BEING A DAD: A DIVINE PRIVILEGE
Text: Luke 15:11-24
Reading: Psalm 78:4-7
In thinking about today being Father’s Day, I found two top-ten lists I thought you would like.
The Top Ten Dinner Dishes When Mom’s Away and Dad’s “Cooking”
10. Hot dogs with just a hint of Tabasco.
9. “Kids eat free” night at the steak house.
7. Broiled bologna benedict on rye.
6. Back-of-the-fridge goulash (with lots of pepper).
5. Chips & salsa.
4. Cocoa Puff surprise.
3. Something old, something blue, something frozen, call it stew.
2. Cold pizza.
1. Whatever’s cooking at Grandma’s.
The Top 10 Tips for Fathers on Changing Diapers
10. Always use protective eye wear.
9. If you need a third hand, use your teeth!
8. Avoid changing baby on new persian rug.
7. Reach finger down back of diaper to see if there’s a “doodie.”
6. When you run out of baby oil, use Old Spice.
5. Insure proper ventilation, avoid open flames.
4. Always feed baby lots of apricots 3 to 4 hours prior.
3. Never scratch and sniff.
2. Be careful with high-pressure spray nozzles on baby.
1. Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!
Father’s Day is a great day to honor our Fathers and to think about the concept of Fatherhood. Fatherhood is a divine privilege – a gift from God. Fatherhood is often overshadowed by the beauty of Motherhood, but in our society today we are beginning to see the impact of a fatherless generation.
Former Vice President Dan Quayle has said, “…the failure of our families is hurting America
deeply … When families fail, society fails …. children need love and discipline. They need mothers and fathers. A welfare check is not a husband. The state is not a father. It is from parents that children learn how to behave in society ….. it is from parents above all that children come to understand values and themselves as men and women, mothers and fathers ….. Bearing babies irresponsibly is, simply, wrong. Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong. We must be unequivocal about this.”
Father’s are an integral part to healthy family life. Today we want to focus on a Father in Scripture that can teach us all about taking full advantage of the divine privilege of Fatherhood.
We don’t know his name or the names of his sons. We know very little about him other than he was the one that Jesus chose to use to illustrate to us the relationship of the child of God to the Heavenly Father. He was the father of two sons. One is called the ‘prodigal’. A prodigal is a person who is recklessly extravagant; or characterized by wasteful expenditure.
Often we are given the idea that there was one good son and one bad son, but that isn’t the way the parable goes. Both boys had some problems, and their father dealt with each one individually. Today we want to focus on the father rather than on the sons. Read Text.
What are the qualities of this father in this parable that show us what a divine, God-given privilege it is to be a father?
1. HE WAS AN APPROACHABLE FATHER (12-18)
A. The family history is unknown. Perhaps these boys’ mother had passed away? The father is left alone to rear his sons. There is also an indication that they were a wealthy family.
B. The younger son had dreams. He wanted to travel and see things he had never seen before. He wanted to go to the far country. Someone said… He dreamed of a great task, but found great temptation. He dreamed of adventure, but instead he found agony. He dreamed of prestige, but he found poverty. He dreamed of romance, but he wound up in rags. He dreamed of happiness, but found himself in the hog pen.
But this son, when he wanted something, went to his father. Some would have slipped away without talking with his father. Still others might have gotten someone else to intercede on their behalf.
C. This father was approachable by his sons, Men, and we need to be approachable. Can your children come to you about anything? Have you made yourself available to them? One of the most basic responsibility of being a father is being there. From Birth to age 21, we are awake for 105,000 hours.
10,000 are spent at school
2100 are spent at church
92,000 are spent at home
The average father spends 7-10 minutes/week in exclusive time with his kids.
Penelope Stokes wrote: “A full half your sixty years were spent in fathering: watching down long dark nights in hospital halls; waiting for fish to bite; teaching that value lies in people, not in things. You could have fished alone, worked overtime, bought loyalty with toys, and made amends with money for the times we were alone—Some fathers do. Instead, you lived the truth that money can’t buy happiness…declined promotions, turned down jobs that only offered status, or more pay, and proved, with all your life, that a father’s occupation is his love.”
