As men we have a great responsibility entrusted to us when we decide to become a husband and father. Our days of doing whatever we want, whenever we want are over and if you’re doing it right being selfish with your time is a thing of the past. You still need to create margin in your life for some “me time”, that is healthy for everyone, but putting your family before yourself is your main priority. This can sound a little scary at first for guys, especially if you are someone who enjoys your privacy. However, I can tell you from experience that serving my wife and kids brings me so much joy.
The thought of the shepherd came to me recently when my wife was making fun of me the other morning. Our dog Rusty is a stubborn coonhound, and his listening skills are not the greatest. Oh, he can hear my truck engine from a mile away but following through with what I taught him is sub-par at best. She was watching as I was escorting him across our patio with a big stick we keep by our sliding glass door to a turf area in our side yard where he is supposed to go to the bathroom. I told him where to go, pointed to the area, and eventually had to gently push him with it as we walked together to the turf. The dog is almost 7 years old, and this happens way too often. Figure it out dude!
I came back inside, and Taleen said that Rusty told her that he didn’t appreciate the stick. It made him feel like a sheep which insulted his intelligence. Our pastor gave a message a few months ago and commented how sheep are stupid, so I knew where she was going, and it gave us a good laugh. She knows how much I love our lawn and the lengths taken to make it look good. I don’t need Rusty killing our grass by peeing everywhere like he’s tossing out beads at Mardi Gras. Just know your spot and take care of business. That’s all I’m asking.
So back to the stick reference. A shepherd uses a rod and a staff to take care of his flock. They are used for many things such as protection, comfort, and discipline. Things that your family needs as their leader. Let’s dive a little deeper into all three of these.
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”Psalm 23:4, NLV
When Taleen and I first started to get to know one another we had a conversation about people’s names. I told her the definition of the name William is “Great Protector” and this struck a chord deep inside her soul. She had been praying for years for God to bring her a husband who will protect her and needless to say this opened her heart to date me. We all like to feel secure. Remember back when you were young, and your dad held you in his arms. You felt like no one could harm you. As men we need to provide this sense of protection to our family through our actions and words, so they know that no matter what happens, Daddy’s got this. The shepherd would use the rod to protect his sheep.
“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.”Psalm 20:1, NLV
What comes to mind when you think of this word? Is it something physical like a soft bed with cool sheets on a hot summer day, or is it something emotional? Even though that bed sounds so inviting, especially if you are sweating through a long 100° summer day, let’s focus on the latter. It is important to bring stability to your family. When your emotions are all over the place and you don’t practice self-control, your family can see it and feel it. Being a calm presence when things are rough are the sign of a man who understands his role. You want your family to feel like your home is a safe place. When you start to feel like things are spinning out of control remember to go to the good shepherd, Jesus, for your comfort.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT
Many of us have heard the saying “spare the rod, spoil the child” regarding discipline, but I am going a different route with this point. Let’s look at the staff used by the shepherd. There was a hook on the end of it and when a sheep needed guidance or was in trouble the shepherd would use this to pull them towards safety. This was a way to discipline them. Remember that the whole point of discipline is to teach someone the correct way to do something and help them along the way. We need to remember that when dealing with our family. Above all else God has instructed us to love one another, so while discipline is a very important thing, remember to do it with the right perspective.
“for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, as does a father the son in whom he delights.”Proverbs 3:12, BSB
Here are some ways to be a good shepherd for your family:
- Spend time with God continually throughout the day to build a strong foundation in your faith.
- Use a calm tone as often as possible to promote peace in the house. This way when you do raise your voice, they know you mean business.
- Think about what you are going to say and the ramifications of your words. The whole “sticks and stones” saying is a bunch of malarky.
- Talk with other men who are strong in faith about things you are going through. You will probably be an encouragement to each other.
My wife Taleen wrote an article about the shepherd’s rod and staff 8 years ago. I want to encourage you to CLICK HERE, and it will take you to the link to her blog entitled Your Rod and Staff, They Comfort Me. Send the link to a woman in your life that you love, and I believe it will bless her.
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