Fathers' Day - June 17

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 - "A Word for Christian Fathers"

You are familiar with the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy's marriage was a saga of bitterness. His wife carped and complained and clung to her grudges until he could not bear the sight of her. When they had been married almost a half a century, sometimes she would implore him to read to her the exquisite, poignant love passages that he had written about her in his diary forty-eight years previously, when they were both madly in love with each other. As he read of the happy days that were now gone forever, they both wept bitterly.

Is there anything sadder than to look back over a lifetime of neglected opportunities--wasted years when love could and should have been nurtured--and regret that you "blew it?" Some of you know what I am talking about.

This is Father's Day. Dads don't get the respect that they used to. Remember "Father Knows Best"? For many fathers, those were the good old days. A few years ago, a college professor conducted a careful, two year study that asked children aged four to six: "Which do you like better, TV or Daddy?"

Forty-six percent of the youngsters indicated that they preferred television...

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 Truths for Dads

Especially for Father's Day, here is a short list of things that I believe to be true for dads:

That the best way to love our children is to love and respect their mother,

That the best gift we can give our children is a sense of safety and security as they grow up.

I believe that it's more important to give them our time, not our money, it's more important to be respected by them than to be liked by them, it's more important to encourage them in their interests than to require them to share our interests. That means, dads, that if you were a fullback but your son loves the violin, you better learn to love the violin!

And I believe that our responsibility reaches beyond caring for our own children, and Jesus expects us to care for all children, everywhere.

It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said "The true test of a society is how it cares for its children." Taken to its logical extension, it means that we cannot just be proud that OUR kids received a great education when other children receive a poor education. We cannot be satisfied that our children get fully nutritious meals when some children go to be hungry at night. We can be proud that our child has a spacious bedroom, but shouldn't we also be concerned that 4400 children are homeless in our state alone?

Steven Molin, Yup, Them are Mustard Seeds
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Nourishing Seeds


When I was a child, life was not easy. My dad worked two jobs to try and support my mom and me so that we could buy a home, have nice clothes and enough to eat. He wasn't home very much, and when he was home he was usually sleeping because he was so tired. I never really got to spend any time with my dad until I was grown up.

My mom worked hard, too. She didn't have a job but she was always busy cleaning and cooking, and when I was six years old my mother had a baby and another arrived thirteen months later. Then she was incredibly busy and didn't have much time left over for me. I felt pretty lonely.

One day I went for a walk, by myself as usual, and I went by the church. In those days the church rectory was next door to the church and as I passed by I saw my minister out in the yard digging. I walked over to him to say "hello" and he put down his shovel, sat down in the grass and began talking to me. He didn't talk at me, he didn't give me a sermon, he just sat with me and listened to me talk. He asked me all about school and my life in general. We must have sat and talked like that for at least an hour. He did not know it, but those few moments with him changed me. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was special. I felt worthy of having someone listen to me, I felt treasured and cared about. My minister had no idea how much those few moments meant to me. But that day so long ago, he had planted a seed within me. It didn't sprout up overnight, but it grew, gradually, into a sense of being called to ministry.

Betty Long, Nourishing Seeds

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Humor: The Losing Side


I like the story about the ten-year-old boy who answered the doorbell at his home one day. When he opened it, there stood a strange man on the porch. The man said, "Son, you don't know me, do you?" The young man said, no, he did not. The man replied, "Well, I am your uncle on your father's side." To which the young fellow replied, "Well, I am glad to meet you, but you are certainly on the losing side."

King Duncan, Collected Sermons, Sermons.com

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A Great Dad

One of the greatest preachers and pastors who ever lived was Dwight L. Moody. He was a man of uncompromising principle, but he was also a great dad. His son Willie reported that it was not unusual for Dwight L. Moody to come to one of his children lying in bed late at night and say something like this, "Are you awake? I can't go to sleep till I talk to you. I'm sorry I lost my temper." As a teenager Willie wrote this tribute to his famous father:

"Other kids tell me they cannot go to their dads and just talk and hope to be understood; they say they can't because their dads are 'always right' and they are 'always wrong'. They can't talk to their dads the way I can talk t you. I could always talk to you. You always understood. There was nothing I could not tell you."

Of course Willie is describing here a father who has more than mere time. He also has tenderness and a willingness to admit it when he has made a mistake: but simply taking time is the first step along the journey to successful parenting.

King Duncan, Collected Sermons, Sermons.com

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The Patience of a Father


I remember reading about a guy who stopped in the grocery store on the way home from work to pick up a couple of items for his wife. He wandered around aimlessly for a while searching out the needed groceries. As is often the case in the grocery store, he kept passing this same shopper in almost every aisle. It was another father trying to shop with a totally uncooperative three year old boy in the cart.


The first time they passed, the three year old was asking over and over for a candy bar. Our observer couldn't hear the entire conversation. He just heard Dad say, "Now, Billy, this won't take long." As they passed in the nest aisle, the 3-year-old's pleas had increased several octaves. Now Dad was quietly saying, "Billy, just calm down. We will be done in a minute."


When they passed near the dairy case, the kid was screaming uncontrollably. Dad was still keeping his cool. In a very low voice he was saying, "Billy, settle down. We are almost out of here." The Dad and his son reached the check out counter just ahead of our observer. He still gave no evidence of losing control. The boy was screaming and kicking. Dad was very calmly saying over and over, "Billy, we will be in the car in just a minute and then everything will be OK."


The bystander was impressed beyond words. After paying for his groceries, he hurried to catch up with this amazing example of patience and self-control just in time to hear him say again, "Billy, we're done. It's going to be OK." He tapped the patient father on the shoulder and said, "Sir, I couldn't help but watch how you handled little Billy. You were amazing."


Dad replied, "His name is Wesley. I'm Billy!"


Roger W. Thomas, A Father's Faith

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Priorities


A first-grader asked his mother why his Dad brought home a briefcase full of material each night. She explained that he had so much work to do that he couldn't get it all done at the office. The youngster pondered this soberly, then asked, "Well, why don't they put him in a slower group."


Parents, remember this. If you can't say no to some claims, your life will drip away like a leaky faucet. You won't make much of a splash anywhere.


Bill Bouknight, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com

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What Are You Passing On?


At the first church that I pastored, I had the job of mixing feed to supplement my income. For a period of about two weeks, each day that I came home from work, my two boys, ages 2 and 3 would look at me, smile, and would say, "Boy, dad, you sure are dusty!" I would reply, "Yes, I sure am dusty." Then I would get cleaned up.


I didn't think too much of this until I was washing my car and saw my oldest son doing something very strange. He was picking up the gravel and stones that were in our drive and rubbing them into his pants. I asked him, "What are you doing?" He replied, "I want to be dusty like you dad!"


I realized that if a child would look up to his father for being dusty and want to copy his father, a child could look up to his father and follow him for anything. What are you passing on to your son?

Jerry L. Steen
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Don't Eat the Forbidden Fruit


Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence didn't extend to God's kids. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was:


"Don't."

"Don't what?" Adam replied

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said.

"Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit?

Hey Eve! We got forbidden fruit!"

"No way!"

"Yes way!"

"DON'T EAT THAT FRUIT!" Said God.

"Why?"

"Because I am your Father and I said so!" said God, wondering why he hadn't stopped after making elephants...