Summary: A Father's Day sermon.
"A Father's Choice"
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Introduction: Father's Day is observed on the 3rd Sunday in June. The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington.
A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
I have noticed that there are some things that are unique about Father's day that make it different from Mother's Day for a variety of reasons. One thing that my family has noticed is that I'm not in many of the family pictures. I'm usually behind the camera, not in front of it! Also, and this is a very bittersweet thing is that each year when we order gifts for this special day we order far fewer gifts for this day than Mother's Day and that is because life expectancy for men in the U.S. is 76 and for women it is 81. We also need to recognize that changes to how our culture views family also affects Father's Day for many people. Millions of homes are led by mothers and men are noticeably AWOL so when we speak about Father's Day it may not mean the same things to you as it does to me so we have to be sensitive to the nuances of how we acknowledge this day.
It should also be acknowledged that if you see the role of a father in the media today the character will be portrayed as foolish, ignorant or intolerant if they are portrayed at all for in many media sitcoms depicting the family today the role of a father is noticeably absent. In our culture there has been a significant erosion of the role of the father in our contemporary society today. Fathers are becoming the proverbial dinosaurs of our day. Increasing numbers of children are being born each year through artificial insemination to single women, lesbian couples and many more thousands of children are being born in hospitals all over this country to women with absentee husbands or fathers.
* There are an estimated 66.3 million fathers in the U.S. today.
* There are 25.8 million fathers in married-couple families with their own children under 18.
* There are 2,000,000 single fathers, up from 393,000 in '70. Today, 1-in-6 single parents is a father, vs. 1-in-10 in '70.
* 105,000 "stay-at-home" dads care for 189,000 children.
* 60% of children under age 6 living with married parents eat dinner on a daily basis with their fathers -- 24% eat breakfast on a daily basis with dad.
* 88% of children under age 6 are praised by their fathers at least once a day. (Pastor's Weekly Briefing 6/18/04)
This devaluation of the role of fathers has led many men to totally abdicate any feelings of responsibility towards the children that they sire, so these two factors have led the family in a downward spiral leading the cultural and societal chaos we have today.
WE THOUGHT YOU SAID...
The kids had talked Mom into getting a hamster. They promised to take care of their pet, whom they named "Danny."
Within two months, though, Mom was taking care of Danny. One day Mom decided enough was enough; Danny would be given to a new owner. She called the kids together to tell them. One child said, "I'll miss him. He's been around here a long time." The other child remarked, "Maybe he could stay if he ate less and wasn't so messy." Mom was firm, "It is time to take Danny to a new home."
"Danny?" the kids wailed, "We thought you said Daddy."
SOURCE: Positive Living, Sept/Oct 1995, p 39.
That being said we also need to acknowledge that when God designed the home and family He intended for every family to have a mother and a father and He gave different roles to them both. In our Scripture reading this morning we have the record of a father who made some decisions that affected his family in some powerful and far-reaching ways, and also served to challenge others to follow his example.