Barbara Bush wrote: “If you have a child you must make a commitment to that child as if your job performance review evaluation depended on it. For many of you there will be hard choices. You will be busy. You’re going to be tired. You’re going to be torn in many directions, but your children must come first in your life. Remember, at the end of your life, you will never regret not passing one more test or winning one more verdict or closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband or wife, a child, a parent or friend.”
The Father’s role in the home demands that he be an approachable person. He is to provide for his family. (1 Timothy 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.”)
He is to nurture his family. (Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.)
He is to provide for good memories. (Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.)
He is to provide training in spiritual things. (Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”)
To do these things in the best way, the father must be approachable. What makes this a divine privilege? It gives you a chance to walk in the footsteps of our heavenly Father who is approachable. (He hears us, he loves us, he invites us, he answers us.)
2. HE WAS A SPIRITUAL FATHER (18)
A. When his son thought about what he had done he realized that he had sinned. That seems to indicate that his dad had taught him right. The son considered that he had sinned against the father, and heaven. What an impact that father had on his son. Fathers, are we making the proper impression on our children?
My Father’s Legacy by John Hendrix
“There’s a portrait of my father, It’s the mirror in the hall,
Though the age is very different, And the semblance is quite small.
But the mind behind the mask, Bears the imprint of the years
With a man of many vices, Who brought very many tears.
His anguished disposition, Gained at birth or growing up
Fights my mind to gain control, And in my actions to erupt.
He went on to write, “Despite all of the trouble and strife we knew that he loved us. And we all loved him. There was much to love about him. I am my father’s son, and the works of my father, at times, I will do: the bad and the good. The bad – with my repentance and God’s grace – can be forgotten. The good will last: a fitting tribute to someone who deserved some honor. After all is said and done, I am my father’s legacy. To eliminate the bad and imitate the good – to lead as good a life as I can – is the best tribute that I can give to his memory.”
How sad to spend one’s life living down the legacy of a father who was ungodly and brought much pain into the household of his children. Have our children been taught how to pray by listening to us? Have we taught them to love God’s Word? The responsibility for child rearing rests upon the shoulder of the parents, not the school, and not the government. Our children have freedom to choose the way they take in life. If your children are serving God, thank God for it and be an encouragement to them. If they aren’t walking for the Lord, pray for them and do your best to influence them for Christ.
A spiritual approach to fatherhood is so important.
Charlie Shedd is the author of a number of useful books on the subject of husbands, wives, the home and raising children. A few years ago he polled a large group of youngsters about what they regarded the qualifications for a good dad to be. They listed these:
a. He takes time for me.
b. He listens to me.
c. He plays with me.
d. He invites me to go places with him.
e. He lets me help.
f. He treats my mother well.
g. He lets me say what I think.
h. He is nice to my friends.
i. He punishes me only when I deserve it.
j. He is not afraid to admit it when he is wrong.
Many fathers are gambling with the souls of their children by…
a. Not being Christians themselves
b. Not creating spiritual climate
c. Engaging in questionable behavior.
We just cannot afford such a gamble.
This father in our text was approachable, he was spiritual, and ….
3. HE WAS AN AFFECTIONATE FATHER (20)
A. We can see his look of love. (20). The father had been looking for his son to return. When he saw him, he ran and hugged and kissed him. What a beautiful picture.
B. No one is more aware of our need to love our children than a father himself. For some it is hard to show affection. For others it comes more naturally. A father’s feelings aren’t always easy to see. What is a Father? (author unknown)
“A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth…without an anesthetic. A father is a thing that growls when it feels good… and laughs when it’s scared to death. He never feels entirely worthy of the worship in a child’s eyes. He’s never quite the hero his daughter thinks…never quite the man is son believes him to be…and this worries him, sometimes. So he works too hard to smooth the road for those of his own who will follow after him. Fathers grow old faster than people because they have to stand at the train station and wave good-bye to the uniform that climbs aboard. And while mothers can cry where it shows, fathers have to stand there and beam outside…and die inside. Fathers have very stout hearts so they have to be broken sometimes, or no one would know what’s inside.
