Summary: Message is a call to men to step up and fulfill their God-given role to lead spiritually. It is also a call to roles of spiritual mentorship beyond the scope of fatherhood as traditionally defined.
Missing in Action or Right on the Money?
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve ; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
The idea for creating a day for children to honor 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 had been her father who had made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Her father had been 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.
Men, America needs you! Men, your families need you. Men, your communities need you. Men, your church needs you, and God wants to use you.
The Bible says to give honor unto whom honor is due. Men, my desire in this message is to honor you. I also wish to challenge you. Today, needs abound far beyond the scope of fatherhood as traditionally defined.
Many of you have already raised your children. In fact, your children may be grown and have families of their own. If that is the case, perhaps your opportunity for spiritual influence is greater now than it has ever been. Fathers, I hate to break it to you, but your job is not finished. You have the opportunity now to mentor your adult children, to come alongside of them, not in an overbearing, intrusive way, but through a nurturing, guiding, quiet voice of experience. Experience is the greatest teacher, and you can profoundly impact your children's families through the lessons you have learned from your own past. It is amazing how hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?
You now have the opportunity to spend time with your grandchildren, time that perhaps you were not able to spend with your own children. Imagine the spiritual influence and presence you could have in molding your grandchildren's lives!
Needs abound far beyond the scope of fatherhood, as traditionally defined. Men, there are opportunities to be a fatherly spiritual influence to the fatherless, or to the spiritually orphaned. There are children everywhere without father figures in their lives. We have all kinds of programs designed to place a physical father figure in their lives. There are Big Brothers, Boy Scouts of America, foster care services, and adoption agencies, just to name a few, but do any organizations exist which place surrogate spiritual father figures in the lives of these children? Men, you could be that spiritual father-figure! I know, because God has given me that opportunity on several occasions.
One time a little boy was asked to define Father's Day and he said, "It's just like Mother's Day, only you don't spend as much on the present."
This would seem to imply that the father somehow plays a lesser role. While this is cute and we smile at it, there is at least a degree of truth to it.
Unfortunately, this often expresses itself most evidently in the case of spiritual influence.
Billy Graham put it this way, "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." I would add that a godly father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and unappreciated heroes in all humanity.
We could go to many places in The Bible for examples of godly fathers. In fact, we would do well to start right "in the beginning", if you will, where we find the very first mention of a father. It is no accident that the very first man, Adam, as soon as he had a mate, Eve, began to produce offspring. Through the union of man and wife, we see God's plan for multiplying and subduing the earth through the reproduction process, producing offspring, better known to us as children. Adam became mankind's first father.
From the very beginning God created the institution of the family.
God made a figurehead for that family, which is the father. The father is the earthly representation of the Heavenly Father. However, we live in a day and culture that purposefully tries to marginalize, or certainly minimize, the role of fathers. Through television and many other forms of media, the role of the father has been, and is still being redefined. The more the role is redefined by man, the further it gets from being what God intended for a father to be.