Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. Yee-haw!
That means we get to sleep in, not shave, get in a round of golf, and basically have our family wait on us hand-and-foot all day - right? We get full control over the remote to watch whatever we want to on TV; we don’t have to do any yard work; and we certainly don’t have to get all dressed up and go to church - right? It’s supposed to be all about us and what we want to do for an entire day - right?

The world seems to think that Homer Simpson is the model of fatherhood today. Watch just about any TV show or observe the myriad of commercials depicting men and you will see men and fathers shown as idiots, buffoons, scapegoats, and clueless losers. Or go shop for a Father’s Day card – it appears fathers are best known for passing gas, drinking beer, and being lazy good-for-nothings. You can dismiss these characterizations as humorous marketing or entertainment devices, but that would be naïve and shortsighted. Our children see these images over and over and over and they begin to lose all respect for males in our culture – principals, policemen, pastors, . . . fathers.
So, our children begin to look to their mothers to fill roles they were never intended to fill because men have been relegated to the functions of earning money and being a laughingstock. And when the children realize that perhaps Mom can’t fill all those roles, they begin looking elsewhere for what is missing. That goes from bad to worse.

Well, guys – being a “father” isn’t about reproducing offspring; with the advances in technology today, “fathering” a child can be reduced to minimal involvement of the male human being. Being a “father” is not a status symbol or reward. And it doesn’t come with many privileges and perks.
Being a father is about commitment. It’s a challenge. It’s a calling.
Whether you are the CEO of a major corporation or the lowest man on the totem pole at work, whether you lead hundreds of employees or follow others’ directions as an employee, as a man you are the spiritual leader of your household and as a father you have been entrusted with the spiritual development of your little ones by God Almighty.
As a father, you have a job to do that has eternal ramifications. How are you doing at it? Are you getting it done or are you leaving it to someone else?
You aren’t excused from your responsibilities by getting your children enrolled in VBS so some nice “church lady” can present the gospel to them. Dropping your teenagers off at "youth group" to hear loud, rocking “praise” music doesn’t cut it either.
The Bible gives this admonition about your spiritual leadership: Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, MSG, emphasis added)

I don’t intend this to be a brutal beating or a guilt trip for fathers. But what I do want to do is to suggest that in your quest to be the spiritual leader of your household and to be a godly father, do not “take off” for Father’s Day – don’t let the Hallmark Greeting Card Company determine what Father’s Day is supposed to be like. No, use Father’s Day as a platform to display what a godly father is supposed to look like; model manhood and fatherhood from God’s perspective for your family and for the world to see.
If you want to spend a day on the golf course, or relaxing in a hammock, or riding a jet ski at the lake, or hanging out at Bass Pro Shop - do it on another day, not on Father’s Day. Instead, use Father’s Day to show your family that you put them before yourself (and their comfort before yours), that you take your responsibility as spiritual leader seriously, and that our Father in heaven is the only One you want to get all of the attention and praise.
On Father’s Day, don’t just be a man – be a godly man. Don’t be just the kind of father the world expects – be the kind of father God expects you to be.

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