How are you shepherding your family during these times? Health experts have called on us to practice “social distancing.” In the midst of these new ministry demands, it can be easy to practice “social distancing” with those in our home. As husbands and fathers, we have a particular responsibility to lead our families, regardless of the trials we face.
During this time, we have the opportunity to lead our families well by modeling dependence on the Lord through prayer and practice. Undoubtedly our families may be tempted to fear and worry excessively during this pandemic. Therefore, we want to guard them from temptations that may come from within or from without.
Here are some tips for shepherding your family well during these days:
Shepherd your wife. Regularly ask your wife how she’s doing. This might even include reading Scripture with her and spending time with her in prayer. It might even mean encouraging one another to limit social media usage so our hearts are not taken up with excessive sorrow.
Shepherd your children. Depending on the age of your children, they may or may not be affected by the events going on around them. However, whatever their ages, don’t assume they know or understand all that is happening. Talk with them about the events going on in the world. Don’t just turn on the news or use scary sounding words like “quarantine” without explanation. Help your family think about these things from a Christian worldview. Help them understand that the Lord is still sovereign; he is not surprised by any of these events.
Practically, this could easily happen around the dinner table or before bedtime. Ask them questions, pay attention to how they are reacting, and then reassure them with Scripture and pray with them.
Brothers, don’t neglect the gift God has given you through “social distancing.” Use this time to intentionally read Scripture as a family, sing hymns, and pray together. Maybe through this trial, the Lord is renewing old disciplines or teaching you new rhythms of family worship that will last a lifetime. As pastors, we have a tremendous burden to shepherd the flock to whom God has called us.
Brothers, I encourage you to not miss the flock right before you; don’t overlook the flock in your own home. So I exhort you, “shepherd the flock of God that is among you.” (1 Pet. 5:2),
Published April 16, 2020