1 Samuel 8:1-3
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. (ESV)
It seems that Samuel would follow Eli’s lead. Eli, back in chapter 2-3, is prophesied against because of his sons who did not know the Lord nor follow Eli’s example. And God blames Eli for this in chapter three. He blames Eli for not restraining their sin.
In many ways we ought to learn from this example. All of us. But more so we must see how pastors should not be. 1 Timothy 3 makes it clear an elders household ought to be in order, the children being submissive. Both Eli and Samuel are examples of not managing your household well, and both are examples of men who, though greatly used by God, have failed their families and ultimately fail their people. Why is this? Because both Eli and Samuel’s children end up doing things that cause many others trouble, and instead of caring for their children and their people, they do nothing, and this breeds all sorts of problems.
In fact, in 1 Samuel 8, you’ll read that the people cite to Samuel that because his children do not follow his ways they desire to have a king. As though that’s going to solve the problem. But truly, though these men were godly men, their lack of being men in restraining their children, disciplining them, and rooting out the evil from among their people, allowed for sin to rise up not only in their families but also within their nation.
Pastors are held to a higher standard. They must be above reproach. However, that doesn’t mean only pastors ought to be that way. No, as children of God we all must carry out God’s will. Thus, 1 Timothy 3 demonstrates God’s will for all families. 1 Samuel is a good case scenario for how ministers and lay persons alike ought to restrain their children. God’s word is profitable for all, not just ministers. And we need more pastors and lay persons who will obey God.
Ministry shouldn’t be the main focus of a pastor, it should be godliness in himself, in his home, and in his congregation. I give pastors no excuse. If their children are disobedient, then truly that pastor has also been disobedient somewhere down the line.