Today was the first day I’ve been able to have an extended time of Bible study since Owen was born. How ironic and providential and well-timed and so very like God, then, to bring me to the passage He did today. Originally, I thought I might set aside my reading schedule for the day and try to read something on fatherhood, but I ended up just deciding to stick with the plan. Here is one of my assigned passages for the day:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:37-39).
The irony of this passage seems, to me, to be that God expects good fathers and mothers not only to abide by it, but also to teach it to their children. In other words, not only must my love for God surpass my love for Owen, but I must teach my son to love me less than God. If Owen is to be worthy of following Christ, he must love me in my proper place. So, I find myself praying an interesting prayer this afternoon: “Lord, would you not only remain uppermost in my affections, even above my wife and son, but would you place in my son the same sort of God-centered love. May he love me deeply, truly, and admiringly, and may I live and father him in such a way that this love would be fitting, but would you restrain his love from ever becoming idolatrous. May he always love you more than me, his mother, or anything else this world can offer. Amen.”