Summary: Earthly father should follow the example of our heavenly Father.
HONORING OUR FATHERS
ILLUSTRATION THE IDEA FOR CREATING A DAY for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.
Having been raised by her father, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.
Her father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died.
ILLUSTRATION The greatest numbers of long distance phone calls are made on Mother’s Day; the largest numbers of collect calls are made on Father’s Day!
Finding a biblical model for fatherhood is not easy. You can not find a man whom you may consider as an ideal father. Each father mentioned in the bible has its own share of weaknesses and shortcomings except for the father of the prodigal son. Let us open our bibles to Luke 15:11-32.
The parable of the prodigal son was shared by Jesus to teach us the attitude of the heavenly father towards the Gentiles who never honored him and how he would like the Jews to understand His concerns for them. He also shared the compassionate character of God towards a repentant person.
On the other hand, the parable of the prodigal son also depicts the qualities of a father who deserves honor, respect, and recognition. As a father, we may not have all the qualities of the father of the prodigal son but if we have at least one of his characteristics then we are worthy of honor and recognition.
Children don’t expect your father to possess all the positive qualities of a father. Sometimes you are tempted to compare your father to another father. Let us realize that they live and work based on the resources and opportunities they were given.
ILLUSTRATION The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which of them should have the present. "Who is the most obedient?" he asked. "Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?" Five small voices answered in unison. "Okay, dad, you get the toy." From James Buchanan, “The Importance of Fathers”
Let us celebrate some of their positive qualities and not their imperfection. What are the QUALITIES OF A FATHER that deserves honor, respect, and recognition?
1. RESPONSIBLE PROVIDER
Obviously, the father of the prodigal son is a responsible provider. Having achieved a degree of material prosperity implies his diligence and hard work. He was not only good provider for his family but even to his own workers. (SEE v. 17) He worked hard not for his own retirement but for his children’s future. (SEE vv. 12b, 31)
ILLUSTRATION Maybe you heard the story about a little girl named Sandra who was raised in an adobe house in a rural area of New Mexico, without electricity & running water. In fact, her mother & father had to drive to El Paso, 200 miles away, so that her mother could be in the hospital when Sandra was born.
Sandra’s parents home-schooled her because they were so far away from any school,. They ordered a variety of magazines to expose her to the outside world. She grew up in a very wholesome environment. Her fondest memories of her family are of the times when mom & dad took the whole family on vacation to visit the state capitol. They went into every capitol building & climbed their domes, west of the Mississippi.
When Sandra graduated from high school, she went to Stanford University & graduated with honors. Today, Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman to be seated in the Supreme Court of the United States of America. It is because mom & dad cared enough to provide for her despite of their meager situation.
I understand that there are irresponsible father who were not able to provide for their families. But there are millions of fathers out there who work hard to provide for their families. We need to honor them as they diligently provide – food, clothes, shelter, and education.
Many times, fathers were challenged by their own children by being not good stewards of their hard earned resources – wasted years in school, extravagant lifestyle, and unrestrained spending.
Children, I hope that you will not follow the example of the prodigal son. The prodigal son asked for his share of the estate and squandered them in wild living. Some of our fathers today are very generous to their children. But never took their generosity as opportunity to be poor steward of their resources. Honor them by using their resources wisely.