This Sunday, June 16, is Father’s Day. For me, it will also be the anniversary of of my own father’s funeral, which brings back lots of memories of my dad and the impact he had on my life. (It also happens to be my wedding anniversary, which adds a little more significance to the day for me. Happy Anniversary, Nan!)
Father’s Day is the day we set aside to honor our dads. And honor them we should (even if I do happen to be one), for they are so very important in the lives of our families, our churches, and ultimately, our nation. And, of course, the Scripture is clear about the call to honor fathers with respect: “Honor your father and mother,” says the 5th commandment. I think God meant that.
We’ve often joked that churches use Mother’s Day as a special Sunday to honor moms, then use Father’s Day as a time to make dads feel guilty for not being better spiritual leaders of their homes. In case you are wondering, that’s not on our agenda at Shelby Crossingsthis Sunday.
Being a father has enough pressure on its own these days. It’s not like being a husband is not tough enough for most guys already. Sometimes, you just don’t know what the world expects of you. When it’s time to mow the lawn, or the drain needs unclogging, or someone needs you to step on a bug, or open the pickle jar, you’re expected to be the tough guy, a man’s man. Then, when someone needs you to be sensitive, caring and touchy-feely, you’re suddenly expected to kick into Oprah-gear.
Add to that all the expectations for parents in today’s world. The conflicting messages we are given for raising kids can be quite confusing. Then when our children struggle a little and act like…kids!…we usually feel inadequate and wonder what we did wrong.
I often find comfort in knowing that our Heavenly Father is the perfect “dad,” and yet His kids all rebelled against Him and sinned anyway. It does take the pressure off to know that even if I do everything exactly right, my children will mess up sometimes, because God has given them–us–a free will. He is our model for being a father, offering a perfect balance of unconditional love, patient correction and consistent discipline. And He is all of those things to those of us who are fathers ourselves. Even when we blow it as dads, our Father God loves us.
With that, let me take a moment to say once again to those of you who are fathers among us, especially those in the Shelby Crossings family: Thank you. For your commitment to our Lord. For your Christian example to your families. For your courage to stand up for what is right, even when it means going against the flow of our culture. For your spiritual leadership in your home. For faithfully providing for your family’s needs. For raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. For being a man of integrity and moral character. Thank you.
One other quick note: Please join us in praying for God to be at work in our Vacation Bible School this coming week. May He move powerfully in the lives of the children–and workers–and may He be honored in all we do.
I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.