HT: The Watchman’s Bagpipes

by William MacDonald (1917-2007)

God considers the home to be a very important force in the Christian life. The well-known statement, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” has truth in it beyond what appears on the surface. The family unit was designed by God for the preservation of much that is worthwhile in life. As less and less attention is devoted to the home, even so our civilization deteriorates rapidly. Paul’s first Letter to Timothy teaches in a special way that God has ordained home life as the means of developing spiritual qualities, so that one’s fitness for leadership in the church grows out of his proved character in the home. In the verses to follow we have some of the fundamental principles to guide in the establishment of a Christian home. In studying this section, we should be aware of the following “musts.”

1. There must be a family altar—a time each day when the family gathers for the reading of the Holy Scriptures and for prayer.

2. The father must have his place of authority in the home, and he must exercise it in wisdom and love.

3. The wife and mother should realize that her first responsibility to God and to the family is in the home. In general, it is not wise for the wife to have an outside job. There are, of course, exceptional cases.

4. The husband and wife should present a godly example to their children. They should be united on all matters, including the disciplining of the children, when necessary.

5. The family unit should be maintained. It is all too possible to become so engrossed in business, social life, and even in Christian service that the children suffer from lack of affection, companionship, instruction, and discipline. Many parents have had to confess mournfully over a wayward son or daughter: “And while your servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (1 Kgs. 20:40).

6. With regard to the disciplining of children, three cardinal rules have been suggested. Never punish in anger. Never punish unjustly. Never punish without explaining the reason.

7. It is good for children to learn to bear the yoke in their youth (Lam. 3:27), to learn the discipline of work and of accepting responsibility, and the value of money.

8. Above all, Christian parents should avoid being ambitious for their children in a carnal, worldly way, but should constantly hold before them the service of our Lord as the most profitable way in which to spend their lives. For some, it might mean full-time service on a mission field; for others, it might mean service for the Lord in a secular occupation. But in either case, work for the Lord should be the primary consideration. Whether at home, at work, or wherever we may be, we should be conscious of the fact that we represent our Savior, and so every word and act should be worthy of Him, and should, in fact, be governed by Him.