One of the best pictures on the current confusion on the placement of fathers comes from Erma Bombeck. She paints a portrait of a little girl who loved her dad but wasn’t sure what dads do:
One morning my father didn’t get up and go to work. He went to the hospital and died the next day. I hadn’t thought that much about him before. He was just someone who left and came home and seemed glad to see everyone at night. He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go into the basement by himself.
He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures . . . but he was never in them.
Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, “I’m going off to work now,” and threw him under the bed. The funeral was in our living room and a lot of people came and brought all kinds of good food and cakes. We had never had so much company before. I went to my room and felt under the bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed. He never did anything. I didn’t know his leaving would hurt so much.
(Family — The Ties that Bind… and Gag! (New York: Fawcett Books, 1988, p. 2).
We stand on the verge of another Father’s Day, to all our fathers out there, how are you viewed. The portrait of a father in this illustration is of one who was there but never really there. Sometimes there are absent fathers, they could also be fathers that really don’t care. You see, this Father’s Day I want to ask men out there who have children are you a father or are you a dad?
Psalm 103:13 (AMP)
Just as a father loves his children, So the LORD loves those who fear and worship Him [with awe-filled respect and deepest reverence].
There are three aspects I believe that sets a dad apart from a father.
1. Dad the provider
Any man can make a child and become a father, but not all fathers are dads. A dad is someone who will, make sure his family is taken care off, he will put himself last to make sure his family is put first. He will teach and lead his children not only in the value of hard work, but also in the things of God. A dad will discipline and correct, but also encourage and love his family at the same time.
1 Timothy 5:8 (WNT)
But if a man makes no provision for those dependent on him, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is behaving worse than an unbeliever.
Scripture tells us today, that a man needs to make provision, that means they need to provide for the families, for those that are dependent on them. When you are placed in a position as a dad, it becomes an honor to be able to provide for your family. And we need to understand that I am not talking about just physical provision, but dads need to be able to provide for his family’s entire needs.
Let us not be confused with giving your family what they want vs what they need. Many times, we think that when we give our children what they want we are the best dads in the world, and we are providing for them.
But I have learned some things that my dad always did – no matter how difficult life got, not matter what the financial situation was, he always made sure that we as a family were provided for. Working long hours sometimes away from home, his priority was that we were taken care of physically, He understood what it meant to be a dad and did not shirk away from his responsibility as the provider for our family.
In our society today, we have many fathers, but very few dads. Very few fathers want to grow and develop into the role of a dad. We want the title, without the work, we want to be recognized as someone’s father, but play no role in their growth, their success, their advancement in the kingdom.
Not only are we to provide for our children’s physical needs but the bible also tells us that we are to provide for their spiritual needs.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NKJV)
18 “Therefore you shall [h]lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.
How often we think that the responsibility of teaching our children lies on the church, the Sunday School teachers, you could never be more wrong. The responsibility of providing the spiritual needs for your children and teaching them the ways of the Lord, is your responsibility as a dad.
Proverbs & Deuteronomy both speak about training and teaching your own children not some one else’s child about the things of God. You see, our example as dads should be taken from our heavenly father. We should be striving to emulate our father in heaven. Dads, it is your responsibility to teach you children the ways of the Lord, so that when they grow up, they will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 (GW)
Fathers do not make your children bitter about life. Instead, bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction.
2. Dad the leader
Dads, lets understand this today, that we are leaders in our homes, we lead our wives & our children.
The world view of a leader is someone who is in control, someone who has power. But the real meaning of a leader is someone who is in a position to influence and motivate others.Dads, you are in the prime position to be the leader of your family. To lead your family not just in the physical but in the spiritual.
My dad was a spiritual leader, he led us as a family in the things of God, he led us to where we are today, not just in the physical, but in both mine and that of my brother and sisters lives spiritually. Dads are in a position of influence and motivation and that is exactly what my dad was.
My Pastor always tells us as men, leadership starts with you, you need to lead yourself into the things of God, you need to lead yourself to do the will of God, if you cannot lead yourself then you will not be able to lead your family, and you will not be able to lead God’s people.
