The Legacy of Dad
It’s good to be a man, isn’t it, guys? “Why?” you women may be asking.
(This was supposed to be a “Top Ten List” but I could only think of eight.)
#8: Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
#7: A 5-day holiday requires only one suitcase.
#6: When clicking through the channels, you don’t have to stop at every shot of somebody crying.
#5: Car mechanics tell you the truth.
#4: You can admire a Hollywood star without starving yourself to look like him.
#3: Gray hair and wrinkles only make you look more distinguished.
#2: If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you just might become lifelong buddies.
#1: The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
How many know what day of the year are the most long-distance phone calls are made? Mother’s Day. On Mother’s Day everyone wants to call home and talk to mom.
Guess what happens on Father’s Day? The most collect calls.
That’s ok though--dads like to be needed. It’s all good. What goes around comes around. Just wait till we’re in the retirement home calling YOU collect all the time.
Father’s Day just doesn’t seem to have a very high priority compared to other holidays, does it? Mothers are highly esteemed on Mother’s Day. In church, on Mother’s Day was salute to moms; we give them flowers. But on Father’s Day, all we do is tell the dads what they should be doing instead of what they have been doing right. It was more like a boot camp than a day to honor dads.
So today, dads, this one’s for you…
Father’s hold a very special place in society… A much higher place than they are given credit for today. For instance, how many of you have seen a commercial that makes dads look intelligent lately?
Most commercials cast fathers as the family idiot, who can’t figure out how to take care of the kids alone, how to run a load of laundry or clean the toilets without specific instructions from mom.
American society seems to see fathers as expendable parts of the family unit.
In courtrooms, divorced dads hardly have a fighting chance of obtaining custody of their kids, or even being allowed to be a significant part of their kid’s lives.
Sadly, many men today also neglect to see the importance of their role as a father themselves, which is why the term “dead-beat dad” was originally coined. As a result, their kids are growing up in unbalanced and dysfunctional households. In fact, 39.6 % of the children in America are going to bed every night without their biological father in the home.
Fathers need to be reinstated to the level of importance that God intended for them! In fact, there is strong evidence which points to the fact that the reason American morality and spiritual integrity is at such an all-time low is because of the declining value placed on the role of the father today. When dad is undervalued, so is a right relationship with Abba, our Father in Heaven.
Today, my goal is not to remind our dads of their duties and responsibilities so much as to encourage and remind us all of their importance: the respect and the dignity of the role of a father. Fathers play an extremely important and vital role in our families and in our nation today.
In Colossians chapter 3, the Bible introduces a hierarchical model of authority in the family.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:18-20).
So, in terms of authority, the father is deemed the head of his household, and in 1 Timothy 3:12, he is urged to manage his children and his household in a respectable manner. So, the father is charged with the responsibility of looking after the best interests of his family: financially, spiritually and socially.
When a man becomes a father, he isn’t given an instruction book on how to conduct himself. No one tells a man how to manage his household. It is something he picks up from a few very important sources: First, from the way his own father treated him: how he grew up as a child and interacted with his dad. Second from what he learns from his relationship with God and by the Word of God.
My own father wasn’t the most emotionally demonstrative man in the world, but he was always looking after his family. And while he never had the same tenderness that mom had, he showed his love equally as powerfully to us kids. People so often have the perception that dads don’t love their kids as much as mothers, because they aren’t as emotional or endearing, but fathers have the capacity to love just as much as any other spiritual being. It’s just expressed in different ways.
Instead of a tender hug it was a strong bear hug, but it always felt good to be loved by dad. Dads are just designed by God to express their love in different ways. They express their love when they guard their family and provide good things to their wife and kids.
Since almost 40% of kids grow up without dad at home, we know there must be another source of example for the developing dad, and that’s the example we have in Jesus Christ. The best dads take their example from Jesus Christ and pass the legacy of the Lord on to their family. The legacy of Christ’s love is the greatest gift a father can give, and to be like Jesus in the way we manage our household is the greatest expression of love a dad can give to his family.
When Peter asked the Lord how they were going to pay their taxes, Jesus told him to take a coin from the fish’s mouth, this teaches His people that our Father God is a God of provision.
When He fed the multitude with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, He provided the example of a father who provides all the needs of His family, and He commands dads today to do the same.
