Preparing Our Sons to Serve

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
—Mark Twain

There is an epidemic of mediocre, prayerless, visionless, immoral, irresponsible men in our culture. If we continue to train our sons the same way, we will not stem the tide. If we see home education as nothing more than a means to better scores, a safer environment, and individualized learning, we will miss a golden opportunity. We have an opportunity to raise a generation of men who will turn the world upside down. We have an opportunity to invest in the lives of future visionaries, statesmen, churchmen, and family leaders. We must keep all of these things in mind as we educate our sons. As we do so, we must prepare them to serve Christ, to serve their wives and children, and to serve their communities. The Bible must be our guide.

  • We Must Prepare Our Sons to Serve Christ
  • The first and most important thing we can do in educating our sons is prepare them to strive for “First Commandment” living. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:34-39 ESV)
    Thus, we must teach our sons to love the Lord first and foremost. Our job is not to raise sons who worship at the altar of education. Our job is to raise sons who worship and serve Jesus. This goal can be accomplished in a number of ways.
    First, we must teach the Bible. We must not assume that our children will learn and understand the Scriptures by osmosis. We must teach Bible as diligently as we teach math. Second, we must teach other subjects from a biblical perspective. It is not enough to have Bible class if that is the only time God’s Word is referenced. We must demonstrate the supremacy of Christ in and over every subject. Third, we must engage in family worship. In a sermon on family worship, Arthur Pink made this point well. Pink said, “If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer.”

  • We Must Prepare Our Sons to Serve Their Wives and Children
  • Preparing our sons for college is incredibly shortsighted. College is a short-term proposition that in the grand scheme of things has very little bearing on a young man’s life. Moreover, the modern university has become so watered down that this is a low target at which to aim. The impact of a man’s college education pales in comparison to the impact his marriage has on his life. In light of this fact, we should spend much more time than we currently do preparing our sons to be husbands and fathers and to serve their wives and children.
    A man’s responsibility to serve his wife and children is an obligation the Bible outlines clearly. Paul reiterates this obligation explicitly on at least three occasions. (See Ephesians 5:25-6:4, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3.) The most explicit example is found in Ephesians:

    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:25-30 ESV)

    After a thorough discussion of a husband’s duty to serve his wife in this way, Paul turns his attention to a man’s responsibility to his children. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 ESV)
    Some practical things we can do to prepare our sons for these critical tasks are: 1) teach them what the Bible says about the duty to which they will be called; 2) make sure they spend ample time being discipled by their father or another man (e.g., a pastor) if their father is absent; and 3) encourage them to think about their future, and any plans they make, with their role as husband and father in view.

  • We Must Prepare Our Sons to Serve Their Communities
  • True manhood is selfless. We must raise sons who look beyond their own self-interest and who serve those around them. My favorite biblical example of this attribute is the life of Job. In an obscure passage toward the end of the book of Job, we find what I believe is one of the most captivating and inspiring depictions of godly manhood in the entire Bible. Job is explaining his life prior to his sudden and numerous calamities. He is telling his friends about the way princes and noblemen looked upon and respected him in days gone by. Men young and old revered Job, not because of his wealth, but because of his character and his service to others.

    I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth. (Job 29:12-17 ESV)

    In all of our striving to raise “educated” sons, let us not forget these words. Let us not forget to raise our sons to serve Christ, to serve their wives and children, and to serve their communities. If we do this, we will have truly moved beyond mere schooling.