Real Talk on Fathering


Let’s get real about the reason most inheritors quit on fathers, and many fathers get bored or disgusted with inheritors.

Personally, I have never quit on a son or daughter. Still, I have been relieved of the assignment when some became Esau in spirit.

The difference between a prodigal and an Esau is essential reading for spiritual fathers. Inheritors do not have this chapter in their handbooks. They cannot recognize “Esau and prodigal” as inheritors, only as fathers. When they move into being fathered as fathers, they may recognize their own overcoming of these syndromes.

We never discuss Esau and get “gospel-ish” about the prodigal story limits our understanding of the fathering motif. We assume that the prodigal son story is about being born again when it is not about that. Though the non-exegetical adaptation of coming home to papa is effective, the chapter’s narratives are all related to inheritance issues.

We need the real talk that inheritors quit amid a painful pathos preparation process when fathers tell them that they need to endure instead of escape. They demand to inherit based upon natural indicators or peer-level “permission to rebel” parameters.


The phrase “this is all about you, Dr. Don,” actually interprets as “when is it going to be my turn?”

The sad, pitiful, and evil answer is, “When Dr. Don dies.”

Wow! Ain’t that a lovely sentiment for spiritual fathering!

“When the old wineskin turns gets a body bag, I’ll be king of the estate!” And, you immediately produce a pile of trash. You will undoubtedly empty the estate of its most important characteristics to make it look like your delusional dreams.

You may throw an oil painting of the founder up in a back hallway and say you honor them. Still, you will dishonor everything they did and said by wiping the slate clean of the ministry’s originating purpose.

The Tough Times are Vital

The Hebrews 12 revelation makes it perfectly clear that Father authenticates inheritors with painful pathos. This process produces endurance or escape.

The possibility of failure is real. A rightful inheritor can go “Esau” on God and you. The tough talk we avoid! We have this “there’s always a way back” redemptive point of view on inheritance–as we should!–that assumes Esau will change his mind.

We aren’t discussing Esau’s eternal condition but his kingdom inheritance preparation.

The point is that Esaus become Esaus because they refuse to change their minds. They demand, as Cain and Korah, that God changes His mind. That never happens in the authentication process: God does not cut corners or negotiate with inheritors.

You can miss it and never recover if you refuse to change your mind about entitlement, expectations, and equality.

You Cannot Equalize Inheritors

The next segment of risk-taking comes because you appear to have favorites. That comes because you do have favorites!

If you have favor, you are a favorite. Favor is not an equalization of Fathering leadership but strategic empowerment of assignment and destiny. Favor must, by definition, be unequal.

So, part of the pathos of fathering arises when you obey Father in favoring one inheritor over another or in comparison to another.

You cannot treat all inheritors alike or equally, or even consider that variable in fathering without sacrificing the unique creation issues inherent to individual purpose. You would be usurping God as Creator, Lord, Savior, and King!

So, you are going to face some horror movie-level ugly from inheritors who demand to be treated as they deem fair and just. Such a response on your part would be fathering treason before Father. You are going to lose some inheritors to prodigal vagabonding. You are going to watch some Esaus walk away.

And, it is going to hurt like nothing you have ever felt before when it happens.

So, you never allow people to break your heart. You allow Father to break your heart, so He can heal it.

It is a million times more difficult to not allow people to break your heart than you think because you have to care at the same level as Father to father in the first place! When the prodigals ask for their portions, and the Esaus walk away in a huff, you go into surgery with Father’s scalpel as your emotional oasis.

If you deal with these failures and quitters in your own strength and wisdom, you will either go nuts or become bitter and controlling. You may start eating little kittens for breakfast. You may become so paranoid that you cannot function at all.

Real Talk Saves Your Life

According to the emphasis and priority of Scripture, the real issue is upon sons and daughters learning honor.

You are going to jump through some hoops to make the Bible justify dishonor. The current brand of dishonor comes in the “new breed” and “new wineskin” rhetoric of poorly fathered leaders demanding to be seen as fathers without authentically being fathered.

They emphasize a buddy system of false equality for elders. They demand that things that have already proven ineffective that fail miserably be repeated in their generation. They push back on correction. They use immature prophetic existentialism to prove they are right.

The fundamental power of generational momentum built into God’s design for fathering disappears in this “let’s start all over again with a new thing” approach. Inevitably, the previous generations are dismissed for some “opinion presented as a revelation” repeat of historical failures.

Fathering leaders sit in the stands watching this parade of immaturity, wondering why another generation of kingdom hippies is holding placards and attending a charismatic Woodstock.

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