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Summary: A Father’s Day message - fatherhood (and parenthood) is more about making me holy than making me happy

It’s Not About Me, and It Is

TCF Sermon

June 17, 2007

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. If there’s ever a day we dads can say what I’m about to say, with at least some authenticity to it, and without sounding like total narcissists, it’s Father’s Day. What I want to say is this:

It’s all about me.

After all, I’m a father. And it’s Father’s Day. So, at least in my house, it’s all about me. If you’re the dad in your house, then it’s all about you.

At least, if I were to buy fully into our culture, I might really think this. And of course, our culture is inclined to think this, even beyond special days like Father’s Day.

We think of Father’s Day as a day to honor and remember our fathers. And that’s a good thing – nothing wrong with that. But, did you know the original Father’s Day, first proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924, had more to do with turning men into good fathers than it had to do with enabling dads to say, on this day, it’s all about me?

With President Coolidge’s declaration of that first Father’s Day 83 years ago, he said the purpose of the holiday was to – and I quote:

"establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of obligations."

Isn’t it interesting how prophetic Calvin Coolidge was? Prophetic at least in recognizing how fathers need to fulfill the full measure of their obligations as fathers? It wasn’t until the 1990s when we began to debate the effects of fatherlessness on our culture, whether children were without dads because of divorce, or out of wedlock births, or abandonment.

Now, knowing what we know about the social costs of this, you’d have to be an idiot to deny that fathers who do not fulfill the full measure of their obligation, both financially and emotionally, are putting their children, and our society, at risk.

And the reason for that is that too many dads, too many parents – moms are not off the hook here either, think that somehow, parenthood is all about them, just like almost everything else is all about them. Of course, this is just reflective of what Timothy wrote in 2 Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:1-2 (NASB77) 1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self,

Now, the list of the many things in our sinful human nature that will make the last days difficult times, goes on from there, and it’s quite a list. It’s not a list any of us would like our behavior to be included in. But I stop there, because verse 2 relates to the idea that I expressed a moment ago. Men will be lovers of self. It’s all about me. The words translated lovers of self here are pretty clear. It means self-centered. At the extreme it means narcissistic. How ironic that the word love is used here. It illustrates the limitations of our English language when compared to the Greek. Because when we read what real, God-given, agape love is, it’s a completely different word than the root word used in the passage

where it says men will be lovers of self.

When we read about agape love, we read that love is not self-seeking (1 Cor 13:5). It’s a different kind of love, isn’t it?

So, when it comes to fatherhood, when it comes to parenthood, our culture says it’s OK for parents to say, it’s all about me, it’s about my fulfillment, my satisfaction, my happiness.

After all, you deserve it. Isn’t that what some commercials tell you? But the Word of God tells us something completely different. I’ve called this morning’s message It’s Not About me, and It Is.

Stick with me here. How can it be both/and? How can it not be all about me, and also be all about me? Here’s how:

Because fatherhood, parenthood, is not about making me happy, but it is about making me holy. Let me say that again. It’s not about me and it is.

Fatherhood is not about making me happy, but it is about making me holy.

This is what I want to spend some time pondering this morning. Now, I think we can say this about many things in life, at least if we’re followers of Christ. That is, we can say that this thing in my life is not about making me happy, but it is about making me holy.

We might be able to say it about our jobs, or our school. We can say it about other relationships. We can definitely say it about marriage. In fact, there’s a book called Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. That’s the theme of this book.

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