Practically every man has heard of Mickey Mantle, one of the greatest base-ball players who ever lived. I certainly heard about him while growing up since he was born and raised in a small town just north of my hometown in Oklahoma. On one occasion I actually saw him perusing the local sporting goods store during the off-season. Of course, I recognized him right away. I was in such awe of him that, rather than ask for his autograph, I casually walked by and purposely touched his hunting jacket from behind. I vowed I would never wash that hand again!
From the time Mickey Mantle was a little boy of five, his father surrounded him with a life of baseball. Mickey ate, drank, and slept baseball. By his own account, his achievements as a baseball player were partly attributed to the environment created by his father. In later life, Mickey credited his father’s constant emphasis on baseball as the strongest contribution to his Hall-of-Fame success.
Friend, whether it’s baseball or faith, I think you get the picture that what you emphasize and exercise in your own life will leave an indelible impression on your young ones. From my pastoral and personal experience, I see that many of us Christian fathers today have two main problems. First, as fathers we are not walking with great care. We are not careful enough about how we act around our children. Our kids sometimes do not see a significant difference between our actions and how those in the world act. This is why Paul says, “Be careful how you walk… redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:15, 16).
And, second, we as believing dads are not “redeeming the time” when it comes to our children. We are so concerned (and rightly so) about providing for the physical needs of our children that we don’t always give proper attention to their spiritual, mental, and emotional needs.
The most important way you can be a good example as a father is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and confess Him before others, including your family, and live a dedicated life for Christ. That’s a life worth imitating!
Your job is to make sure you establish an environment where your Christian beliefs and character are on constant display before your children. Our children must never for a moment think that our faith isn’t the most important thing in our life. They must never for a moment think that the Christian faith is only a “Sunday faith.” Instead, they must hear us constantly talking about Jesus. They must consistently see the vibrancy of our love for Jesus Christ as it is lived our in every aspect of our lives.
A Prayer to Pray:
Lord, help me to pay attention to my activities today and to consider the importance of the small decisions that I make that affect my family’s environment. May each decision be a reflection of my one big choice to follow You and lead my family into a growing relationship with You.
Find more challenges and insights into your godly role in A Husband After God’s Own Heart by Jim George.