The Importance of Fatherhood

I’m not sure when the concept of having a day to honor fathers originated. However, we do know that we have a biblical concept to honor both our fathers and mothers – and that command includes more than one day a year.

Further, the Bible speaks much about our relationship with God in terms of “fatherhood.” In fact, Jesus Himself teaches us to open our prayer to God with these words, “Our Father…” Today, I’d like to explore a few reasons why this concept of fatherhood is so important – and thus, so attacked.

By way of introduction, the University of Texas in their June 2017 publication entitled an article “5 Things You Should Know About the Importance of Fathers.” On their list, I was interested to see the following two thoughts included with their observations:

  1. Involved dads have a direct impact on their children’s future
  2. Families are strengthened by supportive fathers

The reason these two fascinated me was because the article is from a secular viewpoint. Focus on the Family, writing from a Christian viewpoint, cited a 26-year-long study that showed children who grew up with active fathers in their lives were more empathetic.

I’m grateful that I did not grow up with an absentee father. In our world today, many are not able to have that same upbringing. I understand that the grace of God can make up for parenting mistakes, including absenteeism! As we celebrate Father’s Day, here are a few of my personal recollections and observations.

My dad taught me how to work.

As a young boy about 12, summer time came. I was excited. My dad had other plans! I can still remember the question he asked me, “Hey Mike, do you want to learn how to work like a man or stay home all summer with the girls?” How are you supposed to answer that?!

I remember coming home from school in the Fall season, and being excited – yes, excited – to chop wood. From my youth, I was taught to work hard. That lesson has served me well in life.

My dad taught me how to treat a lady.

Growing up, I watched my mom always treated with respect, care, and love. I was taught to hold the door open for ladies, to be a protector, to be kind, to be respectful. I’m grateful for these lessons that seem to be missing on so many of today’s youth.

My dad taught me the importance of a good reputation.

We didn’t grow up with riches or fat bank accounts. My dad ingrained in me that, at the end of the day, “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” This wasn’t just a mantra or Bible verse – he lived it. I was given a respected name because of his actions…I’ve tried to pass that lesson on to our children as well.

My dad taught me to not run away from problems.

Closely connected to a good name is a lesson on how to deal with problems. In a world where too many want to run away or pretend like they don’t exist – dad taught me to hit problems head on.

In life, troubles come. We can’t avoid it and problems don’t magically go away. I appreciate the lessons on confronting difficult situations – they’ve served me well.

My dad mirrored on weekdays what he preached on weekends.

As a PK, I saw “the pastor” seven days a week. The best testimony to a consistent life? I ran toward preaching and ministry with my life and not from it. I have not always achieved perfection here, but I do desire to be consistent in front of my children and, now, grandchildren.

My dad taught me not to worry, but to watch God work.

As a kid, many times I was able to see God provide for our material needs – a check left in the mailbox, a car left in a driveway, a vacation trip provided, etc. We didn’t see dad stress – even though I’m sure the pressures were real. Instead, we saw an example of calm, patient trust in the Lord.

My dad taught me how to be faithful in little things of life.

Whatever assignment God gave to my dad, he was faithful. Was it a country church of 50 people? Then, that was “big time” and they deserved his best. Did the grass at church need mowed or the buildings cleaned before Sunday? Then, let’s go get it done!

The example of faithfulness of nearly 50 years of preaching has left an imprint. The attitude of “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do…” has been a great lesson.

My dad taught me how to study the Bible.

The first Scofield, the first Sunday school lesson or VBS lesson, the first sermon – these were moments when my dad was there to guide and mentor. When I surrendered to preach, he invested into me with commentaries and books. For as long as I can remember, he has read through his Bible multiple times each year. These lessons have shaped me into the Bible student I am today.

My dad taught me how to make memories without debt.

We weren’t world travelers. We went to one of two places every year. Yet, I look back and remember that we never missed a vacation. We created memories at the beach or the mountains. I never flew on a plane until in college – but I never felt that I was missing out. The memories we created encouraged me to create memories with my own family.

My dad taught me how to love Jesus.

At the end of the day, one’s view of their dad (and that relationship) often affects their view of God as “heavenly Father.” My dad drilled into me that loving Jesus, serving Jesus, and living for Jesus were the best ways to spend my life.

So, as we celebrate Father’s Day, we know that we’ve not had perfect fathers – nor are we perfect ones either. Yet, I’m grateful for the formative influences and building materials that were poured in to me. These lessons are being passed down to the next generation.

To all the dads out there who have tried to point your children toward a path of righteousness, may God bless you and the generations who follow! Happy Father’s Day.

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