Summary: Results of both good and bad fathering
Romans 8:28 A FATHER’S RESPONSIBILITY 15/06/03
I read recently of a Christian couple whose two beautiful teenage daughters, ages 19 and 15, were drowned during an outing. What a horrible tragedy. But the father wrote, "Although it has been the most difficult time of our lives, we have seen the Lord work in many ways. In a situation like this, the first question that we have to ask ourselves is: Are we going to put our full trust in the Lord and know beyond all doubts that His Word is infallible and true? The answer has to be an absolute ’yes.’ We know beyond a shadow of doubt that our girls are dynamic Christians and they now have assignments and missions in Heaven. We also know that they are much more in our future than they were in our past. We will all have a glorious reunion in what I believe is the near future. Although we look forward to that great reunion, we must be prepared to accomplish the assignments and missions that the Lord has for us until we all go up."
This father was confident that he had done all he could to prepare his kids for eternity, and that they had responded well. And I don’t mean that he was a perfect dad; perfection only exists in Heaven. But he had modelled Christianity for them, prayed for them, and taught them as well as he knew how, to love God and to obey Him. What a heritage! We say that God is number one in our lives, but how often we allow something else—anything else—to crowd Him out of our decisions and our lives.
As I was preparing for Sunday School, I caught a few minutes of a talk show that was honouring fathers. A young woman was struggling to explain what she thought a father’s job was: meeting needs around the home, doing things, fixing things. The commentator summarized her fuzzy thoughts in one word: providing. She agreed.
Another young fellow, when asked what his dad did, said, “He watches.” It’s from the book, "Do Yourself a Favor: Love Your Wife." The author asked the boy what his father did. The boy replied, "He watches."
"You mean that he is a night watchman?"
"Oh, no," the little boy exclaimed. "He just watches."
"Well, what does he watch?"
"I don’t know if I can tell you everything," the boy continued,
"but I can name a few things." "Well, tell me," the author replied.
"He watches TV, he watches Mom do the housework, he watches for the paperboy, he watches the weather... And I think he watches girls, too," he said, with an impish grin on his face. "He watches the stock market, football games, all the sports,
he watches Mother spank us, and he watches us do our homework.
He watches us leave to go to church and school and shopping.
He watches Mom write letters and me play with my dog.
He watches Mom pay the bills - but mainly he just watches,"
said the little fellow, with a note of sadness in his voice.
Although fathers need to be informed, surely just ‘watching’ isn’t enough. In defense of such fathers, however, I would caution wives: if he tries something, and it turns out a mess, congratulate him for trying. Don’t fix it, unless he asks for your help. It sends a message, “Nothing you do is good enough.” If he hears that message repeatedly, he will withdraw, and become a ‘watcher.’ It may have already happened long before you met him. Men need encouragement, just as ladies and kids do. Even though we try to appear macho and capable, we know there are many areas where we fall down. We just don’t like to admit it.
My dad was a good provider, if we’re only talking about money, but he never knew how to relate to us, or teach us much, and he was seldom around to be a model. He reminds me a little of Jacob. From the start, Jacob was trouble—actually his name means, ‘conniver or schemer’, which gives a little glimpse into the problem. He always had a better way, and he kept pushing the boundaries to see if they would move. He swindled his brother out of their father’s blessing; he swindled his uncle out of flocks and herds. When Jesus said, “If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.”, I wonder if He was thinking about how Jacob was swindled out of a bride. He finally got that one, too, but God had said that one man and one woman should be joined to become “one flesh”, not a man and two women. There was a good reason for that; a man cannot serve two masters. So it was in the house of Jacob.