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.
A Christian man may be loved and appreciated at his job, or he may not, but he is surely loved and appreciated by his wife and children even if his performance in his fatherly and husbandly duties pales in comparison to his job performance in the world.
Moreover, the love a Christian man displays toward his family declares the Heavenly Father’s love for Christ and His Bride to God and to the World. A man’s labors in the home are the testimony of man’s convictions about God and His Only-Begotten Son.
Also, a father’s willingness to engage in the life of the home with all of its messes, all of its hardships, all of its inconveniences pays far greater dividends than any amount of labor in the workforce ever will.
Proverbs 11:24-26 declares this to be true, albeit through necessary inference. A man who labors in the world labors for earthly goods—necessary goods—but earthly nonetheless. His generous distribution of these gifts may or may not roll back upon him. Indeed, he often labors for pagans who may no more recognize or love this man for his own sake than a stranger might. Yet a wife and children in a Christian home will receive the seeds and the watering of the husband-and-father’s labors like deep, rich loam; and they will grow up in his labors to be a family tree strong, fruitful, and unshaken by the storms of life.
But if a man will not work in his home, he will not eat such fruits. If a man is to enjoy the fruits of such labor, then the orientation of a man’s heart must be toward his home. Cultivating love for the labors of the home comes only to the degree with which he is convinced that the benefits of his labors at home will bring glories that far outweigh what any success in his profession can achieve.
A heart oriented toward the life of the home requires habits that keep it oriented there.
In our final post, we’ll consider a handful of habits that can hold the heart in its proper orbit.