The fathers of the church are men of heart who naturally care for the souls of others. It is upon the father that the weight of the household falls, he goes forth in the morning to his daily labour, and he returns at night with the fruit of his toil for the support of the household. It is not for himself that he lives but for that dear family which is gathered about him.
He is not wholly comprised within his own personal self, for he lives in the entire house; he lives especially in his children. Their suffering or their need would be his suffering and his need. His heart has grown larger than when he was a child or a young man, for now, his heartbeats in that entire household, of which he is the life. It is a grand thing when Christian men and Christian women come to this, that they are not perpetually thinking of their own salvation and of their own souls being fed under the ministry, but they care most of all for those who are weak and feeble in the church.
During a service, their thoughts go out for those assembled. They are anxious as to how that stranger may be impressed by the sermon, how yonder anxious spirit may be comforted, how a backsliding brother may be restored, how one who is growing somewhat cold may be revived. This paternal care betokens a true father in the church. May the Lord multiply among us those who feel it to be their lifework to feed the flock of Christ.
“A true father has a tender love for all the little ones.”
Having this care upon him, the father comes to be tender. He partakes somewhat of the tenderness of a mother and thus is called a nursing father. A true father, such as fathers should be, has a tender love for all the little ones. He would not hurt them. Nothing would be more painful to him than to grieve them; on the contrary, he studies to give them pleasure and lays himself out for their good.
“Let us put up with a thousand trying things from our Master’s children whom He has committed to our care.”
It is a great blessing to the church when the leading spirits are loving, not rough and uncouth, domineering or hectoring, but gentle and Christ-like. Oh, my brothers, who take the lead, let us bear and forbear, and put up with a thousand trying things from our Master’s children whom He has committed to our care. Let us make ourselves the servants of all …
This is how Christians grow great by making themselves greatly useful to others. If you are the slave of all, willing to do anything so that you can but help them and make them happy and holy, this is to be a father in the church of God. Sympathetic care and hearty tenderness are gifts of the Holy Spirit and will bring you a happiness which will richly compensate you for your pains. – C.H. Spurgeon – Excerpt from his sermon Fathers in Christ.