And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
I’ve been serving the Lord at St. Matthew Lutheran Church & School in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois for over half a decade.
I’m serving with Tim who is the Senior Pastor. We have known each other a lot longer, having served separate parishes in Wisconsin over the years.
I’ve learn a lot from Tim. One of those things is something that Job also teaches us.
When a baby or young child is baptized by Tim or myself at St. Matthew we use a baptismal candle at one point in the Rite.
After the baptism, we’ll take a special candle that has been lit from the Paschal Candle (which represents Christ) and hand it to the father of the baptized.
I first heard of this from Tim. “Daddy,” (if it’s a small child) “as the high priest of your home it is your responsibility to raise your child – along with the rest of your family – in the Christian faith.”
It is an awesome responsibility. One I take seriously, even though I hadn’t thought of being a high priest before I observed Tim’s way of administering the Rite of Holy Baptism.
My wife refers to me in the way Luther’s Small Catechism does, as the “head of the household.” But whether “head of the household” or “high priest” it is my responsibility to teach – or have taught – the Christian faith to my children.
Parents have this awesome responsibility of being the first people to share the Christian faith with our children.
While more mature children and adults bear the responsibility of keeping or abandoning their Christian faith, when they are young it is our responsibility as parents.
No one took this responsibility more seriously in the Bible than Job.
After Job’s children would gather for their regular feasts (parties) Job would rise early the following day and perform priestly duties – literally – of sacrifice on behalf of his children.
His concern was that they might have sinned in some way during the party. Loving his children, he would then perform a sacrifice on behalf of his children. He made this a regular practice.
I don’t think Job was doing this despite the lack of faith in his children. I think he was doing this – as someone who feared God and turned away from evil – alongside of his children. I think that they were also God-fearers, that is, faithful to God.
But not being as mature in the faith as Job was, Job continued his fatherly duties and high-priest-of-his-household responsibilities.
Today, a God-fearing father would not perform sacrifices on behalf of his children to atone for their sin. Instead, we who would be God-appointed heads of households would pray for our children, have family devotions, and either bring the younger children to church or make sure they participate in regular worship where they are.
This is part of the reason God blesses fathers with families and is a responsibility we should take very seriously.
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