Two kinds of fathers are there.
The one Heavenly, the other earthly.
The Lord of Glory, the Carpenter of Nazareth said:
“I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE.”
What a claim. Blasphemy by a human being if it were not true. But they were ONE, and the carpenter from Nazareth told us in unequivocal terms that the CREATOR OF THIS UNIVERSE AND OUR EARTH was indeed among so many other things a:
To Him and to us. For otherwise, this Creator would be completely unknown, incapable of being known by us, but HE is. And, the Supreme Creator loves us and cares for us. To me that is a thought incomprehensible were it not for:
Our Lord Jesus Christ took something remote, obscure and unfathomable and made it known, personal, deeply meaningful and loving so that we, the creatures of His creation, could understand who we are, why we are, and what we should believe.
We are to understand and believe said Jesus, that there is for us an ETERNAL FATHER and not merely a cosmic Creator. We are known as individuals, as sons and daughters by this Father, and we are not mere specks in the universe or dust in the wind. We have meaning. We are in fact SONS AND DAUGHTERS of this Father having claimed our inheritance as such through the SON Jesus Christ. Hard to comprehend but true.
We are also told that God the Father is love. GOD IS LOVE, and that love is the essence of God and so available to us. Love is the greatest says the Scriptures, more so than faith and hope, and to know that God is love incarnate is just incredible.
And we who are fathers should love the very same way. Even as the eternal Father loves us, so should we love our children. If a Heavenly Father loves unconditionally, so an earthly father should do the same, love the child unconditionally. The highest attributes of any earthly father are the embracing, heartfelt and unconditional loving openness to the child even as the Father loves the child:
LOVE NEVER FAILS
But there is another side of love from our Heavenly Father, a TOUGH LOVE. That is, love at work which is ready to:
Love may indeed be meek, warm, gentle and forgiving, kind and open and it should be. But love must also be tough, demanding, disciplined and concerned for all things which are:
For there are indeed prodigal sons and daughters who go astray. As such, they honor not the Heavenly Father nor the earthly. Discipline is required, firm and straight. The rod was used in the old days to accomplish discipline and to carryout punishment. But that has been taken away. Discipline today is more on the order of depriving the child of opportunities and pleasures or requiring the child to make up for the wrong and do what is right. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. But fathers can not SPARE THE ROD however the rod is determined for that is a fatherly duty. No child can grow without discipline for there is nothing worse for a father than a child spoiled and bent upon his own way. Demanding standards, the terms and conditions of sonship, are a father’s duty which can not be delegated or ignored. And the Scriptures make it perfectly clear:
WHOM THE FATHER LOVES HE CHASTENS
Chastening is real love at work. BY THEIR FRUITS, LOVING DISCIPLINE AT WORK, YE SHALL KNOW THE FATHER AND WHO THE FATHER TRULY IS.
The integrity of the father is critical. Dads must do what they say and dads must say what they mean. The father must live by the same standards he requires of the child. The father must be consistent in character, live a life with values and without hypocrisy. Nothing is harder for a child to accept than lectures about right and wrong from a father who lives by neither. So that, a father does not have to explain or justify the demands. The father does not have to negotiate with the child and in the course of discipline ask the child if it is OK.
For it matters not if the child agrees with the father. If a child respects a loving father, that is all that is required. So many families seem to have so little respect for each other and rapidly become dysfunctional. But a true father, a real father is head of household. He is the one in charge, so say the Scriptures, kind, loving, considerate and respectful of all including and especially the wife-mother, but head of the household nonetheless. Discharging all of those functions gives the father the right to discipline and demand. But again, the father has earned that right by the way he lives. When the son is old and ready for his own life, the ways of the father will be his and the son in turn will perpetuate, carryon those values for his family.
It is so very important for the father to incorporate the son into his life. To train up the child is to involve the child in the life, the career, the work of the father. So many sons carry on, inherit and follow the father. Father and son, or daughter, work together, learn together and the father teaches in practical ways. What the father holds dear and in which he has invested his life becomes part of the child, a very practical and worthy training for the child. The child can learn the way of business, work, industry so that like father, the child can be:
A WORK MAN OR WOMAN WORTHY OF HIS HIRE
That kind of fatherly guidance is so very important and it is the duty of the father to invest the time and effort to train up the child in that way.
