Honoring Faithful Fathers

Happy “Father’s Day”!

The first Father’s Day may have been celebrated in the state of Washington on June 19, 1910.  A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd thought of honoring and celebrating her father while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in a church service a year earlier.  She felt that mothers were getting all the acclaim, while fathers equally deserved a day of praise.

By the time you read this blog post, you may have already enjoyed a meaningful day celebrating fatherhood with members of your family … if not in person, then maybe via a phone call, FaceTime, or Skype.

I love this photo of our “family dogpile” … circa 1989!  It vividly reminds me that the Bible has a lot to say to fathers (and mothers) about the importance of passing along to the next generation a legacy of belief and trust in God.

Moses reminded the Israelites on the eve of their entrance into the Promised Land …

  • “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”  (Deuteronomy 6:4–9).

Notice WHY Moses repeats this instruction …

  • “so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged”  (6:2).

Ethan the Ezrahite, whose wisdom was exceeded only by King Solomon (1 Kings 4:31), expressed a similar sentiment in song …

  • “I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.”  (Psalm 89:1)

Solomon himself wrote of the long–term benefits of fatherhood …

  • “A righteous man who walks with integrity – How blessed are his children after him.”  (Proverbs 20:7)

The apostle Paul coupled these recurring themes in his final correspondence to his young mentee, Timothy …

  • “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you”  (2 Timothy 1:5–6a)
  • “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”  (2 Timothy 2:1–2)

Notice the four “generations” listed here: Paul … to Timothy … to faithful men … to others also.

Among the long list of things I learned as an undergrad Christian Education major at Biola University back in the early 1970’s, the following adage stands at the top …

“It’s more caught than taught.”

Jesus illustrated this principle in action, then compared it to how our heavenly Father relates to us …

  • “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven good things to those who ask Him!”  (Matthew 7:9–11)

With a passion for “equipping & mobilizing men to follow Jesus” my prayer is that we grow daily in grace and Christ–likeness, so that our children and grandchildren will mimic us, too.

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children walking in truth.”  (3 John 1:4)

Peace & Joy!

~ tr

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