Absentee Fathers

The father’s image may have been reflected in Timothy’s face and build. His mannerisms may have been mimicked by his young son. He may have given his name to the boy who so quickly grew to manhood. It doesn’t take much of a man to give those things.

Eunice taught Timothy how to live (2 Timothy 1:5). She introduced him to a loving God and molded his heart by divine truths (2 Timothy 3:15). It was at her knees that he learned right from wrong, to respect God and to serve others.

Timothy grew, thanks to his mother, to be respected by all who knew him (Acts 16:1-2). Paul immediately saw in him the spark of a servant carefully kindled under a mother’s loving touch. God must have beamed with pride as Timothy, like His own Son, became a minister.

Meanwhile Timothy’s father is noticeably absent. It is as if his contributions ended at birth. Did Timothy ever know the love that must have resided in his father’s heart? Could his father appreciate the man Timothy had become? Was this man, shrouded in a world Timothy chose not to share, the one who planted in a young heart the fear that would dog his every step as an adult (1 Timothy 5:12)?

Timothy is an object lesson in a long line of inspired pronouncements for fathers to provide the leadership for which God ordained them. Ezekiel prophesied from captivity the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. Among the many reasons that great city fell the prophet noted one as the refusal of men to lead. God looked in vain for a man to stand before Him and build (Ezekiel 22:30-31). Fathers, God is looking for you.

The call for fathers to stand tall in their children’s eyes runs deep in the soil of the Old Testament. Moses, seeing the danger of neglected childhoods and uninvolved fathers, called for fathers to talk with their children, to walk with them, to put them to bed with a prayer and greet them each morning with joy. He insisted that they could no longer afford to neglect the children. They must invest the essential ingredient of time into that valuable relationship.

In Deuteronomy chapter six Moses issued a challenge to fathers that remains especially applicable today. Fathers, do not assume your children know that you love them; spend enough time with them in meaningful communication that no doubt about it remain.

Think of the great strides Timothy enjoyed for the cause of Christ through the investment of his mother. Imagine how much greater Timothy’s achievements for good could have been had his father been a father.

David Bragg

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