"You know, Daddies really don't get to do whatever they want."
"They don't?" he asked in a skeptical little voice.
"Well, for example, when the weather turns cold in the middle of the night and we all curl up under the blankets in our beds staying warm, who gets up in the cold, shivers while he builds a fire in the wood stove, then stays up the half hour it takes to get it going and finally turned down before he can go back to bed?"
"Daddy," he said a bit reluctantly, but I could tell he still hadn't gotten my point.
"And who, when it's pouring down rain at church time, drops us off under the cover, then parks the car and runs through the rain getting all wet and cold?"
"Daddy," not quite so loudly and with a slightly bowed head.
"And who is the one who never gets a Saturday off to watch cartoons like you do, but works to chop more wood so we can stay warm and works in the garden so we can eat?"
An even softer, "Daddy." He had finally gotten it, but just to make sure--
"Daddies have to do whatever is the best thing to take care of their families, whether it's what they want to do or not." Silence reigned in the car until Keith finally got in, and I never heard another thing about wanting to be the Daddy.
What he was too young to understand was perhaps the most important thing. When you are the head, the buck stops with you.
President Harry Truman was famous for having a sign on his desk that read, "The buck stops here." He was referring to the old phrase about "passing the buck," which meant passing on the responsibility. He knew that as President, he couldn't do that—he was the highest in the chain of command so he was responsible, no matter what happened or who else goofed. In the home, it works the same way. If the Father is the head of the house, he is also responsible for everything that goes on in that house. A lot of men want to "pass the buck," blaming the mother, the schools, the church, society in general. But God says, "Fathers…bring them up…" The father may delegate a lot of the responsibility to the mother, but it is still up to him to make sure the job is being done and to help however he can. He is the one God will call to account because he is the head—the buck stops with him in the home. In the same way, in the church, the buck stops with the elders. They will answer for every soul under their headship (Heb 13:17).
Anyone who thinks headship is about getting to do whatever you want has the same problem as a six year old boy I used to know. Too much self-centeredness and not enough maturity, even if you are forty years old or more. That little boy eventually figured it out. I sure hope those others do before the buck stops with them on Judgment Day.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb 12:5-11).