Learning to Open the Car Door

Sunday mornings at my house are always a bit tricky. Getting multiple kids out the door in a timely fashion is always a chaotic adventure. I typically get the kids out the door and buckled into their car-seats while my wife is putting away breakfast, turning off lights and locking doors.  Occasionally I’ll go back and see if she needs any help. Upon returning to the car, I’ll open the door and help her into the car. Yesterday was a bit different.

When we left for church, it was raining and my 3 year old daughter does not like getting wet. So, Daddy carried her to the car and got her buckled. My two boys are capable and happy to buckle themselves. We were waiting for Mom and after a few minutes she began to make her way to the car.

My wife is now 7 months pregnant and feeling the full weight of the life that grows inside her. She is having a lot of back pain right now so she was gingerly walking with coffee in one hand and her purse and Bible in the other.

Did I mention it was raining?

As she was getting in the car, my 7 year old son, Sterling, asked, “Dad, why didn’t you open Mom’s door for her?” Unable to process a quick and clever answer, I said, “That’s a really good question bud.” My wife gave me a smile that said, “How are you going to handle this one? Because you just got BUSTED!” So I continued, “I had put Elizabeth into the car…but I was finished. I should have gotten out and opened her door.”

Without a tone of disrespect, Sterling simply stated, “Well, that’s not what a man does.”

I had nothing.

At this point I was looking to change the subject, but I knew this was a teachable moment. “You are right bud. I should have gotten out and opened Mommy’s door.”

Again, I was looking for an escape from the conversation but a thought came to me. “Sterling, I want to ask you something. How do you know that’s something a man does? Who taught you that a man opens the car door for a lady?” I was curious.

“You & Grandpa.”

I have privilege of leading a few men in a study of 2 Timothy. This book of the Bible is a classic text on discipleship. This past week we worked through chapter 1 where Paul mentions Timothy’s legacy of faith, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (v. 5). I cannot state this strongly enough: I am grateful for women of faith like Timothy’s mother and grandmother. I am grateful for the women of faith who have greatly influenced my own life.

However, I must also ask:

Where are the men?

Where is Timothy’s father and grandfather? They are not mentioned.

To Paul’s credit, he steps in and helps Timothy understand biblical manhood. He leads Timothy to a passionate love of the gospel and disciple-making.

The Shema (see Deuteronomy 6) was a remarkably important text for the Israelite people. It calls the men of Israel to lead not only their children, but also their grandchildren, in understanding the ways of God.

We live in a culture that allows grandparents to “spoil” their grandchildren. Grandparents feel little responsibility, and are often given little or no permission to instruct or discipline their own grandchildren. Yet, the Scriptures tell us that we are responsible to do exactly that!

Ephesians 5 is clear that a husband is to love and serve his wife, just as Christ loved and served the Church.

I am grateful for my father who loves his bride and still opens the car door for her.

I am thankful that my father-in-law, who demonstrates service to my mother-in-law.

I love that my kids get to see a God-honoring husband love his wife.

And you can be sure that next Sunday, rain or shine, I will be waiting to open to the car door for my lovely bride.

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