Summary: Old wife’s tale, "The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach." Used this principle to drive home some spiritual truths about fatherhood

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As I wondered how to get through to our fathers this morning, an old wife’s tale came to mind, “The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I figured using this same principle might help in driving home some spiritual truths as well. So not only will we use the ear gate to communicate the message, we’ll use the eye gate, the sense of touch, the sense of smell and taste to enhance our ability to retain the points of this message. In each paper lunch bag are some treats. We’ll look at them one at a time and see how they remind us of something important about being a father. Now it’s not my intent that you eat everything right now, I recommend that you hold it till later. You are free to do with it as you will but I ask that you do something creative to remind you of the things that each item stands for. Please take out each item in the order that I call them.

Fruit Roll-ups: Remind us of God’s instruction to bear fruit (children). Genesis 1:27-28a, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (NIV) After the flood, God reaffirmed this command to Noah in Gen. 9:1, “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (NIV)

The birth of a child is nothing short of a miracle. Having the opportunity to watch and even participate in the birth of all my children will always be some of my most cherished memories. To this day, the proudest day of my life was holding my first born for the first time. Ps 127:3-5, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (NIV) Now Scripture doesn’t say how many is a quiver full, but if you were a warrior going into battle, it might make sense to have more than one or two arrows in your quiver. Perhaps a little insight to the culture of this writing will help. Thousands of years ago, there wasn’t a paper money system, there wasn’t a stock market, 401k, pension or any kind of retirement plans like we have available today. Your retirement was your children; they would take care of you when you got older. Logically, the more children you had, especially sons, the better retirement you had.

Today, the need for the big family is not as necessary; however, children are how a family is built. They come out with no instruction manuals and no warranties. They are non-refundable. Yet they are life as life itself. They can take you to life’s highest highs and lowest lows. The particular “Fruit Roll-up” that came in your bag is from a variety pack with “funky faces peel-outs.” I felt they were appropriate. Each child is different, unique, distinctive and special. What works in raising one child does not necessarily work for another. But one thing is for sure, in our culture, it takes a lot of money to raise a child today…

100-Grand Bar: Reminds us that it costs a lot to raise children. 1 Tim 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (KJV) Kids, like any of us need the basics; we need food, clothing, shelter and protection. When we as fathers start a family, we’ve got to give up many of our own wants to take care of the needs of the family. They must come first. In our selfish, self-centered culture, I see this becoming an increasingly bigger problem. Fathers want big ticket toys, the fancy and fun things in life to the point of short changing their responsibilities in the home. You brought a child into this world then you need to fulfill that responsibility to the best of your abilities.

When I talk about putting them first, it’s not just money wise, this also includes your time. Children desperately need your most valued possession – you – your time. Surveys tell us that the average father spends about 7 minutes per week in conversation with their children. There is no better choice of a father’s time than to invest it into the lives of his own flesh and blood.

Kenneth Chaflin, a seminary professor who often speaks and writes about building stronger families was home getting ready to eat supper before heading off to a speaking engagement. His 5yr old daughter came and said, “Daddy will you stay home with me tonight?” Her plea pierced his soul. He thought within himself, “How could I tell her no because I have to go and speak and tell others, “How a Good Father Ought to Be”?

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