Don’t run your life on auto pilot

The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Once, when my second son was an infant, I laid him down on a kitchen countertop, just for a second, while I turned and opened the refrigerator door to get something. Hey, don’t look at me like that. I was training my son to obey. I laid him down and said, “Caleb, stay there.” I turned around, just for a second, and heard this sickening thud behind me. I turned back in horror to find my son lying on the kitchen floor, starting to cry. Then another voice (any guesses whose it was?) said, “Mark! What happened?” What happened was I took my eye off of my responsibilities, just for a second, and it could have been disastrous. 

I remember when I was 17 years old, driving my father’s Oldsmobile in Charlotte. I had gone there with two friends to check out colleges. I was driving down Independence Blvd., feeling like I might as well be in New York City, because I had never driven in traffic like that before. It was rush hour, I was nervous, driving with friends, not respecting the seriousness of the moment, and then it happened. I turned left at a stoplight right into oncoming traffic. A truck proudly owned by the Queen City hit us broadside and smashed up the Olds, and made an emotional wreck out of me. 

That wasn’t the worst of it. I ran over to the truck to see if he was OK and the driver waved it off, said, “Yeah, I’m fine,” got out of his truck, assessed the damage, and got back in. I went back to my car and waited for the police to arrive. He did. As soon as he got there, the truck driver got out of his car and was limping like he had a compound fracture in his right femur! I told the officer that the man was fine two minutes earlier, but the officer told me not to worry about it. I didn’t. I should have. 

Six weeks later there was a knock at the door and my father was served with a lawsuit because of the wreck. I thought I was going to pass out. Again, the whole thing happened because I had taken my eye off of my responsibilities, just for a second! 

I can’t tell you how many times in 25 years of marriage I have found my wife crying because I have taken my eye off of my responsibilities and she has ended up having to carry something or take care of something that I was supposed to do. Some say that a woman notices when there is a leak in the roof, but the man only notices when the roof caves in. That can apply to actual leaks, or it can apply to problems with the finances, child discipline issues, problems with the marriage or with the spiritual environment in the home. Maybe that’s why Paul said to the believers in Corinth, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 

“Watch.” This is not a passive word that would describe something like watching television. If that is all that God is requiring of us, then the country is ablaze with his glory. People everywhere are watching, but not in a biblical sense. In fact, watching television is probably the exact opposite of what this word means. This word is a command to rouse, to wake up, to refrain from sleep, to engage in what is going on around you. 

Are you watching, or are you on autopilot?

Prayer: “O Lord, keep me alert and awake to my responsibilities as a husband and a father; help me to deal with the ‘leaks’ before the roof caves in!”

Action: Ask your wife if there are any areas in the family that need your attention, and then follow through ‘in the day you hear of it.’

Take me back to


About C4FIC

The Council for Family-Integrated Churches exists to promote reverence for the gospel in order to reform the church and restore the home as an embassy of the kingdom of God.
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