Father’s Day 2018
1 Timothy 5: 8; Ephesians 6: 1-4; 1 Corinthians 11: 1
ILL. – Mark Twain said, “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man learned in 7 years.”
ILL. – A comedian/entertainer once wrote, “Now that my father is a grandfather he just can’t wait to give money to my kids. But when I was a kid and I asked him for 50 cents, he would tell me the story of his life. How he got up at 5 a.m. when he was 7-years-old and walked 23 miles to milk 90 cows. And the farmer for whom he worked had no bucket, so he had to squirt the milk into his little hand and then walk 8 miles to the nearest can. All for 5 cents. The result was…I never got my 50 cents.
“But now he tells my children every time he comes into the house, ’Well, let’s see how much money old Granddad has for his wonderful grandkids.’ And the minute they take money out of his hands I call them over to me and I snatch it away from them. BECAUSE THAT IS MY MONEY.”
So this past Mother’s Day I asked you to share some things your moms said over the years to you… “Mom sayings, in other words.” Now I didn’t do the same exercise for Father’s Day, however, most of you will probably connect with some of these dad sayings. In fact, you could probably finish some of these sentences:
– This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
– Quiet. I’m watching the ball game.
– Don’t forget to check the oil.
– Bring back all the change.
– How should I know? Go ask your mother.
– I’m not made out of money!
– When I was your age I walked 5 miles to and from school each day and it was uphill both ways.
– You are going and you will have fun!
– Who’s paying the bills around here, anyway?
– Don’t put your feet on the furniture. Your mother will kill you.
– Get down before you kill yourself. On second thought, go ahead.
– Quit playing with your food.
– Be quiet! Can’t you see I’m trying to think!
– Why? Because I said so!
– If you don’t quit that I’m going to call your mother.
– You better get that junk picked up before your mother comes in here.
– Just wait till you have kids of your own.
– I’m not asleep. I’m just resting my eyes.
But seriously, it’s not always easy being a father/parent.
ILL.- Someone once said, “Parents spend the first part of a child’s life urging him to talk and walk, and the rest of his childhood telling him to sit down and keep quiet.”
ILL.- One father said to his teenage son, “Do you mind if I use the car tonight? I’m taking your mother out to eat and I would like to impress her.”
ILL.- Father said to his daughter, “What’s wrong, Judy? Usually you talk on the phone for hours. This time you only talked for 30 minutes. How come?”
Judy replied, “It was the wrong number.”
ILL.- A letter from a college student to his parents read, “Please send food packages! All they serve here is breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Can you imagine what it must be like to be our Heavenly Father? Despite our fallenness, disobedience, lack of understanding, pride and the list goes on, He still loves us. He provides for us, He instructs us and He is an example to us. He is a perfect Father, who loves perfectly!
Are our earthly fathers perfect? Not even close.
Do they mistakes? Most certainly.
But there are a lot of fathers out there that like our heavenly father, have provided materially, instructed helpfully, and, illustrated in a godly way.
So if you are a dad here today, or may be a dad someday…these characteristics…
…are significant ways that you have impacted your children to this point, or will impact the life of your children in the future.
Maybe your dad wasn’t able to supply you with all these things, but this is your chance to impact your children in these ways.
So first, we say to our dads:
(On Screen) 1 Tim. 5:8 “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Wow! That’s powerful. If a father does not provide materially for his family (food, clothing, shelter) then he has denied the faith of Christ and is worse than unbelievers.
Why would such a father be worse than unbelievers? BECAUSE EVEN UNBELIEVERS PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES!
My dad turned 81 last fall and to this day he is still a hard worker. Of course, he has slowed down some but continues to do lots of things (including riding his Gold Wing). For most of my childhood, my dad worked two jobs to support our family. We didn’t have tons of things, but I never ever remember not having food to eat or clothes to wear.
My dad worked very hard to provide for his family and for that I will be forever grateful.
Your dad may or may not be in your life right now, but I think it is still appropriate for us to honor our fathers as the Word tells us to do…and to thank them for whatever they have been able to provide for us.
Sometimes provision also provides teaching moments.
Growing up in a farming community and farming family, I was introduced to hard work at an early age. One of the lessons my dad taught me was to always put forth your best effort and if you do, no matter what the results, you knew you could always say you did your best. No one could take that away from you.
That was sometimes a hard pill to swallow when I was on a tractor on a Saturday afternoon and most of my friends were in town hanging out. I have to admit that sometimes I felt like farmhand and not a son.
I never received an allowance of any kind while growing up, but when I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, my dad surprised me by giving me, what was then, the family car. It was a thank you for all the work I had put in on the farm all those years.
So dads, thanks for providing material things for us, but also providing good lessons in the process. And Dads, it is true that we sometimes provide for our children by giving them things. But other times we provide for them by allowing them to earn those things.
So thanks dads for your provision and…
(On Screen) Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
CEV (Contemporary English Version) “Parents, don’t be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord.”
LB “Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves.”
Fathers do instruct their children about many things. I remember instructing our kids over the years in various things.
When I dropped them off at school, instead of saying have a good day, I would say: Have a day and put some good in it.
What was I saying to them? What you put into your day will have a direct result in how good it will be. And make a difference in the lives of other people.
Marti and I have told them over and over to choose their friends wisely.
