures, and it is most uniquely played in the singing of songs.