Summary: This message illustrates three positive attributes of a father as noted in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11-32

Message: “A Father’s Love”

Text: “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).


What is Father’s Day?

In 1909, Mrs. John B. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father William Smart. Mr. Smart became a widower when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. He was left to raise six children by himself. The family lived on a farm in the State of Washington.

Years later, Mrs. Dodd, who was one of the six children, realized the difficult job her father had raising six children. She knew her father was a very special man. He was a man willing to give everything he had for his family. He was a man full of love, the kind of love Jesus talked about. Mr. Smart had a sacrificial love. He was a man of God. His strength and his energy came from his Maker.

The reality of Father’s Day came about on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. The idea soon caught on in other parts of the country. Calvin Coolidge liked the idea and supported a National Father’s Day. It wasn’t until 1966 that President Johnson signed the proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

Here is a cute illustration I found in This was an advertisement in a magazine for Father’s Day.

“F” is for your favorite occupation (A man is pictured asleep in a chair).

“A” is for the anniversaries you blew (mother is shown waiting in vain for father to come home for their anniversary dinner).

“T” is for talk and your sparkling conversation (dad is depicted as reading a newspaper while the children and wife are talking to him).

“H” is for the helpful things that you do (dad is shown poking a ladder through a window).

“E” is for each time you were forgetful (this shows father leaving the pregnant mother standing at the front of the house while he dashes off to the hospital).

“R” is for the recitals that you attended (father is shown as being literally dragged to his child’s piano recital).

The ad concludes by saying: He may not be a perfect father but he does deserve a perfect gift. Give him an arrow shirt for Father’s Day.

I have really enjoyed being a father. I must admit I am not perfect, but I believe I have played the roll quite well. As I look at my family this day, I see that our three boys are wonderful fathers. I see them treating their children the same way I treated them. I don’t want to “toot my horn” or “brag”, but I think I was a pretty good “role model”. I can’t take all the credit because I am only one-half of the parent-set. Carol taught them much more than I taught them, but at least I was a good “father figure.”

I am reminded of the commercial for Jif peanut butter that airs quite often on TV. The father is sitting on the couch spreading Jif peanut butter on a slice of bread. His small daughter enters the room and asks what he is doing. He replies he is just making a peanut butter sandwich. He gives the daughter the peanut buttered slice of bread and proceeds to make another one. After he makes his sandwich, he folds the slice of bread in half. The daughter asked why he folded it in half. The father replies that this is the way his father used to do it and he likes to do what his father did. The little girl laughs and says, “That’s silly!” She turns from her father and folds her bread the same as her father. She then turns back to him with a big smile on her face, the father smiles back and then gives her a hug.

I like the Parable of the Lost Son. I have preached this Scripture more than once, but every time I read it I find a different message. This morning I would like to talk about the father figure I see presented in this Scripture Reading.

I can see three different father images presented. I see:

1. A giving father

2. A patient father

3. A forgiving father

I would like to look at these father images and compare them to our heavenly Father. Let’s remember that our heavenly Father is far more than these three images.

Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them” (Luke 15:11 and 12).

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