Summary: This light-hearted, illustration-filled Father's Day sermon spotlights Elkanah, the father of Samuel, and reveals that Godly Father Love Their Wives and Love to worship. Powerpoint and video clip available.
Father’s Day 2014: Elkanah
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 5/11/2014
Have you found the perfect Father’s Day present yet? If not, let me make a recommendation. And no, I’m not talking about mandels. In fact, it’s the same gift I recommended for Mother’s Day. In the Bible, God gave us the Ten Commandments, instructing us how we should live, how we should act toward him, and one another. And nestled between the commands to “remember the Sabbath” and “thou shalt not murder,” God gave us the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and mother.”
Honor means to regard with great respect, to esteem, or give recognition. The fact that God even added “honor your father” to the Ten Commandments should show us how important it is. There are lots of things you can give your Dad on Father’s Day, but let’s not forget the most important thing. The best gift you can give your dad on Father’s Day is to honor him. That’s what we want to do here today.
But let’s face it dads—Father’s Day isn’t quite as big a deal as Mother’s Day, is it? On Mother’s Day there is a higher attendance at church, mothers often have corsages, emotions run high, and people gather at Mom’s house—all to pay honor to the hands that rocked the cradle. But on Father’s Day the church is not as full, emotions are not as high, and businesses don’t profit nearly as much—all except for the telephone companies.
ILL. Back before cellphones became commonplace, Southwestern Bell reported that Mother’s Day is the busiest telephone day of the year. But Father’s Day was a bigger money-maker for them, because there are more collect calls on Father’s Day than on any other day of the year.
ILL. But it’s not easy being a dad. It seems like dads spend the first couple years of their children’s life encouraging them to walk and talk, and rest of their life telling them to sit down and be quite. In Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary father comes right before fatigued. Of course, it also comes right after fatheaded, but I don’t know if that means anything.
Unfortunately, we do live in a culture that has really marginalized the role of fathers in the family. If you watch television, especially Disney shows, the father character is always portrayed as a fatheaded bumbling buffoon. There is even a name for it; media analysts refer to it as Homer Simpson Syndrome. Shows like the Simpsons have turned fathers and fatherhood in general into laughing stocks. We’ve come a long way from Father Knows Best and the Andy Griffith Show. But these portrayals couldn’t be further from the truth. You may not see it, especially when they’re young, but a father is more influential in the development of child’s life than any other factor. And the older your kids get the more they’ll appreciate you, dads.
ILL. Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man learned in 7 years.”
Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the huge contribution made to family life by our nation’s dads. A special moment of the year to say thanks for all the sacrifices made, for the hard work, for the long hours of parenthood freely given but rarely acknowledged. An opportunity to salute the simple, quiet nobility of being a father. To run the dad-flag up the dad-pole in the kingdom of dad-dom.
Five weeks ago, on Mother’s Day, we looked at a godly mother named Hannah. Hannah, if you remember, became the mother of Samuel, who was the last of the great judges of Israel and the first of the great Old Testament prophets. He became a great leader and a great man of God thanks to the prayers and influence of his mother. But Hannah, of course, was not a single mom. The other half of the parenting team was a man named Elkanah.
In case you weren’t here on Mother’s Day, let me fill you in on some of the background. The book of Samuel begins in the days when judges still ruled Israel, possibly during the closing years of Samson’s life. The Bible doesn’t give us a long introduction; rather the opening verses simple say, “There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah… He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none” (1 Samuel 1:1-2 NIV).
On Mother’s Day we focused on Hannah’s problems, her prayer, and her promise to dedicate her child to the Lord and raise him in God’s house. Today, I want to focus on Elkanah. Elkanah’s story, though not as detailed as Hannah’s, highlights two powerful lessons that fathers of every generation can benefit from. The first lesson is that godly father must love their wives!