some of us are better at one than another. We all have strengths and weaknesses.
We all have different talents and gifts. Recently I have heard two different
philosophies on how to handle those strengths and weaknesses. The first concept
is to spend extra time and effort on the weak areas to make them stronger. The
idea is that even though it may never be as strong as an area that comes
naturally, you will be well-rounded and better overall. The second point-of-view
is to spend your time and energy on your strengths and excel in those areas and
just try to do enough to get by in the other areas where you are weaker. These
two ideas were proposed in the arena of jobs, occupations, and careers. The
second seems to be very reasonable in that realm. If I hate math and am not good
at it becoming an accountant is probably not the best idea for me. However, I
have to be careful not to go to the extreme of saying that since I don’t like
math I will just not bother learning how to balance my checkbook.
Even though the idea of excelling in your strengths works well in the
business world, it doesn’t do as well in relationships. If I am a great talker,
but a horrible listener that will be a problem. Becoming an even better talker
is not going to help my relationships. As a husband, son, brother, father, or
even friend if I want to have good relationships I have to work on the areas
where I am weak to make them better. Unfortunately, many men have lived by the
second philosophy for too long.
For many men the role of provider was the easiest. They could go out into
the world and work to bring home the bacon. They were good at it. It came
naturally for them, so they focused their energy and time on excelling at it.
They brought home big fat salary checks and thought they were great fathers
because of it. There is no doubt that providing for your family is an essential
part of being the kind of husband and father God wants us to be (1 Timothy 5:8),
but providing money is only one part of that. What about providing them with an
unconditional love like God provides us, or companionship, or a moral compass,
or spiritual guidance, or a compassionate ear, or an example of faithfulness to
God, our wives, and children. The list could go on, but we must be more than
just breadwinners that are absentee fathers in the other areas.
I want to challenge all fathers to not only excel in your natural strengths,
but like the 5 talent man go out and double the gifts and strengths that you
have. You may find that the reward of growing in new areas will outweigh the
pain and sacrifice of effort and in the end it will be well worth it.