Father is More Than a Title

Each year as this time rolls around I am filled with many memories of my childhood.  Memories that soon overcome me and I feel the pang of my dad’s absence and soon other emotions tag along and before I know it, I am a mess; a happy mess.  Today I would like to pay tribute to all dads, but for the role of the father, not the title.  The title has to be earned, not just a given.


Fatherhood to me is one of the two most important roles mankind has, with motherhood being the other.  It is to be taken seriously for it is an honor to be blessed with children.


We first learn of the purpose of marriage between a man and a woman as stated in Ephesians 5:31.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  Children need both the man and the woman as parents.  Both of the parents are to raise the child and instill in them the values of God.  They do so by following in the way the Lord intended a child to be raised.


In Psalm 127:3-5 we learn that:   “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver if full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents from court.”


Not only are the parents given the blessing of children, but they are also given instructions and guidance as how to raise the children.  Proverbs 22:6 states “Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”


Discipline is the key to being successful in raising kids as we learn in Ephesians 6:1-4:  “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.  Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”


God had set the tone for what parenthood should be and it begins with His promise of the blessing sent (children) and continues by telling us how to raise that child and how that child should respect the discipline instilled and the parent who instills it. A pretty powerful plan in my opinion!  God is our Father and the role model for our earthly fathers to follow.


Take a moment and think about what God does for us.  He loves us unconditionally which is demonstrated in John 3:16 when it states “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  He gave his own son to us as a sacrifice so that we could live. Still not convinced?  Then take a look at John 15:13 when we are told that “Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  If we are to lay down our life for a friend, do you not think we would  be willing to lay down our life for our children?  That is love – unconditional love – an example of how deeply a father values his children.


God has shown his children unconditional love as I just stated, but also mercy (think back to when you are expecting to be punished for a wrong deed and you do not get the punishment you rightly deserve), forgiveness (for your acts of rebellion or lack of respect), discipline (so you can grow and be respectful toward others and stay on the right path), guidance  (shown for you to lean on during the struggles you encounter throughout life), and if we are obedient, he liberally gives us wisdom to impart to our children.  God is love – the purest definition of what love should be.


Love needs to be the foundation of any relationship.  When the foundation is solid and strong it can withstand anything.  When we have a relationship with God we tend to that relationship, by staying connected with God.  We are faithful to it.  He then greatly blesses us with the needed tools to maintain and keep that foundation standing.  His provisions and requirements of this are pointed out in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Here we are given this answer key as how to build upon that foundation that will strengthen our relationship with our children:  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”


Now take a moment and take a long hard look at your dad.  He may not be perfect in your definition of what it means to be a dad, but if he is aligned with God, he will be a good example by honoring God’s will for him.  One is called to be a father and most answer that call faithfully.


My dad has been gone now for over 23 years.  I miss him – continuously.  Whether it be a memory shared or just a trait I admired about him.  I love him and miss him.  Present tense not past.  His body may be gone, but his words and actions still live on through me.  I was never able to have children or rather I was never blessed, but I still use his advice and wisdom and try to liberally give it to all in need.  To encourage others and to show love for all.


I understand that not everyone gets the father they desire.  Unfortunately, some get a man who is just a title.  Either they have never met their father or their father did not give them the love that they deserved.  I am deeply disheartened at this.  I am not standing in judgment here.  I understand some fathers walk away, refuse to care for the precious cargo given to them, and yes, some fail miserably.  Now my having said that, do not forget to focus on those that though they are not the birth father, they accepted the challenge and stood up by claiming responsibility for these lost children.  Think of the honor of those fathers.  That is what true love is.  The title does not make the man, but the man earns the title if he lives by the definition of what it really means.


Take a brief moment, collect your thoughts and focus on what you have and not on what was missed out on.  Not everyone has this opportunity to reflect and celebrate the man behind the title.  Years down the road (prayerfully many) you will move on without him standing there beside you, but what he gave you will live on and cannot be taken away.  Tell him today – tell him every day, how grateful you are to have him in your life.  Hug him and thank your Heavenly Father for him.  Show him that you are his success story and live a life worthy of his teaching.


My dad stood tall in my life and rests securely in my heart.  I live peaceably because I know I was loved and that he gave it his all for me to be raised in the right way and set on the right path.


He tried to follow God’s example and sometimes he fell a little short, but I know his heart was in the best place and I chose to forgive those moments of discontent and accept him for who he was.  God had placed me in good hands and I have reaped well from what my dad had sown.  I was a blessing to him from God and God blessed me by gifting me with him.


Happy Father’s Day to all and God Bless!

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