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Book Review: The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Witmer

27 Apr

A Practical Guide to the Bible’s Principle’s of Shepherd-Leadership in Our Homes

In his recent book “The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Family” Timothy Witmer gives us a practical vision for what it looks like for a man to care for his family under God through the lens of the shepherd-leader.

An examination of an actual shepherd shows that they know their sheep, they lead them, they protect them and they provide for them. Witmer divides his book into those very sections: Knowing, Leading, Protecting and Providing for our families. Under each of those sections he first walks through it’s principle and practice in marriage and then moves to parenting.

As a young man, husband and father of two I found this book incredibly helpful. Over time I’ve picked up things here and there from different friends, pastors, and teachers on how to be a husband and father, but there have inevitably been certain practices and principles I’ve missed. Maybe I knew the principle, but hadn’t thought through it’s practical outworking, or conversely maybe I been taught a practice but not connected it to it’s principle. This book helped me here even though I’m surrounded by what I consider to be some of the best guides to godly parenting. It was helpful, because all in one place, it laid out a vision for shepherd-leadership, gave me practical instructions on how to implement it, and showed numerous examples of those practices played out. It’s always good to read multiple books on parenting, some that are heavy on theology and principle others that lean towards particular practices so each person will need to consider this in light of his own family and situation. I found this one to lean more towards the practical side of the spectrum and it was one that I needed.

It’s time that we men learned what it means to be true men in relation to our wives and children. That we grow in our ability to identify our own sin, selfishness and laziness and lay our lives down for our wives and children. So often we men think we are “leading” but it’s a leadership not characterized by service. Really we are just doing whatever we want and leaving it up to our wives to handle the rest. Or, we “lead” by driving our families like a dog-sled. Bearing down on them, pointing out their problems, and enforcing strict codes of conduct all the while never getting at the heart, never truly knowing, and never affectionately communication our desire to provide and protect.

The call to servant-leadership is a tall one. And the author sounds it for us and seeks to guide us in it. This call may cost us our hobbies, our free time, our self-indulgences, nights of sleep or moments of relaxation. But it is worth it.

When we stand on the brink of eternity, looking back over our lives, what will matter most? Those “things” we spent all our time and money on? The job we were consumed with? The moments of pleasure we risked it all for? Or, a family that has flourished because of our leadership? A family that still loves us during our dying moments and gathers to see us off? A wife who was tenderly loved and lovingly led? Grown children who knew their father loved them and set an example for them in word and deed that will impact generations to come? Children who heard the gospel preached and saw it lived out towards them?

I’ll take the latter.

In Christ, God has made us for this. He has given us fresh hope and new life in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He is gradually conforming us into the image of His Son who is the Shepherd-Leader. The One who perfectly knows, leads, protects and provides for His sheep. And God graciously has given us the power by His Holy Spirit to walk in that same way.

May God freshly work in us to make us men who are willing to lay down our lives for our wives and children. To serve in the big things… and in the small things. Men who realize what matters most in life. Men who take the time to know our families, men who take care to nourishingly lead our families. Men who fiercely (and warmly) protect our families. And men who gladly provide for our families.

And may God be pleased to use this little book to help some of us to do just that.

I commend it to you.

Timothy Witmer – Your Primary Human Relationship

9 Apr

Witmer

Marriage is designed by God to be your primary human relationship. In fact, it is the most important relationship you have in this world…

This doesn’t mean that you no longer respect your parents. It means that when you marry, a new household is established and that this now becomes your priority relationship. It means that the opinion that you value the most is that of your spouse. It means that the counsel that you yield to is that of your spouse. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you no longer seek the counsel of your parents. That would be foolish. It does mean that it is clear to your spouse that her wishes and happiness take priority over that of your parents.

~Timothy Witmer~




The Shepherd Leader at Home (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) p. 23-24.

Books by Timothy Witmer

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Other Witmer Quotes at the Cross Quoter