Summary: We don't always appreciate the impact of fathers on the world. This message takes Abraham and the words spoken to him as a foundation for what it means to be a father. It's not just about providing for the household.
On father's day I want to focus on the father of nations. In fact his name means Father of Nations. His name is Abraham. Abraham was just a regular man, but God called him, gave him a purpose, and rewarded him with a great inheritance. We can learn something about the importance of fathers from his story.
We don't always appreciate the importance of fathers, Am I right? Fathers tend to be overlooked. Have you noticed that when people are on TV they love to wave and say "Hi Mom!" They never say, "Hi Dad!" Last year, when Kevin Durant got his MVP he said his mom is the real MVP. I want to break the mold and talk about the importance of fathers, not only because today is Father's Day, but that may have something to do with it.
Our text is found in Genesis 18:18-19.
"Abraham will surely be a great and powerful nation and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
1. God chooses to bless the world through fathers.
Let's look at verse 18: "Abraham will surely be a great and powerful nation and all nations on earth will be blessed through him."
His plan is to use this man to bless all the nations of the earth. And indeed he has. Do you know that in Romans 4:6 Abraham is called the Father of all who believe? We believe because of Abraham. That means hundreds of generations have been blessed because of him and because he encountered the living God.
Today he is a model of those who go after him. How did he achieve such greatness? How did he do it? He started with his children and his household. Never underestimate the impact you can have by just ministering to your children and your household, people who are in your life.
Too many men neglect their own children and family to make a name for themselves out there. They think what matters is out there. It's not. We will soon be forgotten for how many achievements we made, but our children will impact the world for generations to come.
I know from experience that I have neglected my kids at times. There was a time that I left a birthday party early in order to meet a client. I missed the cake and the candles and celebrating with all her friends. To this day I remember how bad I felt afterwards.
In 2009 a man named Ric Elias found himself in a terrifying situation onboard a plane. The plane was filling with smoke and the engine was making a terrible sound. Clearly the plane was going down. They attendants said "no problem we are going to turn around." But clearly the problem was so bad the pilot was lining up with the Hudson River for a landing. The engine was turned off and the pilot said, "brace for impact." The engines were turned off and they were descending to the Hudson River. He said that at that moment three things came across his mind: 1. All the things he wanted to do but never got a chance to do 2. He thought about how he allowed his ego get in the way of his relationships with his wife and his friends 3. Regrets of not taking the time to be a good dad to his children. Turns out the plane landed safely in the Hudson river and he survived. There is a movie out about it now. It's called Sully. Ric Elias got a second chance.
Don't wait for some kind of tragedy to realize that the greatest thing you can do is be a good dad. You may not get a second chance.
2. Father's have a specific purpose: verse 19
"For I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just."
Fathers are integral to keeping "way of the Lord" alive on the earth. It is our calling to say to our children and all in the household "Put God first. Put faith first." Yet, often we shrink back from this task or purpose because we don't realize that is our purpose. According to this verse we were chosen, we were selected, we were hand-picked for this purpose.
Examine this verse carefully. What do fathers do? They direct, they command, they encourage, the children and the entire household to keep the way of the Lord. What is the way of the Lord? It is "To do what is right and just." God loves what is right and he loves justice. This means, fathers, get to know God and what he loves and does not love. We are the priest in the house.