Job 1:1 says that Job “was perfect and upright.” Perhaps part of that is due to his exemplary parenting as shown in Job1:4-5: “And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
I see six aspects of Job as a father that are worthy of emulation here:
- He “sanctified” his children, which probably means he performed priesthood ordinances directly for them.
- He “rose up early in the morning,” showing his commitment to sacrifice his comfort and serve his children seriously. This appears to be a formulaic commandment to disciples to prepare them and for them to show their devotion to the Lord in the scriptures (see for example Exodus 8:20 and 1 Samuel 29:10).
- He offered burnt offerings for them, another example of his gospel-oriented labor for them.
- He offered those sacrifices for all of them–there were no favorites and no empty chairs.
- Job said that he did these things because they might have sinned. This was preventive maintenance. No matter what their actual spiritual status may have been, Job wrestled spiritually for them as much as he could so that they might have all the blessings they might receive, for when they might need it.
- And Job did these things “continually.” He didn’t let discouragement get to him, he didn’t let his own trials slow him down, and he never, ever gave up.
When I find verses of scripture that I really like, I’ve started looking them up on BYU’s excellent “Scriptural Index to the Latter-day Prophets,” where they show each instance of every verse of scripture being quoted in official teachings by church leaders, from Joseph Smith and other 19th century leaders in the Journal of Discourses, to more recent leaders in General Conference. Strangely, Job 1:5 seems to have never been referenced in a major teaching setting.
I hope that other parents will see counsel and comfort in this verse in the future.