Summary: The importance of a dad in their child’s faith development and the need to honor one’s father for their influence in raising you.
BluefishTV.com video "Thanks Dad"
Is anyone willing to share what you learned from your dad?
What do we Learn from our Fathers?
One of my most vivid memories growing up was when we would go camping and my dad would have me pick up our campsite and he would tell me to ’leave it better than we found it.’ That became kind of a life philosophy for me. Leave it better than you found it. I guess you could say he taught me responsibility.
There’s so much that dads do that make us what we are today, whether it was dad’s discipline, teaching us right from wrong, encouraging us (1 Thess. 2:11-12), teaching us hard work, .
It’s unfortunate that dads don’t get a lot of credit for what they do, and in today’s culture with high rates of divorce and children born out of wedlock the role of fathers has become minimized, virtually to the point where they are seen as unnecessary anymore. They’re viewed as only good for bringing home the bacon, but if mom can make just as much money as dad, what good are they now? People don’t even think twice nowadays about raising children without a father. I read this week where the number of children living at home without their biological father is around 34.5% (over one out of every three). And what’s even more unfortunate is that dads aren’t seeing their own importance and their own God given responsibility, and are choosing not to play a significant role in their child’s life.
According to fatherhood.org which cites several studies; they have found that children raised in a fatherless home are:
ƒÆ Five times more likely to be poor
ƒÆ More likely to turn to crime and end up in jail
ƒÆ Increased chance of early sexual activity and pregnancy;
ƒÆ Alcohol and drug use
ƒÆ Twice as likely to drop out of school just to name a few
In terms of spiritual practices or faith habits, such as attendance at worship, another study found that fathers make a significant impact on their children. If both your parents worshipped with you regularly while you were growing up, there’s an 80% likelihood that you’ll worship God regularly as an adult. However if only your mother worshipped regularly with you, there’s only a 30% probability that you’ll worship regularly as an adult. If only your father worshipped regularly with your dad, the likelihood that you’ll worship regularly as an adult increases to 70%! What that tells me is that dad has a great influence on us in our faith walk with the Lord.
Is a father important? I believe the answer to that question is a resounding, yes! Even a secular news magazine recognized the importance of fathers. The cover article in the February 27th, 1995 issue of U.S. News & World Report concluded that:
"More than any other factor, a father’s presence in the family will determine a child’s success and happiness."
This isn’t to say moms aren’t important in our faith. Last month, on Mother’s Day, I shared about the influence mother’s and grandmother’s have on their children’s and grandchildren’s faith. We looked in the Bible at Timothy and the influence his mother and grandmother had in his faith upbringing which eventually led him to come to faith in Jesus Christ, and then become a missionary even though his dad was not a Christian (2 Tim. 1:5; Acts 16:1-3). Obviously moms play a significant role, but children, as a general rule, tend to follow their dads faith practices.
We can see why God’s plan, his ideal, is for families to have a mother AND a father, so children grow healthy and happy.
Well done dads who are here this morning, who have taken (if your kids are grown up) or are taking your responsibility to raise your kids in faith, and to model it for them because their little eyes are watching. I know God will bless you and your kids for your efforts.
Honoring Father (and Mother)
But this morning’s message is not so much what we learn from fathers but what we as their kids can do to honor our dads, or the memory of our dads if you have lost him already. We are told by God in the fifth of the Ten Commandments to "honor your father and mother." The fact that one of the Ten Commandments refers to this should alert us to how important this is to God. The Apostle Paul, in our Scripture this morning, reminds the Christians in Ephesus that just because we are set free from the Law through Jesus Christ, doesn’t mean we can ignore it. This commandment is just as valid and important for us today as Christians as it was for the Israelites who first received it.