Men, can we lead ourselves to prayer, to worship, to doing the will of God, to being more and more like Jesus. John Maxwell defines leadership as influence, nothing more, nothing less. Based on this, as men, are we allowing ourselves to have Godly influence over our children and our families.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NLT)
6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I believe there are 3 main characteristics of a dad who is a leader and exhibiting the Godly influence that is needed to lead his family not just physically but spiritually:
- Guided by Gods word – Godly dads, should allow their lives to be dictated to by God’s word. The word of God should be what he uses so that he can instruct, correct and train not just himself but his family in living lives that bring glory to God.
2 Timothy 3:16(NLT)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
- Visionary – As leaders, dads we need have a vision of where we want our families to be, not just in our careers and goals physically, but also our obedience in doing the will of God. Let us have a Goldy vision, God has called each one of you dads not just to father someone, but to take them into their purpose and to be fruitful in the kingdom of God. It is our responsibility as dads to have a Godly vision for our children.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
- Passing the baton – The true measure of a successful leader is his successor.
True leaders don’t invest in buildings. Jesus never built a building. They invest in people. Why? Because success without a successor is failure. So your legacy should not be in buildings, programs, or projects; your legacy must be in people. (Myles Munroe)
Dads, you want to pass on something from generation to generation, listen to me, the best thing you can pass on to you family, your children, is for them to live for Jesus. That is the only thing that will not be destroyed, that will not fall away. It is lives that are totally surrendered to the will and purpose of God. And the only way that would be possible is by the example that you set.
Psalm 78:5-6 (KJV)
5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel,Which he commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born. Who should arise and declare them to their children?
3.Dad the worshipper
Worship is not just one aspect, but its our entire being, its about everything we do for God. The way we live, the way we give, the way we pray, the way we serve. Never underestimate the power and influence a worshipping dad has on his children and family.
I have seen it with my dad – he would take the lead; he would lead by example. And when children and wives see that their dad or their husband is a God-fearing man, a man who will not be ashamed to declare publicly that he serves Jesus Christ, they would follow the lead and example. It all starts with a dad that is willing.
“When only mom takes her sons to church while they’re growing up, approximately 15 percent of boys remain churchgoers after they become adults. However, if dad takes an active role with mom in leading the family to church, the number who continue their spiritual journey increases to somewhere around 75 percent. That’s a significant difference that speaks to the power men have to be spiritual influences on their sons.” – Rick Johnson, Better Dads, Stronger Dads
Dads, let us be worshippers of Jesus Christ, through:
- Family Devotions – Gathering your family together for family devotions, for prayer. This is so crucial, and the foundation for growing up your children in the ways of the Lord.
- Giving – How is your giving today, dad? Not just in finances, but in your time. When we spend more time with God, we influence our families to spend more time with God.
- Prayer – Prayer again is crucial. Not just praying with our families, but also praying for them. Laying hands on them. Praying Gods blessing and favor upon our families, our children. Over and above this how is our prayer life, are we communication with our father in heaven. If you are not communicating with your heavenly father, then what are you actually teaching your children, what are you filling their minds with. It all starts with you coming on your knees in prayer.
- House of God – Dads, do you lead your children and family into the house of God or are they dictating whether they go to church or not. Maybe you don’t even go yourself. The bible says – do not forsake the gathering of the saints. David said in Psalm 122 I was glad when the said unto me, Let us go into the House of the Lord.
Let us be real worshipper, real followers of Jesus Christ, because you have others that are following in your footprints this day,
Joshua said, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. The decision by Joshua to serve the Lord, was one that he made for his family, he decided that in every aspect they would surrender to God, that he would be Lord of their lives and that he would lead his family into the things of God.
Dads, can we lead our families today, can we be real dad’s and not just a father.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (CEV)
You must follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Paul is telling the church in Corinth, to follow his example, to follow in his ways, his footsteps, because he is following and imitating the example of Jesus Christ. You see dads, our children and families today can only follow us into the things of God, and into his will and plan and purpose for us, if we as dads as the head of our homes are following and imitating Jesus Christ.
Dads, whose footprints are you following in? Because someone is following in yours!!!
Fee free to comment or share a testimony