Vocation and Family
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him … Wives, submit to your own husbands,as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” Col. 3:9,10, 18-21).
The shame of many a supposed home today is that it is largely a place where people sleep part of the night, but not really a scene of uniting experiences of all members, older and younger. Common meals become more and more infrequent while unhurried family conferences are out of the question. It is futile to talk to people about grace at meals if they do not even have the meals. A couple who have to do all the housework late at night, after tiring and nervously demanding hours in the business of the day, are not prepared for family worship or even family affection. Countless supposed homes become places of bickering and of constant bitterness when the members do finally assemble.What could be the most wonderful of human associations thus becomes one of the worst.
Important as the economic factors may be in the decay of family life, they are not the most basic ones. Far more basic are the moral factors, influenced in turn by ideological considerations. What is so damaging is not the mere fact that men and women desert their family duties, but rather that millions subscribe to the doctrine of wanton self-expression. In all areas we hear people say, “This is the free world; I propose to live my own life as I please and nobody can stop me.” This doctrine begins by sounding like freedom and ends as moral destruction….
What we need, in the Christian ministry of family life, is some definite guiding lines, so that we may develop a consistent and powerful philosophy of our vocation, sufficient to resist the temptations which, when not resisted, lead to decay.
Four of these are [guiding lines] are especially relevant.
- the idea of each home as a religious [biblical] institution.
- the frank acceptance of family life as a holy calling.
- the loyal acceptance of discipline.
- the idea of a home as a center of community service.
There have been, in our history, brilliant examples of homes which were centers of new life, in that from them came new and liberating movements. Few examples are more striking than that of the home of Elizabeth Fry, who was a good mother, but from whose home came important developments in prison reform. We ought to glorify the pattern by which social vision is expected as a result of [Christian] home gatherings, and not merely as a result of gatherings of professionals or employed public officials. Thus the home may be one of the means by which the encroachment of the all-devouring state is resisted.
“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren” (Deut. 4:9). “She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov.31:27). “…I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Tim. 1:5). “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Cor. 16:19).
Part 2 of 2
 Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) was a devout Christian advocate of prison reform especially for women. See http://womenshistory.about.com/od/reformmore/p/elizabeth_fry.htm
For Christ-Centered resources to equip parents, visit the sites of our friends, David and Denise Glenn: http://fatherwise.org andhttp://motherwise.org
Scripture quotations added (NKJV).
These two articles are excerpts from the volume, Meditations of Elton Trueblood. “David Elton Trueblood (December 12, 1900 – December 20,1994), …was a noted 20th century American Quaker author and theologian, former chaplain both to Harvard and Stanford universities. Trueblood also founded the Yokefellow movement and supported Stephen Ministries … In the1950s, Trueblood served as a senior advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower,who created a post for him as Director of Religious Information at the U.S.Information Agency (formerly the Voice of America). Time magazine profiled him in this role on March 15, 1954. Later, he served as an advisor to President Richard Nixon… Elton Trueblood wrote 33 books.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._Elton_Trueblood