Patriarch Part I

I have been involved in writing and discussions with men on a variety of topics. Two of the issues that frequently come into the dialog are leaving a legacy and leadership in the home. Whenever they are exposed to thoughtful discussions on the topic men begin to realize that they are leaving a legacy, whether it is intentional or not. Equally challenging is the realization that, for many, the path they are on is not a model that they would want to have engraved on their tombstones. What they want to leave is the model of a man who influenced his family and those around him in the neighborhood and workplace in a positive way representing values that build up and encourage others. For most this includes leaving a significant spiritual impact as well. Men are made with a desire to leave their mark yet few have been challenged regarding the mark they are leaving. Many of our discussions then shift to what will be required to have the desired impact on the world around them.

Leadership and taking responsibility for ones own actions and for those of his family are the themes that emerge from these discussions. All too often they quickly recognize that they have not led well, if at all. The reasons men are struggling with their leadership in the home are too many to identify and discuss here. Suffice it to say that in addition to the lack of appropriate role models, a healthy form of family leadership as articulated in Ephesians 5 and 6 (the Bible) has not found its way into our homes.

Now to the point of this article. When we think of patriarchs we think of men who understand their identity, who are leaders in their homes and other areas of life, and who nuture and mentor the next generation for their time of leadership. I believe this is true regardless of one’s spiritual leaning. When we think of patriarchs we think of rare individuals who have earned that badge of honor. All of us will leave a legacy, but few will be patriarchs. Few will be men that will be admired by the generations that follow as someone who intentionally invested in a positive legacy. I am still studying the concept of patriarchs and am open to the input of others as I build my definition on this topic.

Rather than figuring out how much fun we can have in this life, and how many toys we can collect, I would challenge all men to consider what they are doing to (1) be a patriarch for their family and (2) build the next generation of patriarchs. We work diligently to build a solid succession plan in our business environment, but do not do enough to lead our families thoughtfully and build the next generation of family leaders.

About ponderosapapa

Papa to five grandchildren, Dad to two daughters and two sons-in-law, Husband of one wife. Leaving a legacy of thought and perspective worth carrying through the generations that follow.
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8 Responses to Patriarch Part I

  1. Anonymous says:

    OK, the little I know or think I know, I offer here.
    1. They walk by faith.
    2. They are tested by God.
    3. They are human, make mistakes, God still uses them.
    4. They are wealthy and generous…. Read More
    5. They see the big picture.
    6. It takes God years of preparation to grow a Patriarch.
    7. They are few and far between.
    8. They aren't afraid to approach God & petition Him on behalf of others, and even wrestle with Him.
    9. God soverignly chooses them (Jacob I loved, Esau I hated)
    10. Kings fear them as do common people. They must have some kind of aura or presence about them.

    by Kevin Guttman


  2. Bill Regehr says:

    Good observations, Kevin. See my blog at

    I agree that they are few and far between. There are none that I have heard of that achieve biblical stature in the present day. Using your list, perhaps Billy Graham comes the closest to biblical stature in both wisdom, faith and some of the other qualities, except for wealth.

    I also believe that in this world there are some who become patriarchs in their families as well as in their communities (work and neighborhood). I think there is opportunity to challenge men to pursue patriarchal qualities. I think you have the opportunity to become a patriarch in your world.

    Interestingly the Bible refers to the 12 sons of Jacob as patriarchs. In addition, David and Abraham are called patriarchs. So it seems that the primary biblical definition is one of head of a family or a people. Extending that concept, is it not possible that every man on this earth has the opportunity to be the beginning of a people. Do we not have the opportunity to lay the groundwork for successive generations?

    Clearly we will all leave a legacy. How we position ourselves for the legacy we'll leave behind will determine whether subsequent generations view us as patriarchs. But I think we have the opportunity to pursue patriarchal standing while still on this earth. We have the opportunity to lead our families well. While it takes years of life and spiritual experiences, the time to prepare yourself for that future position is now, not when you're 60, 70, or 80.

    Looking forward to further dialog …


  3. Requirements for a patriarch –

    A life of experience
    Having been tested
    Have a family
    Exemplifies biblical principles
    Willingness to share his experiences
    Being quietly confidant
    Recognized and affirmed by others as a patriarch


  4. Kevin says:

    Good Bill. I also think, at least from the OT, they are business people primarily. They 'water others' (Abraham > Lot; Jacob > Esau etc). They work hard over a long period of time. Would Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah, Job or Joseph be considered Patriarchs?


  5. Bill Regehr says:

    So it seems that in part we're saying that a patriarch has a wide variety of life experiences from which to share counsel.

    I deduce from this that a patriarch is active throughout his life. His work and family life experiences exemplify integrity, consistency and adaptabiity, and while not infallable he successfully navigates most of the challenges placed before him. He is inclined to take time to talk with the next generation and model thought leadership for them.

    It seems to me that we must exercise great care in how we define success. It seems that spiritual depth combined with a balanced life perspective are as much a measure of success as our typical external measures such as finances or possessions.

    Am I heading in the right direction?


  6. Kevin says:

    I would like to lobby for the inclusion of Paul. Although he probably didn't have a physical family, he had many 'sons in the faith' and seems to qualify on many fronts.


  7. Kevin says:

    also Hebrews says Patriarchs are holy.


  8. billregehr says:

    Reblogged this on View from the Ponderosa and commented:

    This is from 2009 but as true today as it was then.


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