I read a statistic, in an old periodical, that may be out dated, but it still serves a point. I’m sure it’s from the days before cell phones, when all we had was land lines. More long distance calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day. But on Father’s Day the most collect calls are made. It seems that children still depend on their fathers to provide, even when they are far away from home.
Fathers are needed and wanted for much more that financial help. Let’s take a look at 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, …as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. While this passage is primarily directed toward church leaders, Paul talks about how their role is similar to a father’s.
How did I get here today—talking about fathers and it’s not even Father’s Day? Well, two weeks ago I had a question about what a friend wrote on his Facebook leadership page. I would like to read a part of our conversation. In response to his post, I said, I try to read them all, I don’t think of myself as a great leader but I do think I’m teachable.
He replied, “Look at the sons you have raised – I consider that great leadership.”
Then I said, I wish it translated in to Pastoring with greater numerical success.
He replied, “that is the emotional trick every leader must face – we all have an arena in which we wish it worked on a greater scale – but let me flip your sentence to the guy with a big church but a failed family – “Yeah, I just wish it translated into being a successful father and husband.” Tim, I will take your dilemma any day – be encouraged. Maybe your assignment in this life was to bear a son(s) that will exceed any expectations you had for yourself.”
I then said, That has been what motivates me, that my children turn out better than me in every area of life. But then that is our philosophy in ministry, helping people get and do better. The down side to success in that type of ministry is that people get stronger and then fly off.
He replied, “But remember, they had that same problem in the book of Acts.”
I ended the conversation with, “I guess it’s a good problem then.”
So any way, this week in my study for this week’s sermon, God led me here to 1 Thessalonians where Paul stated, “You know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children…”
Exhorted is “to try to influence (someone) by words or advice : to strongly urge (someone) to do something” It is easy for fathers to think that all that’s required of them is to bring home a paycheck. But children need their close encouragement, to do what’s right, to make good decisions.
The word comforted is “to give strength and hope; to ease the grief or trouble; to console.” Nothing is more valuable to a child than the time given by a father to listen and talk. Without constant relating, relationships turn cold. Sometimes they just need a hug, and sometimes a swat on the fanny and then a hug.
Charged is “to affirm, to give a job or responsibility to a person or group.” Fathers challenge their children by affirming the truth of God’s Word as they live it out in front of them. And even in failings, they affirm what is right through asking forgiveness.
As a pastor and a father, I try not to tell you or my kids what to do. My goal is to give you good information—to the best of my ability. Then comes the tough part, I try to support you in your decision—even if I don’t like them.
How thankful we can be for the fathers (not only earthly fathers, but our Heavenly Father) who help us as their children walk worthy of God.
Good fathers reflect the heavenly Father.