Summary: If earthly fathers love their children, how much more must our heavenly Father love us.
How Much More
Reflections of A Father’s Heart
June 15, 2003
Start with a little Father’s Day humor...
I’ve heard this story about Jim Grinnell. Soon after his first child, Abby, was born, one day, Laura needed to go out to get some groceries, so Jim stayed home alone with Abby for the first time. After all, he was a proud papa, and knew he could handle it. Well, soon after Laura left, Abby began to fuss. Jim knew she’d just been fed, so that wasn’t her problem. As the minutes went by, she got fussier and cried more. Jim got so concerned that he took her to the doctor immediately.
He said, “doctor, I don’t know what’s wrong with her... why won’t she quit crying?” The doc began to examine little baby Abby Grinnell, starting with the eyes, ears, then listened to her heartbeat, and then opened her diaper to check her out.
“Here’s your problem,” said the doctor, looking at the full diaper. “She needs to be changed.”
Jim looked confused – kind of like he looks now hearing this story for the first time. He said to the doctor, “but I don’t understand.... the diaper box said they were good for up to ten pounds.”
That’s what’s known as an apocryphal story.
1. of doubtful authorship or authenticity.
2. false; spurious: He told an apocryphal story, but the truth was later revealed.
Father’s Day is sometimes a difficult day to preach. Mother’s Day is tougher still, but both these days are difficult for several reasons. Talking about parents is tough for some of us, because all of us didn’t have great fathers or mothers, and the very mention of parents can sometimes bring painful memories.
Yet, in the case of both mothers and fathers, scripture, in places, paints a picture of comparison, between some aspect of earthly parenting and our heavenly father. This means there are things we can learn about God from the comparison.
In the case of fathers, two passages immediately come to mind where the Word specifically compares God to earthly fathers in a “how much more” sense... showing an aspect of human fatherhood, and comparing God the Father’s perspective on these things, as being so much greater than what we see in human fathers.
These two passages compare God’s love for us in two areas:
- in the fatherly giving of good things
- and in discipline.
Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Hebrews 12:9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
In both these verses we see this phrase, how much more...
Especially with the Matthew passage, there’s even a recognition that the comparison isn’t entirely adequate – after all, it says of us as human fathers, we’re evil.
But the comparison magnifies the character of God in the process. How much more! How much more God is able to give good gifts,
Life Application commentary on this passage says:
Jesus is showing us the heart of God the Father. God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy, and we don’t have to beg or grovel as we come with our requests. He is a loving Father who understands, cares, and comforts. If humans can be kind, imagine how kind God, the Creator of kindness, can be.
Jesus used the expression “If you, then, though you are evil” to contrast sinful and fallible human beings with the holy and perfect God.
By way of comparison, we have this phrase. That’s the title of this morning’s message, How Much More, and the subtitle could be, “Reflections of a Father’s Heart” because as we reflect on many aspects of what we feel and what we do as earthly fathers, it helps us catch a glimpse of our heavenly Father.
It helps us to see in a way we can understand and relate to, how much more our heavenly Father cares for us, yes, how He feels about us, at least as much as our finite minds can grasp what we would classify as feelings, and what that means in His dealings with us.
Though this is far from an exhaustive list, I’d like to reflect briefly on five areas in which good earthly fathers can help us see God’s perspective in some ways. These are five things earthly fathers feel about their children, and scripture is clear that God feels and does the same things, in a “How Much More” sense.
The things a father feels toward his children:
1. Joy and pleasure