Fathering Sons, not Sheep
The shepherding movement was never a fathering movement that went awry. It was an exaggeration of coaching. It sought to usurp personal responsibility by removing personal authority. The idea only makes sense when you lead sheep.
Fathers prepare and position inheritors.
Sheep is a behavior, not a condition. Some people will always need leadership for provision and protection. They are weak minded. Some people need shepherd leadership at some level while they are immature. The metaphor is important, but the metaphor is not universal. Leaders do not treat all people as sheep.
Most people mature beyond sheep behavior. They grow up and learn to find food and water. They grow up and drive off wolves on their own. They mature into leaders and put some wolf-skin rugs in their own offices.
Father mature inheritors.
Cultures now offer several families models. They may resemble the kingdom culture in some points. They may deviate from kingdom culture norms in others. They may be so far from kingdom culture that we find they entire culture needs a new foundation.
The shepherding movement breached kingdom culture in many ways. It sidetracked maturity by making leaders responsible for personal decisions that a good father wants children making on their own. They failed to produce leaders because they were interested in producing dependents.
Fathers are not afraid of strong inheritors who can do more than they did in their leadership. Fathers do not want dependents but expanders and enhancers of purpose.
The shepherding movement chose spouses for people. They told them who to marry. It is a disaster area of brokenness. It is a wide swath of tragedy. It is a history of horrifying dysfunction. It ripped the foundations of kingdom culture into shreds.
We are not in the shepherding movement. It is over.
Fathers are not interested in choosing a mate for their children. They are interested in making a good husband and father of their sons, a good wife and mother of their daughters. They are not interested in making decisions for them. They are interested in them maturing into good decision makers open to counsel.
Fathers Protect Inheritance
A father will say, “Not in this house you won’t.” He says that because he is the father. He partners with and represents the Father. When he says that, he will make it stick even at the expense of the relationship with an inheritor. He is first responsible to the Father for the purpose of the inheritance. The Father in heaven tests inheritors to ascertain authenticity. His fathering leaders do so as well, both natural and spiritual.
If an inheritor makes a decision that touches the inheritance of purpose, a father will protect the inheritance. If a son chooses a Jezebel, that does not open the entire inheritance to Jezebel. The moment an inheritor chooses to establish a new lineage, that inheritor has betrayed the purpose.
He remains a son, but he must come back to the lineage.
A shepherd goes to get a wandering sheep. A father must wait for the prodigal to return home.
If you are an inheritor in a spiritual oikos, you are being prepared and positioned for purpose. An inheritor cannot change that purpose any more than a father can. So, a father prepares and positions inheritors to expand and fulfill a purpose. If an inheritor chooses poorly, he is still a son. If an inheritor wishes to usurp the purpose, he is a prodigal.
Being a son does not grant you rights to the inheritance. Being a mature son positions you to take part in the leadership aspects of inheritance. The inheritance is never yours.
You take part with the Inheritor in His Inheritance.
You participateas an inheritor, not as a son. As a son, you may be a sheep. As a son, you may be an infant. As a son, you have the right to a father, not to participatein the inheritance. Only when you are mature do you provide leadership.
Fathers partner with and represent the Father in preparing and positioning inheritors. They mature inheritors. The mature inheritors learn to make decisions and solve problems. They do so by submitting to fathers. The remain in that role of submission to fathers. The relational dynamic mature with the maturity of the inheritors.
Fathers mature along with the inheritors. They are only as happy as they grow older as their children. The joy of a father continues in the joy of his children. The purpose of God remains strong in the inheritance process when fathers and children turn hearts toward one another.
An inheritor may turn his heart from his father. The father continues to turn his heart toward the inheritor. The father cannot betray the inheritance. The father must wait for the wayward waster to come to himself and return with a submitted heart.
We understand submission as submission to the purpose of God. Both the father and the son submit to the Inheritor. The role of father and the role of son are never the same role. When they turn hearts, inheritance expands.
I recall with deep sorrow the moments inheritors turned their hearts. I did all I could do at that moment and the moments leading toward it to avoid that moment. I did so for the sake of the inheritors, not my own. I did so for the sake of the purpose, the inheritance, not my own.
I was angry at the intruding spiritual condition that turns the hearts. Pride. Jealousy. Fear. Rebellion. Delusion. Independence. Immaturity. I was angry at the waste. I was angry at the dysfunction. I was angry at the unnecessary division.
I could see the waste coming. Now, I see the waste. I am not happy with wasted inheritance and inheritors. I cannot quit fathering. I cannot give away the inheritance. I can do nothing more but wait for prodigals to return. I must invest in inheritors who turn their hearts toward fathering.