In July 2011 while on holiday in South Africa I had a very distressing conversation with my son, Quinn, 4 years at the time.
We were having a dining room discussion regarding 'who is the boss' and he pipes up, 'God's the boss because He just tells us what to do' with full implication that you do it or else. My heart broke ... He saw both me and God as a task  master issuing control and command! Ouch!

In that moment I knew that the picture needed to change for both of us. I realised that I'd been so busy trying to work out my sonship that I'd forgotten that it's in discovering who and what a father is that you find your identity as a son. Oooooops turn around time.

Over the next 12 months I started to see that it was not about a son serving a father but about a father serving a son. What? Well think about it... do you do more for your kids or your kids do more for you? Who works to pay for who to be educated? Who works for who to put food on the table? Jesus makes just this point in Matthew 20:28 where He says that the son of man came not be served but to serve. In John 5:19 He says that He can't do anything except what His Father is doing. Matthew 11:27 says that He came to reveal the Father. The point is that if Jesus came to serve us, could only do what His Father was doing, only do His Father's will and came to reveal the Father, what we have is not a Son serving a Father but a Father serving a Son. What we have is not man serving God but God serving man. Oh this is foreign but it's seriously life changing news. In the old testament you had a Levitical priest who served God day and
night, and now we have a God serving and interceding on our behalf night and day.  We are priests but of a completely new order. The old has gone and the new has come.

This revelation just undid the control mechanism in our family and is continuing to do so. We no longer battle to find out who is in charge because we actually all are. We are all part of the family and we have a loving God who is working on behalf of all of us. The word 'boss' has no place in our home any longer. We are all sons in our house and growing as fathers. We all have our own race and because we love each we look out for the best options for one another. Does that mean we never fight or argue? Not at all. There is a part of us that forgets who is serving who, like God is serving us and then we try and take it for ourselves and make someone else our servants. But we are finding this new and living way.

If you don't believe that God is serving you, the likelihood is that you will need others to serve you!

Is it working you might ask? I don't know. We can't measure on the basis of performance.  We're not trying to 'do' family 'right' or 'wrong'. We're learning how much we're loved and how to live in the life that being secure produces.  Bosses and servants trying to work in a family destroy and devour each other. Father's and son's reproduce life together and we all seem to be living and loving life more than we did.  

This story does continue where it started and in July 2012 we were back in South Africa and we happened to stumble into the same conversation we had 12 months before. This time Quinn says, 'Dad, you're a boss servant!' We unpack it a little and what he clearly sees is Dad using his authority to serve. Yihah fear and control are losing their hold.

When dad no longer becomes the roof over everyone's head, when the buck no longer stops with dad, when the family is not looking for a dad to fix what is wrong but to be a source of life in the family ...  by stopping the competition for authority, we have the freedom to live in our abilities and that's what we've got the authority to do.  Being the head of the home has nothing to do with being on top of the pile and everything to do with being life in the home.  Being head of the home is not about being the boss making right and wrong choices ... it's much more a matter of life and death ... and we're determined to choose life.

12/5/2013 21:19:41

Great article! I really love the points you make! Moving away from the traditional paradigm of the dad being the head of the home, and what that entails, really brings so much freedom. Everyone is now able to start moving in their own authority, without looking to the head to provide it all. Lording it over others really is so easily done, and is so contrary to the way of the Kingdom! It is very common in the role of husband, unfortunately, and the tragedy is that is leaves such a mess in its wake. Good post Steve.

13/5/2013 00:38:20

Thanks Jan

Chris and Carey Gee
13/5/2013 12:31:37

Steve, this is amazing! What a gracious God we serve!


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