June 6, 2008

Happy Father's Day

There is a fundamental difference in some churches between the sermons we typically hear on Mother's Day and a Father's Day. Moms are usually showered with positive, uplifting praise focused on their value and virtue. For dads, the experience too often amounts to a detailed inventory of their shortcomings, leaving men feeling more like a target than a treasure.
It's time we balance the scale.
1. Every father is significant.
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). God endorses both Mother's Day and Father's Day in this passage, since the heart of these special occasions is the biblical commandment and life-giving principle of honoring.
2. Every father has shortcomings.
"Honoring your father does not require that you ignore his weaknesses and forget about his failures; it means that we deal with them both honestly and biblically. For some family members, Father's Day is difficult because it summons up memories of a father who is absent, abusive... anything but caring and connected. Does God really expect you to honor your father after what he did to you... or didn't do for you? The answer is yes-- and both the quality and quantity of your life depends on it. Remember, the Fifth Commandment is the only one that comes with a motivational promise--"... so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
3. Every father possesses the seeds of success.
Success in fatherhood may mean different things to different people. Here's what it comes down: having my family love God, live for God, and live forever with God. What fathers must do to assure that victory? First, fathers must invest time with their families. The second seed of success is training (Proverbs 22:6). The spiritual training of our children is a responsibility we cannot delegate to a pastor, youth leader or Sunday school teacher, no matter how helpful they may be. Through the values we live out, the example that we set, as well as the words that we speak, our children are depending on us to take the lead in their Christian upbringing. Third, fathers must intercede for their families. The battle for families is ultimately a spiritual one. One can't build an eternally successful family in his own strength; it can only happen through God's power working within him when he prays passionately and persistently.

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