Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Honoring The Priesthood

How often have you heard one of the following:

-    My wife is way more spiritual than I am…if my family gets to heaven it will be because of her…
-    My wife is the one who calls our family together for prayer and scripture study…
-    Women have way more faith than men, that is why men are given the priesthood, to make up for that…

I’ll bet I’ve heard statements similar to these a few thousand times.  I grew up hearing them and (gasp) have probably uttered them myself…until I stopped to think about what I was saying…which is basically this:
-    My wife is way more spiritual than I am…if my family gets to heaven it will be because of her = (translation)= I’m not honoring my priesthood or  keeping my covenants
-    My wife is the one who calls our family together for prayer and scripture study = (translation)= I’m not giving my wife the respect she deserves  (by making her do my job)
-    Women have way more faith than men, that is why men are given the priesthood to make up for that…= (translation)= I believe that God gives the greatest power in the universe to me because I’m kind of stupid and lazy...I’m the spiritual equivalent of Forest Gump…

I know that I’m kind of treading on a sacred cow by bringing this up, but it’s an important element to helping men understand their roles as righteous warriors…simply put it is this; MEN if you believe that it’s your wife’s job to get your family to heaven then you are in need of some serious repentance.  You need to take charge of your family and step up to the three P’s: to Protect, Preside and Provide.

Let’s break that down by taking a look at these three P’s.

PROTECT: your family should be able to rely on you for spiritual, physical and emotional protection.  They should feel safer when you are around.  They should know that you will stand up for them no matter what.  That you will be there when you say you will and that you will sacrifice your personal comfort for theirs.  This feeling relies on your ability to function in those same three realms (physical, spiritual, emotional) and that you can assist your wife and children in navigating the same. 
    Physical: you should be doing what you can to be fit. I BELIEVE THAT EVERY PERSON CAN BE MORE FIT THAN THEY ARE NOW – regardless of your situation or circumstance.  This fitness is not so you can look good, but so that you have a vitality and an excitement for life that comes with a fit body.  You need to be able to physically protect your family and be that presence that says “Touch me not…” and means it.  Not all will be ‘large in stature’ but you don’t need to be to be fit.  I read of a boxing coach who used to say “God gives us strength, it’s our DUTY to become stronger.”  That is the mantra that real men live by. You are the Capt. Moroni in your home.  BE Moroni!
    Spiritual: Your mastery of the gospel should be such that you can comfortably teach on any subject in your home and have it be meaningful to your wife and kids.  You should be able to share scripture stories on their level and help bring the gospel to life for them.  In this you have a companion in the Holy Ghost.  Train yourself to listen to him an follow his promptings. Training your spirit is similar to training your body, it takes constant and ongoing process’ and you can’t ever give up.  Take the time to spend one-on-one time with each member of your family and ask them what they are learning about in Church. You may be amazed at what you learn from them. 
    Emotional: Men, often the best emotional support we can offer is this: a) don’t over-react (master your emotions), argue or try to prove we are right…follow this up with a b) HUG.  Trying to prove that you are right will just loose the battle.  Even if you are right…you’ve still lost the battle.  Emotional support has more to do with simply trying to understand and offer a kindness.  This is the heart of true wisdom.  Master yourself, then give of your strength…this in turn will only make you stronger. Remember that TRUE STRENGTH lies not in being the strongest, but in strengthening those around you.

There is a great book called “The Heart and the Fist” by Eric Greitens. In the book Mr. Greitens describes the process of becoming a Navy SEAL in grueling detail and in a passage that gives us the title of the book, he describes a key component that makes men true warriors. His narrative reads: “Almost all men who survived (BUD/S) possessed on common quality.  Even in great pain, faced with the test of their lives, they had the ability to step outside of their pain, put aside their own fear and ask: ‘How can I help the guy next to me?’.  They have more than the ‘fist’ of courage and physical strength. They also had a ‘heart’ large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose.”

PROVIDE: One of your key and essential duties is to provide for your family, but this may not mean what you think it means.  OF COURSE a large part of this is to provide physical means (home, food, money, clothing, transportation) for your family, but it also means that you provide for their well-being by simply filing that role of “FATHER”.  If you are working so hard that you can’t spend time with your family then you are working too much and you are not providing adequately for your family.  Admittedly there are situations where you may have to work extra hours or pick up a second (or third, or fourth…) job to provide for the necessities of life…but BE SURE that it is for the necessities you seek, and not the nice-ities.  Your family will never miss ‘things’ but they will miss their father. Provide them with a man who can watch their ball games, attend dance recitals, read them bedtime stories, and be the rock in their lives that they can trust and KNOW that they matter.  This is truly PROVIDING for their needs.

Remember that the supreme being in the universe, the almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful, God of heaven and earth…who has many adorations and titles given Him…chooses to be called “FATHER” above all else.  He has bestowed this title upon us as well. Our job then is to PROVIDE in the way He would if He were in our homes.  (Never forget that we have His help in this effort and we can call upon it at all times.)

PRESIDE: I can’t say this next point any more clearly…BRETHREN! It is your duty and responsibility to assure that your family is gathering for daily prayer and scripture study.  It is your duty to make sure that your family is having family home evening.  It is YOUR PRIESTHOOD DUTY to assure that the gospel is being lived in your home.  In this duty your wife is your help and encouragement, but as you PRESIDE as the patriarch, part of your priesthood covenant is to take the lead in your home and make these things happen.

THIS DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO RULE WITH AN “IRON FIST”.  That must be clear.  Presiding does not make you the ‘boss’ or give you the role of ‘dictator-for-life’.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is not one of compulsion or coercion.  D&C 121:34-37 clearly teaches that the priesthood cannot be used in this way…that is why ‘many are called, but few are chosen’. 

… “ah, but the one! One is a warrior, and he will bring the others home”…

Exercise your priesthood like a warrior  - heart, mind & soul -, and  you will bring the others home.