It seems like special days have become so numerous it’s getting ridiculous – national this day, national that week – I’ve lost track. But today is Father’s Day. It doesn’t hurt to have one day a year set aside as a reminder to be thankful for our fathers. So, to my dad, Happy Father’s Day! To my daughters, I’m so glad to be your dad. To all the others guys I know in this world who have kids or influence kids, Happy Father’s Day!
This scripture seems to fit really well today: Eph: 6:1-4
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Children should obey their fathers – this is what is right. The Bible makes no apologies for declaring right and wrong. And our world could use a little bit of this decisiveness. Children should obey their parents because it is right. In our culture, it seems difficult for parents to correct their children. It seems like the role of parent has been watered down. Dads need to help children obey, learn and grow. Teach them what is right. Teach them to listen. Model obedience.
Honor your father and mother is the fourth commandment, but the first that comes with a promise. If you do honor them, things will go well with you and you will live a long life on the earth. I guess honor works both ways. As we honor others, we in turn are honored. When we respect our fathers, they in turn respect us. And as we live lives with honor toward our mothers and fathers, God promises that things will go with us. We need to honor our fathers, give respect, and lead a quality life as a gift to them. Honor is experienced as a child and it becomes understood as an adult.
The final part of this verse calls on fathers not to exasperate their children, but to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. It’s the job of every Christian dad to help train and instruct their children in the ways of the Lord. Instructors don’t have it all together and they are not perfect. But they are learning. As we are learning, we are teaching. If you are a dad to someone under 18, it’s not too late to teach and instruct. Model for them what it means to be a believer. Go to church. Love your family. Pray. Study Scripture. Have you ever thought about the responsibility you have for training and instruction in spiritual things? It’s the most important job you have, and you can’t leave it to someone else.
For those fathers who may have kids over they age of 18, you’re still – and always will be – their dad. For better or worse, you’re the only one they have. Speak into their lives strongly and lovingly. Pray for them. Encourage them. instruct them and model for them – generosity, hospitality, flexibility, leadership and learning. Don’t think about past failures – everyone has them. And don’t give up. Your gift to your children now is time for them. Be open and ready to model the grace, patience, forgiveness and discipline that our heavenly father gives to us.
I know some may only remember bad experiences with their dads. I know others may have really fond thoughts about their dads. Some may only remember fun things. Some people may only remember serious things. Some hardly remember anything. Most of us remember a little bit of everything.
My prayer for my kids is that they remember the right things. Lord, help it to be so.
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