Man as Provider
In 1 Timonty 5:8, Paul writes, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Just as God is known as Jehovah-Jirah, meaning provider, he established for men to care for their families. Just as God provides for his children, the father is to provide for his family.
This biblical governance was established from the beginning. After the fall in the garden, God said to Adam, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken" (Genesis 3:19). And God said to Eve, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (3:16). As ruler over the family, Adam would have to provide the food from the work of his hands.
Adam and Eve once lived in a garden of abundance, where everything needed to live was provided for them. After sin came into the world, God closed the garden and made man work to provide for his family.
There is another part of being provider. God is also known as Jehovah-Shammah, which means the Lord is there. Just as God is present to help us in our daily walk, God expects the father to be there for his family to help them in their daily walk.
Too many fathers are gone - even when they're home. Many men are more committed to their work and careers than their wives and children. They often PROVIDE rooms full of stuff but provide no emotional, spiritual, or intellectual support. Sociologists call these "Phantom Fathers." And that doesn't include the fathers who aren't present at all.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4 million children live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home (fatherhood.org). That is 1 in 4 children.
You can find the following information on infographics at the fatherhood link, but they are important enough to mention here.
Research shows when a child is raised in a father-absent home, they are affected in the following ways:
- 4x greater risk of poverty
- more likely to have behavioral problems
- 2x greater risk of infant mortality
- more likely to go to prison
- more likely to commit crime
- 7x more likely to become pregnant as a teen
- more likely to face abuse and neglect
- more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol
- 2x more likely to suffer obesity
- 2x more likely to drop out of school
These statistics also show the strength of a father's presence. Children with involved fathers have a strong foundation for child well-being. They are at lower risk for a host of poor childhood outcomes, like those listed above. Children aren't the only ones to benefit from involved fathers. It is also good for the mothers. Mothers reap a host of benefits when fathers are involved during pregnancy and in raising their children, such as:
- more likely to receive prenatal care
- less likely to smoke during pregnancy
- healthier births
- lower risk of post-partum stress
- lower risk of post-partum depression
- lower parenting stress
- more leisure time
- high marital satisfaction
When fathers follow God's plan for their lives, everyone benefits. Malachi warned, "He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (4:6).
As with everything in life, following God's plan is the best path. Fathers are meant to be providers - both financially and emotionally. As Billy Graham said, "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society."