Taking care of your family in our present day culture and context isn’t always easy. There are twists, turns, and decisions around every corner. You have to sort through a myriad of ideas and choose what’s best. But you love your family. You want to take care of them, so you do everything to do just that.
There is an idea that can help you take better care of your family. It is one that many people may not fully understand at first, but the more you think about it, I believe the clearer it will become.
In fact, this idea is one of the most powerful and essential ideas you can put into action as it relates to your family. What is it? Well…it involves making the decision to take on a different sort of role in your family. Making the choice to be more than a mom, dad, husband, or wife.
Taking on the role of a shepherd to your family sets you up to take better care of them than ever before. Plainly put, a shepherd is a pastor. You need to be a pastor to your family. In fact, if God has given you a family…you are the pastor to your own little flock whether you realize it or not. And this is an important and essential role.
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You may or may not be a religious person, either way, this idea is something that can help, promote, and encourage strength in your family. If you are someone who attends a church, you probably have an immediate image come to mind when you hear the word “pastor.”
Don’t allow this image to overshadow the idea that I’m presenting to you. Here’s what I mean…
I am a pastor. Not only to my family, but as my vocation. As a pastor, I certainly love it when families attend our church services, but, for far too long families have completely relegated their spiritual development to the church.
Obviously I’m pro-church, but I do not believe the church is the foundation of your family’s spiritual development…you are.
As a husband, wife, mom, or dad…married couple or single parent…YOU are the most influential person, God-ordained, essential element of the spiritual well-being in your family. They need you. They need you to be their pastor and shepherd them.
Your family exists because God placed you together, so it is important to take on the responsibility of leading them and shepherding them.
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Here are four ways to be a shepherd to your family.
(This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it does capture the high points about what you need to do to shepherd and pastor your family)
A shepherd feeds the flock.
- Shepherds are willing to take on the responsibility of their family’s spiritual development, even at a personal cost. In fact, there is always a personal cost. Someone who loves their family and wants the best for them will be willing to set their own needs to the side and pay the cost.
- As a shepherd to your family, you must make the choice to plant good things into their life. Whatever you plant, you eventually harvest, so make the decision to plant unity, strength, love, care, compassion, and other good things into your family. Tear out the weeds of bitterness and strife.
A shepherd guards their flock.
- As a parent or a spouse, you need to be on guard about what is coming against your family. You are the prime line of defense, and you cannot delegate this position.
- You must stay awake at the wheel and watch over what influences seek to undermine and harm your family.
- All the while, you are building a hedge around your family by keeping them away from the negative influences of things that would try to injure them.
- Now…as a sidebar note: Please understand that I certainly realize that God is the good shepherd and the also the ultimate one. But this fact does not abdicate our responsibility from us. There is always a role you play as well.
A shepherd fights for their family.
- Your main avenue of fighting is through prayer.
- It’s OK that you don’t have all the answers, but don’t just accept your situation, pray about it.
- Pray harder, bigger, and more than you’ve ever prayed.
- Pray for your spouse.
- Pray for your marriage.
- Pray for yourself that you will make the right choices.
- What you pray and say to God makes more impact than a thousand words you could say to someone else. God has the power to move mountains in your life.
A shepherd loves, no matter what.
- Your family needs to know how much you love them.
- Even though you might not agree with all the choices your children or even your spouse make, let them know you love them.
- Use your words, coupled with action.
- Don’t push them away when things get rough, but draw closer as the tough times come.
- Remember, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ, so model that same sort of love in your own family.
Question: What are some other ways that you might take on the role of shepherd to your family?
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