Fathers are what gives daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough…sothey can have grand-children who are smarter than anybody’s. Fathers fight dragons almost daily. They hurry away from the breakfast table off to the arena which sometimes called an office or a workshop. These with callused, practical hands tackle the dragon with 3 heads: work, weariness and monotony. And although they never quite win the fight, they never give up. Knights in shining armor — fathers in shining trousers — there’s little difference, as they march away to work each day.”
This father pictures for us the love and compassion of our Heavenly Father.
The father in our text was approachable, spiritual, and affectionate. Fatherhood is a divine privilege, because we walk in the shoes of our Heavenly Father. He showed us how to love our kids.
It is appropriate to have Father’s Day.
Calvin Coolidge said, “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been a reward for what he gave.”
Fathers give a lot to their families if they follow the Biblical example. If you are a young man or an older man who is not a Christian, I want to encourage you to give your life to Christ this morning so that you can fulfill the role that God intended for you. Your influence is so powerful. You are living a life that will impact your children and grandchildren in ways you would never dream.
Dad’s Hands by JoAnn Melton
I witnessed a reincarnation last night — for those of you skeptics, hang in with me a little longer. David died in 1982 during an especially hot July, early in the morning, – perhaps to escape the heat of day. Or, perhaps the heat seemed more intense to me because I was many months pregnant and really feeling heavy — in body and in mind. Heavy in mind because my dad who was invincible, was shrinking from his larger-than-life proportions to a frail-looking man in an awful seersucker gown that exposed sagging skin and thinning hair.
I was bringing into life a new personality/creature/lovechild and life was taking the foundation of by thirty-five years. A quiet man who had never been president of Exxon, but had never harmed anyone. Never flown to corporate meetings in exotic places, nor been too busy to pull my horse trailer or fix my roller skates. Never made demands on me and was not going to be there to guide my son entering the world. He passed gently, as he did all things, and when he did, I was gladdened his suffering didn’t linger. The prayer that he might live long enough to see his grandchild’s birth had long since changed into a prayer for a peaceful, pain-free rest.
When, in a few months, our son was born, life again became busily encompassing as family routine took priority. Pictures of Dad in family memory scenes popped up at strange occasions, but I was comforted by the peaceful thoughts of his heavenly home. Many times I have wished for another opportunity to spend time, or re-do time I had wasted. To feel his quiet strength for just a little longer, and maybe show a bit more appreciation for his jokes, even if I had heard them over and over. Perhaps, I could admire his carpentry ability, instead of wish that we could afford “store-bought” cabinets and furniture. So what if the boat he built in the basement had to have a wall knocked out in order to take it on its maiden voyage. How many fathers did I know who could build a boat?
If I just had another chance to watch those hands create … There’s a new house going up just down the street. The carpenters are doing a great job, but they obviously have missed the point of which parts of the wood are valuable.
The grandson my father missed meeting made three trips yesterday with a much-used wheelbarrow and returned with his prizes like a Roman conqueror, eyes bright – spirited,
with plans for his treasures similar to Donald Trump’s dreams for the Plaza. And when he had arranged the wood and nail box, I saw … my father’s hand pick up the hammer and begin to swing …
What heritage are you leaving your children … which they will see in your grandchildren?
Sermon entitled “Fathers Day ” by Pastor Don Robinson, Grace Baptist Church, Bloomington, IN, found on the internet, http://www.sermons.org/sermons/sermon32.html.
Sermon entitled “Some Thoughts For Fathers and Their Children” found on the internet, http://syscdj1.gmu.edu:81/sermons/base/FATHERS.TXT.
Sermon entitled “Honor Thy Father” found on the internet, http://syscdj1.gmu.edu:81/sermons/base/FATHER.TXT
Sermon entitled “My Father’s Legacy” by John Hendrix found on the internet at http://syscdj1.gmu.edu:81/sermons/base/FATHER3.TXT.
Top Ten Lists found on the website of the National Council on Fatherhood, http://www.fathers.com/humorx.html
Forsythe Church of Christ