By Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor
Dear young men,” said this pastor who was ministering at an interactive session at a young men’s convention in a Pentecostal church, “God created man for leadership. As Christ is the head of the church, so is man the spiritual head of his own home. So, for the married amongst you here this afternoon, if you’ve never thought yourself the spiritual head of your family, it’s time to think of yourself as being one, and also equip yourself to assume that role. For the bachelor, start preparing yourself for that role. A man is responsible for the sustained spiritual growth of members of his family, and God will hold him accountable.”
“But Pastor, that’s a heavy responsibility,” protested a young male member of the church. “Too much responsibility is placed on the man, sir. He has to provide financially for the family, defend them physically in case of violence of any sort, and also be there emotionally for them when they’re down and need a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on. It’s far too much for a man, particularly these days when there’s so much stress in his life.’’ “That’s true, pastor,” concurred. another young man.
“Already most young men are stressed in life, and are looking for relief of any sort. Becoming the spiritual head of the home is too much burden. If you add that to the other responsibilities that the society has assigned to a man, the weight can send him to an early grave. Just how does one direct another person’s spiritual life? By endless preaching in the house? It would make young people to rebel against authority. That’s what’s happening these days, pastor.”
“You won’t have to preach to members of your household, rather, you’d ensure that you marry a believer, and together you’ll raise children in the ways of the Lord, with the Bible as your guide. If you start early and before you marry, you’ll be in a position to guide your spouse and children properly; leading by example.
The man was created by God to be the head, and he has to be raised to assume this responsibility right from birth. To play your role properly, you must be well-grounded in the knowledge of the contents of the Bible; not just buying the latest state-of-the-art Bibles to decorate your shelves, show off to friends, or bring out with a flourish in the church, to impress other people. You must read it, and practice the doctrines there, and pass them on to the members of your household.”
“Pastor, what time would be left for providing financially for the family? That saps one’s energy, and with high unemployment ‘and unstable jobs these days, sir, financial responsibility outweighs all other responsibilities. It isn’t possible to carry out that role of being a spiritual head properly. I think that should be left to those designed specially by God to play that role to the rest of us.
Of course, one and members of one’s family should attend church services and participate in church programmes, sometimes. That’s more realistic.”
I looked at the faces of the young men in the church. They didn’t seem convinced by what the pastor was telling them. He sensed this too.
“Now, I seem to get the impression that you young men here don’t want responsibility of any sort. Is that it?” he asked them.
“Pastor,” said an elderly male, “it’s a generational thing. Many young people, particularly the men, don’t want any responsibility. They want a life of continuous enjoyment, and they don’t “” mind if they’re provided for throughout their lives. In my days as a young person, a man was glad to be a man and he couldn’t wait to assume leadership role in the home, in every way. He was raised to know that he was being prepared to head a home.
He knew he would be the main financial provider in the home, if he’s to earn the respect of his wife, children and all those around him. He knew that he had to lead by example so that his children would be raised to be well-adjusted adults in the nation. This generation just doesn’t care. I’m not saying that there ‘aren’t hardworking ones among them, but compared to those who prefer’ a ‘life devoid of any responsibility, they are few. Pastor, I’m glad you chose this theme for the talk today, maybe they will have a change of heart.”
“Thank you, sir.” the pastor told him. “That was a most useful contribution. Now, does anyone want to say something before I go on? Hey, you guys! Say something!”
“Pastor, daddy is right when he said it’s a generational thing. The truth is that the world is changing and we the young men don’t really want to be encumbered with too many responsibilities. Luckily for us, there’s this feminism which has been around now, even since the days of my mum. Girls prefer being treated as equal with men, and they’re taking up more and more responsibilities. We’re comfortable with that. We don’t have to lift up a finger and do anything. Why struggle to be the head?”
There was laughter.
“Pastor, he’s joking,’’ said another young person. “He’s on his own. The rest of us are aware that a man is head. I’m married and I’m aware of my responsibilities to my wife and two children. My wife is here and can testify to that. I shall have to work on this new notion that I have to accept responsibility for the spiritual needs of my family. It won’t be easy, but I’ll try. “ There were claps.
“That’s reassuring,” said the Pastor. “Now, have you ever wondered why God punished Adam for the disobedience of his wife, Eve?”
There was general silence as we reflected on the story.
“It’s because Adam was the head of the home, and he was supposed to know better. Not only should he have reprimanded Eve firmly for eating the forbidden fruit, he should have refused to disobey God. He shouldn’t have eaten the fruit himself. Now, that shows what God thinks of man’s role as the head of the home. Am I making myself clear? If you young guys want to run this country in future, you have to learn to take responsibilities seriously; right from the home.”
That pastor’s remark was thought-provoking. It was simple and very much to the point. It is a fact that young ladies in many parts of the world are abandoning the usual role of waiting to be provided for solely by the men, and they’re taking up challenges which take them to the top.
This is a good thing which augurs well for humanity, but it would be a pity if the young men now feel they should become laid-back and relinquish their God-given role as head, simply because more and more women, are becoming capable of good leadership. It isn’t a power tussle between the sexes, but our young men should remember that God created them for leadership in whatever sphere they find themselves, no matter how minor the role. Women will then complement their efforts. That would bring the men the respect they deserve.