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
In the same way, dads have the awesome responsibility of providing for their family. Our egos are wrapped up in our employment. We’re ashamed if we are unemployed. The brunt of the responsibility to provide for the welfare of a family unit rests on the shoulders of the husband.
Dads are always striving to maintain a balance of providing for their family and spending quality time with the family. Scripture teaches us that there must be balance in our lives. Because men are hard wired with the desire to provide for their family and make a good home for their children, there’s a constant struggle to maintain a balance between the giving of our time and the giving of our things.
A man constantly should look to God for direction and example on how to manage his household.
God’s example is that He always provided for His children, but He never replaces the value of spending quality time with His children by giving them things to keep them busy. So, while the provision is there in abundance, our Father God always places the greater emphasis on the time we spend together with Him.
In the same way, a father’s duty to provide for his family shouldn’t overshadow the importance of spending quality time with them either.
A father also expresses his love though discipline.
When Jesus rebuked Peter saying, “Satan, get thee behind me.” He portrayed the power of love through the act of discipline, not wanting Peter to be lost in the old way of thinking.
Discipline is difficult, and it is often received by our children as a bad thing, but it is a primary fruit of fatherly love. Dad must discipline if he loves his children.
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12).
A dad must discipline because he wants the best for his children. The discipline of a father sets the whole course of his family’s life. Children raised in the discipline of a strong and loving father have greater discipline as adults, and disciplined adults make greater contributors to society.
A young man was making poor grades in school, particularly in math. His parents tried various things, none of which seemed to produce the desired improvement. Finally, they decided to enroll him in a Catholic school. At the end of the first grading period, the young man came home and proudly presented his report card to his parents. They were shocked to find that all of his grades had improved significantly. Most noticeably, he had received his first-ever "A" in math.
His parents were overjoyed and began to question him to determine what it was that had finally produced the improvement they had sought. "Was it the non-traditional teaching methods in the private school?" No. "Was it the smaller class sizes and more individual attention?" No. "Well, what WAS it then that caused such a big turn around?" they asked.
"Well," the son replied, "when I walked into that school on the first day and the first thing I saw was that man nailed to that plus sign, I KNEW I’d better take math seriously here."
Discipline is the act of a father urging his kids to live the right way, for the development and growth of his family. In the movie, “Remember the Titans,” the coach pushed those students to the brink of their abilities. Some accused him of trying to ruin them and break their spirits. But by pushing them - he made them stronger. It prepared them for a difficult season of football - and in the end they went undefeated and won the championship because of their discipline.
If he hadn’t pushed them, they never would have pushed themselves. In the same way, a family is made by a father’s discipline. And so, like a coach that pushes his players – the father disciplines and urges his children, to make them stronger.
Dad expresses his love through protection.
A dad places himself in the way of trouble to protect his family. Jesus applied the example of the greatest love possible when He laid down His life to save us, His people. In the same way, a father is charged with the duty of laying down his life, his desires, his personal interests for the sake of his family. My own father worked for the government. I never knew exactly what he did, but from his descriptions, it always sounded tedious and mind-numbing to me. He never had the luxury to choose the career field he wanted to work in, and he used his hard-earned money to help me through college so I could. He put my interests before his own, and I believe that he was proud of the direction I took in life.
Dads are the first line of defense for their family, and are often the first area where Satan attacks, because the enemy knows if you can take the leader out, his subjects are soon to follow.
But the primary gift: expression of love from a dad is the legacy of salvation.
But the great legacy a dad leaves behind is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s true, when a parent dies, their children expect to receive an inheritance. Sometimes that inheritance involves riches and sometimes it doesn’t. But there is no greater inheritance than the legacy a father leaves concerning eternal salvation.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
A dad who loves his family will do his best to lead them in the way of the Lord.
“. . . as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1Thessalonians 2:11-12).
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Dads are extremely important people in our lives. We’re charged with the duties of protecting, providing and interceding for our family’s sakes. We have the power to shape our families and our society by the ways we live every day. We are the first line of defense for our families and are commissioned by God to deliver the Good News of the Gospel message to our families, not just with words, but in the way we live every day… Not just by the way we worship and pray on Sundays, but by the way we worship and praise every day of our lives.