The Superintendent and His Family
By Reverend John Schaich, Superintendent of Rescue Mission of Flint, Michigan
The subject, "The Superintendent and His Family" has been assigned to me. I must confess that I feel inadequate to teach a subject of this nature, because one may write a paper on the subject, yet as Mission workers you will agree with me that sometimes it is I rather difficult to do these things and put them in practice. This, I believe, is a much neglected subject among Christian workers today. We become so concerned with the problems of others that we forget that we have family and responsibilities and problems J that need our attention as well as others.
These are some of the questions that have been going through my mind. Which is more important, your family or your Mission? Which should come first, your family or your Mission? Remember that I'm not asking who should come first in our lives. We are now thinking about His work. I am well aware of the statements that were made by the Ii)rd Jesus. On one occasion he said; "If any man come to me and hate not father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters yea his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26. But we cannot take and isolate one passage of scripture and neglect our responsibility to our family. When we take the whole teaching of our Lord we would see he placed a great emphases on the home, family, and children. With these brief remarks we are ready to proceed with the subject at hand.
I. The Home -Instituted by God.
Let us approach the subject from the Biblical standpoint which is the only approach. The home was one of the first and important institutions that God set up. God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and as he slept took one of his ribs and made a woman and Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore be one flesh." Gen. 2:23,24. He didn't take part of Adam's head; so she could rule over him, nor part of his foot, so he could wipe his feet on her. But a rib; so that she was nearest to his heart to love and to cherish her. Under his arm that he might protect her.
II. A Place of Authority -The Home is a Place of Government.
We shall now deal with some of the responsibilities of the superintendent to his family. God, speaking of Abraham said, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. That the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him". Gen. 18:19. God knew that Abraham would command his children and his household after him. Authority and headship of the home is placed on the man.
The Superintendent has a responsibility to instruct his family in the things of the Lord. Too many times this is left for the mother, but God's order is that this is the man's duty. If we could only turn back the pages of history and see the tragedy of broken homes that can be traced back to lack of proper training in the home. J.. Edgar Hoover could tell a great deal of the breakdown in the home and it starts where parents have neglected their duty. I believe a man fails and it starts where parents have neglected their duty. I believe a man fails first at home before he fails in business. I believe a man fails first at home before he fails in Mission work.
Solomon, the man of wisdom said, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it". Proverbs 22:6.1 know that sometimes one may think that the work of the Mission is more important and neglect time for proper instruction for his own family. A number of years ago I was holding two weeks of special ineetings in one of our Mission in Illinois. The Superintendent was a Godly man who loved souls and had founded the Mission. He told me his own daughter was outside the fold and was indifferent to the Gospel and Christ. She told him, "When I was a child and growing up and needed you, you were down to your old Mission every night. Why should you be interested in me now?' I'm afraid that this is the story of many Christian workers today if the truth were known. It is possible to become so involved in the problems of the Mission that we neglect our first duty, that of our family.
We have an example of this in the Old Testament. We read of Eli who ministered in the temple and his sons knew not the Lord and were sons of Belial. Eli, a leader, ministered in the temple of God, but neglected his responsibility toward his family and was warned of God, yet did nothing about it. God said concerning him, "In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house:
When I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever." I Samuel 3:12-15. Paul said a man should "rule well in his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God." I Timothy 3:4,5.
Duties of Individuals of the Home
In the fifth chapter of Ephesians, Paul deals with the duties of all members of the family. Wives are to submit themselves unto their own husbands. Husbands are to love their wives. Children are to obey their parents and servants are toe be obedient to their masters. In as much as we are dealing with the Superintendent, lets look at the phrase, "Husbands love your wives. The most precious thing that Christ has in this world is His Church. It is his bride. He loved the church so much that He gave hiniseif for her. Paul uses the relationship of Christ and the church in expressing the relationship of husband and wife. We are to show that same love for our wife as He has for the church. Love is one of the things that makes the home, and to think in many so called Christian homes so little is displayed. Paul said, "love beareth all things, beUeveth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things." Then he added that "Love never fails." Love is the thing that keeps the home together. A minister who had a hard day on Sunday and had preached several times that day was rather irritable and didn't display much loving attitude toward his wife and she drew his attention to the fact. He said, "Well dear after all I've preached three times today and I'm tired.N She very kindly said to him, "Remember, dear, I had to listen to you three times too today and had the responsibility of the children." What we need to remember is that Love endures. Regardless of the condition and state of the church, Christ's love for her is changeless. I have a dear friend who has been in the Lord's work for many years and who travels and is engaged in evangelistic work. Often times he stays in the
home of the pastor. He told me in confidence of one home where he stayed that there was very little love displayed in that home. It was continuous arguing from morning until night. What a terrible indictment on many so called Christian homes today. Brethren, these things ought not to be. I cannot think of Christ having so little concern for his bride as we sometimes display for our bride.
