If you are lucky enough to have a good Christian husband and father in your life, give thanks to God, and to him, on Father’s Day, June 19. Have you ever considered what the word “husband” really means? A husband is so much more than the male half of a couple. Webster’s dictionary defines him not only as a married man, but also as a frugal manager or steward. As a verb, “husband” means to manage prudently and economically. The word “husbandry” is defined tellingly as “the care of a household.” Most fathers contribute to the financial support of their households, as well they should, if they are able. The bible would have us take this obligation very seriously — “And whoever does not provide for relatives and especially family members has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Tim. 5:8
It is a beautiful thing to see a father who takes his financial obligation to his family to heart, but also takes responsibility for their spiritual well-being. There is an oft-cited Swiss study from the mid-nineties that sheds light on the dramatic and profound effect of the faith of a father on the future faith of his children. It turns out that, at least amongst the Swiss, church attendance by the father is a much more accurate predictor of future church attendance by his children than their mother’s church attendance. When a father attends regularly and the mother attends irregularly, the percentage of children who end up attending regularly is 38%, and with a regular-attending father and a non-attending mother, the percentage of regular-attending children is 44%. In stark contrast, when the mother attends regularly and the father irregularly, only 3% of the children end up attending regularly in their future life. When the father is absent from church, the percentage of their children who end up attending regularly is 2%. So to those fathers who do not see the passage of faith to their progeny as women’s work, bravo and thank you, you are good men. Happy Father’s Day.