My favorite device in our house is the thermostat. Heat and humidity here in Florida are way more than I ever expected or had any idea how to prepare for. So when I crank it up, I love that sweet relief from mowing my yard in the "Fall." The thermostat works by responding to the temperature in the house, and actively working to move the climate towards the desired temperature.
In so many ways, I really believe God has wired, called, gifted, and enabled men to be the thermostats of the home. In Ephesians 5-6, God seems to place a strong emphasis on the husband/dad as the spiritual leader of the home, the one who bears the responsibility to lead, disciple, and manage his home well. This is nothing but a fulfillment of the command given to Adam to cultivate the land. In essence, God's design for husbands and dads is to cultivate something beautiful, and in doing so exercise good dominion, push back darkness, keep the weeds out, and bring order to what had been chaos.
God has called us as men to be thermostats.
As the thermostat in the home, we have the obligation and responsibility to create a culture in our home. That culture is one of peace, order, kindness, humility, servanthood, and is centered around the Gospel. It means we take our marriages, homes, relationships, finances, parenting, yard work, organization, and garage storage and put it captive under Christ. In everything, we reflect and glorify God, it's more than doing our devotions and praying before our meals. It means that our heartbeat in the home is set to display the glories of our hope in Christ.
Sound huge? It is. That's why being a man is radically different than being a boy. Biblical manhood isn't domineering and demanding a sandwich while you play fantasy football. Biblical manhood is when you as a husband, dad, grandad, or single guy go all in on commitment and responsibility. Men rise up to meet a challenge. Boys hit the reset button. Men put in the hard work of investing in their wives, boys simply look for a thrill. Men maintain consistency, joy, and unconditional love towards their children. Boys crave "me time."
Just like the thermostat that reads & responds, and then actively pushes towards the desired temperature, we can do that in our homes.
Read & Respond to your wife, kids, and circumstances - I love what Dave Ramsey has done for helping Christians take control of their finances. And one thing I've noticed that drives him nuts is when people don't know what's going on in their home. As a man, you need to know what's going on around you. Read your wife & kids. Find out what's going on. Do you know what your kids are doing in school? What about how your wife is doing at work or making friends at the pool? Are you engaged, or are you absent like the Dad from The Incredibles. Do you know how your family's finances are doing? Are you spending more than you're bringing in? What about your family's calendar and commitments? Do you just dump those on your wife or kids, or are you invested in what's going on?
As the thermostat in the home, you need to know what's going on so you can respond (not react). Responding means acting in love, for the best interests of those around you, and working towards redemption & reconciliation.
Actively Push Towards The Goal - When I hit the thermostat to turn down the temperature, it doesn't respond with apathy or indifference. If it did that, I'd be making a call to Mr Repair Man. Thermostats are designed to actively push towards the desired temperature. Part of your calling as a man is to push your home towards that goal, towards a culture that reflects the glories of Christ. You can do that if you invest, if you build, and if you repair.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.