Summary: On this Father's Day, we want to say thank you to dads who are doing things right for doing the right things.
A Better Father’s Day Card
11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Please turn in your copy of God’s Word to 1 Thessalonians 2
The other day, I went to the greeting card section at Wal-Mart, because I wanted to see if the hunch I had was true. My hunch was this: most people when they buy their mother a mother’s day card, its flowery, and sweet, and has words in gold-foil script, and it may even smell like perfume. But when they buy their father a Father’s Day card, it's funny and cartoony, and if it smells like anything, its probably either motor oil or barbecue. Show of hands: if you got a father’s day card, was it funny or serious?
So I went to Wal-Mart, and I realized I was partially wrong. There are a good share of serious, sentimental Father’s day cards. And, full disclosure, there really are a lot of funny Mother’s Day cards. But there’s a difference between funny mother’s day cards and funny father’s day cards. With funny mother’s day cards, it's usually kids that are making fun of themselves. “Thanks, mom, for always taking the crust off my sandwiches.” “Thanks, mom, for not freaking out about the tattoo.” I call it the “I love you, Mom, for putting up with me” genre. But with funny father’s day cards, its more often kids making fun of their dads. This is the “We love you, Dad, that’s why we put up with you” genre.
• Dad, in your honor, I’m just going to sit on the couch and rest my eyes for a bit…
• Dads: saying more with less from the very beginning
• I love you dad, in spite of your horrible political views
Now, there’s nothing wrong with dads being able to laugh at themselves. In fact, if you couldn’t laugh at yourself, there might be something wrong. But today, as we honor both our biological dads and those men in our lives who have been spiritual fathers to us, I wanted to lead us to say thank you for some things that really matter. And for that, I we turn to 1 Thessalonians. Which is, admittedly, kind of a weird place to turn, because as far as we know, the apostle Paul didn’t have any children, and this particular passage isn’t specifically about parenting. But I think there are some truths here that we can apply to what dads who are doing right are doing right. So let’s look at this passage as “A Better Father’s Day Card” than what you might see at Wal-Mart.
And, as is our tradition here, if you are physically able please stand in honor of the reading of God’s Word:
7 But we were gentle[c] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God constantly[d] for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men[e] but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. You may be seated, and as you are being seated, please pray with me…
The first thing we want to say “Thanks” to our dads for is this: Thanks, Dad…
1. For not being so tough that you couldn’t be tender (v. 7)
7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
Maybe you are hearing this first point and thinking, “Hang on. James, did you get your notes mixed up? Because this sounds like a Mother’s Day sermon.” But keep in mind this is the Apostle Paul that’s saying this. If there was any “man’s man” in the New Testament (other than Jesus), it was the Apostle Paul. Paul who got his start going from town to town hunting down Christians so he could put them to death. Who, once he became a Christian, endured about every kind of hardship you can endure for the sake of the gospel (see 2 Corinthians 11:24-33). Who confronted Peter to his face over his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-14). Paul took absolutely nothing from nobody.