The family is a divinely organized unit. Within it Heavenly Father intends for us to learn and form a basis of support that will lead each family member back to Him.
What is the father’s role in a family? Often, the things that come to mind are the things they do to help with the cares of the world. As a disciple of Christ, a father has a much greater purpose.
The second principle is to understand the term Heavenly Father. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we firmly believe and draw comfort from the fact that God is very literally our Heavenly Father. He is the Father of our spirit. We were a family unit before our time here on earth.
The purpose of discipleship is to testify of Christ and to live His teachings. They carry His name and example with them everywhere they go. Jesus Christ testifies of our Heavenly Father. He made it perfectly clear that He was on earth to represent and do the will of His Father.
The disciple testifies of Christ.
Christ testifies of Heavenly Father.
The earthly family unit is to mirror the family we had in heaven.
The role of the earth-bound father as disciple is to testify of Christ and present a living example of our Heavenly Father.
That seems a much more daunting task than, “the father is the bread winner”. I appreciate the efforts of those righteous fathers who work for and with their families with one eye on the examples from heaven. I grieve for those who have not felt this kind of power and influence from a truly good man in their lives.
The father as a disciple is working to support and watch out for their family. They teach and lead. They testify of Christ and show an example of righteousness. A very tall order, a very noble mission. For this, the father needs the same thing every other disciple needs—the companionship of the Holy Ghost. He seeks to understand God’s word and the gospel of Jesus Christ by spending a little time each day studying the scriptures and a lot of time on their knees in prayer. They keep their feet on paths where the Spirit can follow. They pray for and with their families. They listen to the spirit to help them understand how to reach each person in their care. They place high priority on their happiness, just like our Heavenly Father. They never give up on a child. They stand in the doorway, waiting with open arms of love and acceptance for each member of their family. Through an earthly father, or one who provides a surrogate role of father, we learn about God’s love. We learn how to be disciples ourselves.