June 18, 2012
Three weeks ago, I used this medium to open the “Dads & Grads” package that always shows up on the cultural doorstep in June. On May 28th, we talked about the wisdom you could offer to the graduates in your life who are loaded with the facts from their education… and are now faced with life.
Yesterday, fathers took the stage. Talk about a mixed-bag holiday: everyone had a father in their life, but if “fathering” was an Olympic event, the performance scores would be all over the scale. Even some dads left the arena before the competition was over. Unfathered children have a tough time with Father’s Day…
The holiday is past, but the issue of fathering is a 365-day affair. This e-mail goes out broadly, but let me narrow my comments to the guys who are fathers. Short and sweet: here’s how to raise your score in the Race for Fathers.
Jesus broke new ground in understanding God when He was here. He made a statement that may be the most quoted – and, the most remembered – of all of His wisdom. It framed the relationship we have with God as paternal: God is our Father, and Jesus gave us a message to communicate with Him. If we repeat the messaging contained in this appeal, the assurance of fulfillment is 100%. What do we learn about great fathering, from God? (from Matthew 6:9-13)
“Our Father in heaven…” Where is God? He exists in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and the Father is always at home, in heaven. Great dads aren’t unavailable; they can be found, when their kids need them. Dad: can your kids find you?
“…hallowed be your name.” God’s reputation – his brand – is wrapped-up in His name, and it is stellar. When you were adopted into His family, you became part of a family whose patriarch is above reproach. Dad: is your name a blessing, or a bane for your children? Do they have your reputation to live up to, or to try to live down?
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Man alone in creation is not content with the basics; we’re on a search for meaning and purpose beyond sustenance. The Father is building His Kingdom, and has invited us into His enterprise. The greatest thing we’ll ever do is to participate in expanding the reach of His Kingdom, through finding and fulfilling His Calling in our life. Dad: are you modeling for your kids a life of significance, by making your Calling a point of example and conversation as you mentor your children toward finding their life purpose, as well?
“Give us today our daily bread.” Jesus didn’t take personal responsibility off the table; God wasn’t going to deliver them groceries every day without their efforts to provide. Instead, He would ensure that He was there as a safety net to assure that their needs would be met. Dad: do you represent a continuing resource who gives your children confidence in a harsh and desperate world?
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” God is a constant source of forgiveness, but He expects us to be the same. To be unforgiving – while expecting forgiveness – is not His family model. Withholding forgiveness from people who confess and repent is to violate the family covenant. Dad: are you training your kids to trade in forgiveness – getting it from God, and giving it to others – to ready them for a lifetime of healthy relationships?
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One…” Fathers are wired to be protective, and God does that well. Protection from ourselves, when we are weak in the face of temptation… and protection from the Enemy, when we are incapable of standing up to the supernatural power of Evil without divine capability. Dad: are you protecting your kids from themselves, and from the evil within our culture that seeks to harm your progeny?
Father’s Day was yesterday… but fathering is today, and tomorrow, and the next. If you’re a dad, join me in following the best example we could have and live-out the model of the all-time #1 Father!