And so with hobbies, and fun. There are games, trips, sports, theater, dining and all manners of wonderful vacation which must be shared by father and child. Life is difficult and even as there are the demands of work, there must be the pleasures of play. To laugh and cry together. To enjoy the joys of this world as God has indicated is our right. Lasting moments are created in fun and play.
Father and child are intimate, or should be. Their dialogue, their caring for each other should be totally open, transparent. Nothing should be hidden. The child should have the confidence and the trust in father to openly reveal, discuss hurts, ask questions, confess doubt, challenge beliefs and otherwise make certain that the father fully understands precisely who the child is. For the child develops independently and individually, a special and unique creation by God, and not merely as the earthly father would have him be. The answers to questions should come first from the father, not from peers or school but from DAD. The son should want to talk to father first and be assured that he knows what the father thinks. They can not always agree but father and son can always be open and honest with each other. That seems so lacking today. There is little communication, virtually no dialogue. Father’s preach and lecture but seldom practice one of the most important attributes of good fathering:
Really listening. Patiently allowing the child to open the heart, to question, to express love and anger and to know as a child the father will listen and respect. That more than anything builds character and confidence in the child. Fathers are friends and confidants. The father in the mind of the child is the first GO-TO.
If not, the child seeks FATHER SURROGATES and substitutes. Today’s education can often occur without traditional moral values or the standards of old. No third party education is a substitute for a father’s education. Children who are fatherless in actuality or spiritually seek comfort, guidance and acceptance from their peers which can often be secular and even with immoral influences. They are ready to learn and adapt, to be accepted in so many ways different from what the father might believe or want for the child. The conduct of the child can then become permissive, even unlawful as standards or morality are worn down and compromised. That fatherless child goes a different way and the father has forsaken the most important duty of fatherhood, training up that child. If you have a child, if you are a biological father, then you must, YOU MUST be a spiritual, loving father as God would have it. Don’t send a child to church. Take him. Worship with him. Love together the Lord of Glory. Study Scripture and pray, together. Talk about spiritual things for the child is even more interested in what the father thinks and believes than perhaps a pastor.
Take time for the child’s life, school events, sports. Be there, lovingly and with respect for the child growing to adult. Nothing means more than a father BEING THERE. That child is YOU, dad. You can not ignore or deny YOU. The child wants YOU more than anything else. There came to you that little bundle of joy, your very own son, your very own daughter, YOU IN EVERY WAY! You are privileged to be a father of that child and he or she should be a clear priority, a first priority. There will never be better earthly love, nothing comes close, than the love of a father for his child. However strong the bond, and even if the father-child bond is broken, in some deep primal way, love is always there, or at least the hope of that love. There is no child, or father however old or hardened who does not feel that way. What a joy, what a privilege to be a father.
Even as an adult, well-educated, perhaps successful, father himself, a son will always seek out a father, for fellowship, for advice, for comfort and caring, and for love. That never changes. Even in death, he the father being dead yet speaketh. All he was and all they were together lives on, it is eternal even as the love of God is eternal. The words, the deeds, the loving deeds will never be forgotten. The understanding, the trust and the respect between father and child will never die.
Perhaps a father’s proudest moment is when the child, adult and ready, leaves the father and becomes his own man. That is a biblical requirement, and at that time, the father should be proud, very proud of the INVESTMENT he has made in the child. For a father can think back, reminisce and remember all of those things which forged the bond, the training, the education and growth of the child, an investment far more valuable than anything financial. That, says dad, is my son. That, says dad, is my daughter of whom I am so very proud. He or she was worth everything I gave. The loving bond between father and child will sustain, motivate and guide the child for a lifetime. It is the earthly component of the Heavenly Father. What a privilege it is to be a father.
So, I and my company the Crawford Broadcasting Company salute fathers, real fathers who love, educate, grow and train up their children in the way in which they should go. You are special, dads like that, very special. The world needs real fathers now more than ever. And, what is so wonderful is that it is never too late to be father no matter what has gone before. Fathering may ebb and flow but the opportunity is always there, always. Never quit, never give up on fathering.
So, enjoy your day DAD. Father’s Day can show love and respect for dad one day. But real fathers are honored by their children every day. For the most priceless thing any child can have is:
A LOVING FATHER!