The Superintendent and His Children
What are the responsibilities of a father or I superintendent to his children? Paul said, "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4. The American Revised Version reads, "Nurture them in the chastening of the Lor" . In Phillips translation we read, "Fathers, don't over-correct your children or make it difficult for them to obey the commandment. Bring them up with Christian teaching in Christian discipline." Avoid severity. This will hurt your own soul and do them no good. If punished with severity and cruelty it will only harden them. Parents are called to correct their children and not to punish them. Those who punish them do it from a principle of revenge. Those who correct them do it from a principle of affection and concern. There is a great deal of difference.
We are to bring them up, literally, nourish them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and instruction as the body is with proper food. Both these should be administered in the Lord according to his will and word in the light of His eternal glory. All the important lessons and doctrines being derived form His revelation, therefore they are called discipline and instruction in the Lord. Paul spoke of the great heritage that Timothy had and the instruction he had as a boy. His faith first dwelt in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice and now was in him also. It depends largely upon the type of home and the instruction they receive that produces the type of children we have.
So we have covered the superintendent's responsibility to his children in the home. Now I want to discuss briefly one other phase of the parents responsibility and here I may be stepping on someone's toes. Our responsibility as far as church methods are concerned. I don't know how you feel about Junior Church, I believe it is much better for children to sit with their parents in church. To me there is nothing that can take the place of whole families sitting together in church. It teaches the children how to behave in the house of God and teaches them how to worship. I think we are taking away something very valuable to a child when we take them out of the worship service. You may have your own ideas about Junior Church, but I'm speaking only my own convictions regarding it.
The Spirit That Should Prevail In The Home.
The spirit of unity should prevail in the home. Problems and plans should be discussed together and where decisions are made the head of the house carries them out. All the members of the home should be recognized and have a part in the plans. I recall a husband who never discussed any of the family plans with the other members of the family. He'd tell them they were going on a trip or to a cottage and they never knew whether they were going for a few days or a couple of weeks. You can see how difficult it would be to pack when you never knew how long you were going to be away. The wife and the children were just a bundle of nerves.
The Psalmist gives the key to the kind of spirit that should prevail in the home. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Psalms 133:1. Then often times an unforgiving spirit can disrupt a home. Peter came to our Lord and asked him, "Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus said unto him, "I say not unto thee, until seven times; but until seventy times seventy." (4900 times) Matt. 18:21,22. We have a beautiful illustration of this in the time of Joseph. You will remember he was sold by his brothers to the Egyptians who did evil unto him. We read, "Forgive I pray thee now, the trespass of the brothers; and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, I pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of there father. And Joseph wept when they spoke unto him." Gen. 50:17. What a wonderful act of forgiveness was displayed by Joseph toward his brothers. "And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his fathers house". Paul gives us one of the greatest examples of forgiveness. "Forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel (or complaint) against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." Col. 3:13.
Examples of Duties Toward Families.
We need to be reminded of these important duties and responsibilities of the family. Moses said, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep they soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eves have seen, and lest they depart from the heart all the days of they life: but teach them thy sons, and thy son's sons; Specially the day that thou stood before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children." Duet. 4:9,10.
Joshua again reminded the children of Israel saying, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.: Joshua 24:14, 15. Then we have another example in the New Testament speaking of Cornelius a Centurion of the band called the Italian band. "A devout man and one who feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always," Acts 10:2.
In closing may I just make a few practical suggestions to those of us who are Mission workers:
This article was adapted from a seminar given at the IUGM's Winona Lake Training Institute in 1958. It originally appeared in the book, The Executive Director, compiled by James Harriger and published by the International Union of Gospel Missions in 1988.