I must report that Viking fans in Minnesota are conflicted these days, especially the men. There will be a lot of discussion about the future of our superstar, Adrian Peterson. Adrian might not be playing for the rest of the year because of reported child abuse accusations from several sources. As I was on my daily three mile prayer walk, I felt led to write a blog about Adrian’s woes. I do not want to weigh in on whether Adrian is guilty, or whether he still should be playing football. I have two observation regarding our dance as men in the family and our tending the vineyard of our family.
First and foremost there is God’s order for the family, which is the oldest and most basic of human institutions. J.I. Packer has observed, “The family has a built-in authority structure whereby the husband is leader to the wife and the parents are leaders to the children.” (Eph 5:22-6:4; Col 3:18-21; I Peter 3: 1-7) Within this structure there is a mutual submission to Christ. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21). Structure and submission becomes a delicate dance between husband, wife and children, with the husband taking the lead on the dance floor with the family.
I know as a father of three grown children and a husband of 49 years, that I had to die each day to my way of dancing in order to learn the god given dance between leadership and mutual submission that was unique to the Hendricksons. It meant sacrificial love and humility most of the time. Adrian has not learned how to practice this dance since he is not been committed to one woman. His mother, Bonita said he was married in July and has children from different women. How can you possible learn the dance in such a situation? Men, we need to be a “one woman man” as we learn to dance with our wife and children. This means we are totally committed to leading the dance with our children and their mother. They will be watching how we will lead in the dance.
Secondly, children are a stewardship given to us by God. Children are our most precious gifts. We read in Psalm 127: 3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Psalm 128:3-4 expresses beautifully the joy of family, “Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes, your household lush as a vineyard. The children around your table as fresh and promising as young olive shoots. Stand in awe of God’s yes. Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!” (The Message).
Picture a father around his dinner table rejoicing in what God has given him. There is no greater joy or satisfaction for a man then being able to “lean into” the stewardship of rising his “young olive shoots” brought forth by his wife. He is looking at a lush vineyard. It is his task to create the spiritual ecology in which the vineyard can thrive. This means being “present” and “involvement” in the vineyard. I know it took all the emotional and spiritual energy I had to “enter into” life in my vineyard. Adrian obviously is not able to attend to his vineyard. What will happen to the “young shoots” his relationships has produced? Many dads are absent from their vineyards. Men, take delight in tending to your vineyard. After cherishing your wife, it is your most important calling before God.