Three principles relative to authority are vitally important to the family, and to the continuation of our way of life:
1. The primary responsibility for the provision of authority in the home has been
One of my colleagues died during my last year at Children's Hospital, having served on our university medical faculty for more than twenty-five years. During his tenure as a professor, he had earned the respect and admiration of both professionals and patients, especially for his research findings and contribution to medical knowledge. This doctor had reached the pinnacle of success in his chosen field and enjoyed the status and financial rewards that accompany such accomplishment. He had tasted every good thing, by the standards of the world.
At the next staff meeting following his death, a five-minute eulogy was read by a member of his department. Then the chairman invited the entire staff to stand, as is our custom in situations of this nature, for one minute of silence in memory of the fallen colleague. I have no idea what the other members of the staff contemplated during that sixty-second pause, but I can tell you what was going through my mind.
I was thinking, "Lord, is this what it all comes down to? We sweat and worry and labor to achieve a place in life, to impress our fellow men with our competence. We take ourselves so seriously, overreacting to the insignificant events of each passing day. Then finally, even for the brightest among us, all these experiences fade into history and our lives are summarized with a five-minute eulogy and sixty seconds of silence. It hardly seems worth the effort, Lord."
But I was also struck by the collective inadequacy of that faculty to deal with the questions raised by our friend's death. Where had he gone? Would he live again? Will we see him on the other side? Why was he born? Were his deeds observed and recorded by a loving God? Is that God interested in me? Is there meaning to life beyond investigative research and professorships and expensive automobiles? The silent response by two hundred and fifty learned men and women seemed to symbolize our inability to cope with these issues.
Then a wave of relief spread over me as I thought about the message of Christianity and the meaning of the cross. This Good News provides the only satisfactory explanation for why we're here and where we're going. The final heartbeat for the Christian is not the mysterious conclusion to a meaningless existence. It is, rather, the grand beginning to a life that will never end. That's why we can proclaim, even at the graveside of a loved one, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15:55, KJV).
How extremely important it is for the man of the home to know the answers to these perplexing questions and be able to lead his family in the paths of righteousness. When he accepts that spiritual responsibility as God intends, the entire family is likely to follow his example. "And they said, Believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31, KJV). This issue is of paramount significance in every man's life.
From Dr. Dobson's book Straight Talk to Men.