Summary: As we celebrate fathers today, this declaration from Joshua exemplifies what it means to be an “Epic Dad"—a father who imparts a lasting spiritual legacy.
I. Servants of the Lord
“As for me and my house, we will serve (Abad in Hebrew) the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
As we celebrate fathers today, this declaration from Joshua exemplifies what it means to be an “Epic Dad"—a father who imparts a lasting spiritual legacy. As we explore various facets of the phrase “serve the Lord,” we’ll define practical experiences that will enrich dads and bless families.
Personal allegiance needs to be declared and lived!
Joshua boldly declares his personal commitment: “As for me…”
Epic Dads resist justifying, rationalizing and blaming—embracing instead the truth that “…each of us mustgive an account of ourselves to the Lord” (Rom. 14:12).
Epic Dads walk in the freedom for which they have been freed. “It was for freedom that Christ set you free”(Gal 5:1). He gives freedom from the ways and words, priorities and passions of THIS world.
“Let them curse, but you bless; when they arise, they shall be ashamed but your servant shall be glad” (Ps. 109:28). In contrast with others, Epic Dads have freedom to pursue intimacy with the Lord and His kingdom calling.
Joshua’s personal testimony of “serving the Lord” is the foundation for “my house” serving the Lord!
Joshua gives leadership to his home through the inclusiveness of his declaration: “As for…my house, we will serve the Lord.” Epic Dads join Christ as the cornerstone to build a strong foundation for family life (Eph.5:20) through living and loving as Jesus did.
II. Serving the Lord through a Lifestyle of Yieldedness
Fathers, the Hebrew word translated “serve” speaks to your allegiance and prompts the question, “To whom or what are you yielding yourself?”
In a day when “serving” or giving allegiance to many false gods was commonplace, Joshua’s declaration was pro-active and public:
Being “passive” in a world of compromise was NOT an option.
Being “quiet” about his stance was NOT an option.
It’s this proactivity and public testimony that give credibility to leading one’s family into “serving the Lord.”
Pause and Reflect: What proactive and public “initiative taking” in your life would give witness to your “serving the Lord” (i.e., a demonstrated prayer life, diligence in the Word, being the first to apologize, etc.)?
“Encourage one another unto love and good deeds: (Heb. 10:25)
Quietly ask the Lord to remind and encourage you: “Lord God, remind me of ways I live my life so my family takes note that I’m seeking to serve you.” Celebrate these remembrances with gratitude toward the Lord. Share with the Lord your glad heart and then ask Him by His Spirit to show you deepened dimensions of serving Him.
Now, let’s stand, and in groups of two or three, or as families, ask the Lord to encourage us: “Lord God, encourage me in new ways that I might take initiative to better serve you before my family.” Listen quietly and yield to obey—even before His direction is clear (John 7:17).
III. Serving the Lord in a World of Competing Priorities
Countless distractions compete for our personal and family priorities— materialism and the media promote their “wares,” technology and social media provide pseudo-intimacy, success and position plead their case. Yet Joshua’s declaration would be that life fulfillment is NEVER found in what we acquire, accomplish, or achieve, but only in loving, intimate relation¬ships, beginning with Yehowah (Jehovah)!
The Hebrew word “serve” (abad) conveys an urgency to put away hindrances to intimate relationship with Him (1 Sam. 7:3; 2 Chron. 34:33). Critical to removing hindrances to our intimacy with the Lord is asking the right questions, putting away the emptiness of vain priorities.
Questions like, “What have I accomplished today?” need the added consideration, “Is He pleased with it?”
Questions like, “What do I have?” or “What am I getting?” need more out¬ward and others’ focus through knowing, “Who am I giving to?” and “How is He being honored through my stewardship of life and resources?”
“Considering that all these things shall be done away with in this manner, what sort of people ought we to be” (2 Peter 3:11).
Imagine the scene as an Epic Dad announces to his family: “Next Saturday morning after breakfast is ‘things dedication day.’” Without any more details, the family is intrigued and, throughout the week, asks more questions, only to be told: “It will be fun and a great learning experience.”
Saturday comes, and after breakfast, the announcement is made: “Now each of us needs to consider one of your most important ‘things’ or possessions, and in five minutes, we will meet back together and bring it with us. Go!”
The family returns looking a little silly with a fur coat, favorite piece of jewelry, golf clubs, a stuffed animal, and a Spiderman action figure. “It’s now time to dedicate these ‘things’ and consider God’s perspective,” Dad shares as he reads from the 2 Peter text. Reminding the family that all these “things” shall be done away with, he then puts emphasis on the closing, probing question: “What sort of people ought we to be?” The family brainstorms a list of responses as this Epic Dad affirms the priority of relating to the Lord.