President Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk which read, “The buck stops here.” Truman was reacting to the reputation of typical politicians who would, “pass the buck” when it came to making actual decisions, standing on principle, or clearly stating an honest opinion. Truman understood how heavy those decisions could be. He was responsible for launching the only two nuclear weapons detonated in the history of the world. Other politicians could moan about the loss of American and Japanese life in the Pacific or moralize over the use of these new, devastating weapons…but they had no decision to make. Truman dropped the “Little Boy” on Hiroshima and “Fat Man” found its mark over the city of Nagasaki. World War II came to an end five days later.
Shakespeare’s quote at the top of the page expresses the unique challenge of those in authority. They can not “pass the buck.” Kings, presidents, elders, and fathers are unable to avoid reality. It is to them the responsibility of action falls. You make the decisions. You live with the outcomes. It may lead to some sleepless nights, but it also forces you to grow into the roll. The overwhelming sense of responsibility has a very sobering effect.
When president Franklin Roosevelt died in office, it was suddenly Truman who had to shoulder the weight of millions of lives. His unique position as leader of the free world constrained him to make the decision.
Lord willing, none of us will ever have to make the decision to launch a nuclear strike. But every husband, father, or elder will be in a position that forces on to them the unique responsibility of deciding.
In the last 50-years, America has undergone immense change regarding gender roles in society. The vast majority of our neighbors, scoff at the idea of husbands being designated, “the head of the household” (Ephesians 5:23, I Timothy 3:4-5). What the worldly do not understand is the growth, order, and security that God-given role is designed to bring to the family.
A Christian man is tasked with supporting his family financially (II Thessalonians 3:10; I Timothy 5:8). He doesn’t get to look around and ask, “Who’s going to pay the mortgage?” If he hasn’t begun to mature before, he will have no choice now. Your first-born child is a miracle from God. They are also cleats, books, clothes, and food that now must be provided. Guess who the provider is?
What kind of Christian man or woman will my child become? It is time for action. Lead your family. As for me and my house, we will be with God’s people every time they assemble. The will see me prepare my Bible lesson, lead in worship, yield to my Lord’s will, and treat their mother with love in a way that makes them proud.
Yes, I get to be the big cheese. I get to claim my favorite chair. But when the light bill is unpaid, my ten-year-old needs braces, or my 13-year-old must have expensive medical care, the buck stops with me. I will have to give an account for the nurture and admonition applied to children given to me by God. Only elders and fathers truly feel the weight that accompanies authority. The apostle Paul spoke of, “the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”-II Corinthians 11:28. Accept the position, grow into the role, and pray to God for strength. Talks with the good shepherd will lighten the crown and soften your pillow.