Why did we say that? Because we knew/know that choice of friends will have long lasting impact. I remember our kids having various friends and whenever they would come home from spending time with certain friends, their attitudes were not always be so good.
And like a lot of parents we would say something like: I don’t care if everybody’s doing it, you’re not going to.”
What were saying? Be your own person. Don’t go with the crowd…especially if the crowd is going the wrong way!
But I hope I/we spoke these things lovingly.
The Ephesian’s passage tells parents not to exasperate their children…
The original greek word means to “stir up.” Dad’s don’t stir up your kids…instruct them but do so lovingly.
ILL.- A man by the name of Jim Burton said these words about being a father. “When I was young, baseball was my life. You can imagine the excitement I felt when my oldest son began playing. This game would be one of our main bonding mechanisms. If my son would just listen, I could help him be a great baseball player. Learning to read curve balls, shift his body weight with the swing, steal bases, turn double plays – these things separate the amateurs from the pros.”
Burton said, “A pattern developed in our relationship. Because of my familiarity with the game, I saw every mistake my son made. In addition, I knew how to correct them.
“So post-game drives home became a critique of how to improve his game. It soon got old for my son. One night he finally said, ’DAD, COULD YOU NOT START BY TELLING ME EVERYTHING I DID WRONG. TELL ME WHAT I DID RIGHT FIRST.’”
Now faithful instruction is important, but we have to be careful how we deliver it. All criticism and no praise is not good.
As a dad…ARE YOU A COACH OR A CRITIC?
ILL.- Here is the sad confession of one father. “I took my children to school but not to church. I taught them to drink but not of the living water. I enrolled them in Little League but not Sunday School. I showed them how to fish but not to be fisher of men. I made the Lord’s Day a holiday, rather than a holy day.”
“I taught them the church was full of hypocrites and made the greater hypocrite of them and me.
“I gave them a color TV but provided no Bible. I handed them the keys to the car but did not give to them the keys of the kingdom of God. I taught them how to make a living but failed to bring them to Christ who alone can make a life.”
May we be thankful for the faithful instruction our father’s gave us…for all the good advice…and especially, if that instruction included the Lord!
So dads, thanks for material provision and faithful instruction. We also say…
By this, I mean a godly illustration for life. Or a godly example for life.
(On Screen) In 1 Cor. 11:1 Paul said to the Corinthians who were his children in the faith, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Please notice: Paul didn’t say, “Do everything I do.” He said, “Do everything I do which is Christ like.” Or follow the example of Christ. Paul wasn’t perfect and neither are we.
Church, there are some things that I have done in life that I do not want my children to do. I’m sorry when I have given them a bad example. I haven’t always shown patience and I know I have stirred them up a time or two.
But occasionally I have attempted to do some good things, some godly things, some Christ like things, which I hope they will copy from my life.
ILL.- I love the story of this father and the example he set for his children: One man said of his father, “Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were 8 children, all probably under the age of 12. You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money. Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean.
“The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants, and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to a circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be.
“The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, ’You’re my knight in shining armor.’ He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her.
“The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted. He proudly said, ’Please, let me buy 8 children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.’ THE TICKET LADY QUOTED THE PRICE. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped and the man’s lip began to quiver. The father leaned a little closer and asked, ’HOW MUCH DID YOU SAY?’ The ticket lady again quoted the price.
“The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his 8 kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus? Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground. (And we were not wealthy in any sense of the word) My father reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, ’EXCUSE ME, SIR, I BELIEVE THIS FELL OUT OF YOUR POCKET.’
“The man knew what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eye, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with quivering lips and a tear streaming down his cheek, replied, ’THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THIS REALLY MEANS A LOT TO ME AND MY FAMILY.’”
The man telling the story about his father, said, “My father and I went back to our car and drove home. We didn’t go to the circus that night, but we didn’t go without.”
Again, there is no earthly father that is perfect. In fact, you may have a father that is not very involved in your life…or never was. But we still do well to honor our fathers for whatever they could give us that added value to our lives.
Illus. – The story of “I Can Only Imagine”
Growing up in Greenville, Texas, Bart Millard suffers physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, Arthur. When Arthur becomes terminally ill, he finds redemption by embracing his faith and rediscovering his love for his son. Years later, Bart’s troubled childhood and mended relationship with his dad inspires him to write the hit song “I Can Only Imagine” as singer of the Christian band Mercy Me.
I want to conclude with something I found called: A letter to Dad.
If your father is still living maybe this is something you could share with him. If not, maybe take the time write a letter to him that connects your heart to his even though he is not here.
Conclusion: A Letter to Dad
ILL.- A LETTER TO DAD (Need Slide)
There are so many things I’d like
To tell you face to face;
I either lack the words or fail
To find the time and place.
But in this special letter, Dad,
You’ll find, at least in part,
The feelings that the passing years
Have left within my heart.
The memories of childhood days
And all that you have done,
To make our home a happy place
And growing up such fun!
I still recall the walks we took,
The games we often played;
Those confidential chats we had
While resting in the shade.
This letter comes to thank you, and,
For needed words of praise;
The counsel and the guidance, too,
That shaped my grown-up days.
No words of mine can tell you, Dad,
The things I really feel;
But you must know my love for you
Is lasting, warm and real.
You made my world a better place,
And through the coming years;
I’ll keep these memories of you
As cherished souvenirs. …