Summary: Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, sets a wonderful example for dads as a pious father, a prayerful father, and praise-filled father! Happy Father's Day!
Father’s Day 2015: Zechariah
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 6/21/2015
During the Superman Celebration last weekend, as we walked down Main Street in Metropolis, we could see all sort of costumed superheroes. In the midst of them, however, a little boy joyfully sat upon his father’s shoulders. His father’s blue t-shirt bore a red and yellow logo emblazoned with the words: “I’m a Dad! What’s your superpower?” I’ll tell you what, being a dad is pretty super.
At home I have a shoebox where I store special cards or letters or pictures that the kids have drawn for me. This week I reminisced as I rummaged through the box a little. In it, I found an old Father’s Day gift. In 2012, Ashley gave each of the kids a “Pop Quiz about our Pop.” She interviewed each of them and wrote down their answers for me. Let me share some of their answers.
• How old is dad? 7 (Abby age 2) 11 (Sarai, age 5)
• How much does your dad weight? 75lbs (Yeshua, age 6), 100lbs (Sarai)
• How tall is Dad? 11’5” (Sarai), 10’2” (Yeshua)
• My Dad is great at… running in circles (Abby)
• Dad likes to cook… donuts (Abby)
• His favorite thing to eat is… cheeseburgers and Oreos (Sarai)
• My dad’s favorite things to do are… teach about God and spend time with his family (Yeshua).
Now that they’re older, I’m sure they’d answer most of these questions differently. But I hope that Yeshua would still answer that last one the same way.
I heard one this week about three boys in the schoolyard bragging about who had the better father. The first boy says, “My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, and people give him $100.” The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, and they give him $1000.” The third boy says, “My Dad is ever better than that. He scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, calls it a sermon, and it takes 4 men just to collect all the money!”
Being a father is the greatest joy and hardship of my life. I’m sure many of you can relate. Six weeks ago, on Mother’s Day, we explored the story of Elizabeth and Zachariah—the parents of John the Baptist. Focusing on Elizabeth, we saw that her role as a mom was struggle-filled, satisfaction-filled, and most importantly spirit-filled. For Father’s Day, I’d like to focus on the other half of that parenting duo and see what we can learn from Zachariah about fatherhood.
If you recall, Zachariah and Elizabeth were both “very old” and had been unable to conceive a child. But one fateful day, Zachariah experiences a heavenly encounter that changes everything. Before we get to that encounter, though, the Bible reveals that Zachariah was a pious would-be father.
• A PIOUS FATHER
Luke 1 begins by telling us that Zachariah was a priest actively involved in serving at the temple. Then we read, “Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations” (Luke 1:6 NLT). Zachariah and Elizabeth didn’t merely go through the motions in following God’s laws; they backed up their outward compliance with inward obedience. Unlike the religious leaders whom Jesus often called hypocrites, Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t stop with the letter of the law. Their obedience to God was from the heart, and that’s why they’re called “righteous in God’s eyes.” That’s what piety is all about. And, today, the church needs more pious fathers.
Did you hear about the little boy who was playing on a Sunday morning while his Dad sat in a recliner reading the paper? The father said: “Son, get yourself ready for Sunday School.” The little boy asked: “Are you coming with me today Dad?” The man replied: “No, I’m not coming. But I want you to hurry up and get ready.” The little boy then said: “Did you used to go to Sunday School when you were a boy, Dad?” He said: “I most certainly did!” As he walked away the boy mumbled: “Yeah, and I bet it won’t do me any good either!”
Unfortunately, that little is probably right. Dads sometimes forget how much influence we have in the lives of our kids. Looking back on his missed opportunities, one father wrote this confession: "I took my children to school but not to church. I enrolled them in Little League but not Sunday School. I showed them how to fish but not to be fisher of men. I made the Lord’s Day a holiday, rather than a holy day. I taught them the church was full of hypocrites and made the greater hypocrite of them and me. I gave them television and video games but provided no Bible. I handed them the keys to the car but did not give to them the keys of the kingdom of God. I taught them how to make a living but failed to show them how to live."