Arnold Glasgow observed, “One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”
As you know, the father is the leader of the family (Eph. 5:23; 6:1-4; Gen. 18:19). As the leader, the father must identify problems before they become emergencies. For example, the father must recognize that the family car has well over 100,000 miles on it and may begin to have mechanical problems. For the safety of his wife and kids, he may have to start thinking about getting a new car. He may get a tune-up on the car or have a mechanic check it out. He may start watching for a good deal on another car. Whatever he does, the time for the father to start thinking about the condition of the family car is before his wife calls from the side of the interstate four hours from home with a screaming baby in the car in one hundred degree heat. Although the father doesn’t want a new car, or for sure a new car payment, he must not wait until the problem becomes an emergency. He must have the vision to look ahead and make the necessary preparation. In like manner, a father must not wait till his teenage son stands before him telling him he has fathered a child out of wedlock or till his teenage daughter stands before him telling him that she is pregnant out of wedlock to do something. He must work diligently to identify problems with attire, associates, and actions long before they become the emergency just described (1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Cor. 15:33). No doubt, as fathers, we will not catch everything. Some emergencies will arise no matter what we do. However, we should do our best to prevent as many of them as we can by dealing with problems long before they get to that point.
Elders or shepherds lead local congregations (Acts 20:28). Like the father in the home (1 Tim. 3:4), they too must identify problems before they become emergencies. For example, if there are only two men in an eldership, they may want to begin the process of finding a third elder. After all, they are one heart attack, one stroke, one job transfer, or one diagnosis with cancer away from not having an eldership. Although a third elder might be classified as a want (at the moment), since a congregation can scripturally exist with two elders, it nonetheless can quickly turn into an emergency. Wise are the elders who have the vision to see this and to make the necessary preparation. Elders must make the same preparation when the building and parking near capacity. They must make plans to build or expand. Of course, other problems are always lurking. These problems must also be handled with the great vision.
As Father’s Day approaches, let me challenge our fathers, and those who lead in other capacities, to strive to recognize problems before they become emergencies. Let’s make our Heavenly Father proud by becoming the kind of leaders that He would have us to be.