Summary: Discover what kind of fathers God rewards and with what kind of rewards
A couple of weeks ago, the wives and mothers hopefully received encouragement on Mother’s Day. Worry is one of the most common struggles of motherhood, and so we addressed how wives and mothers can live worry-free.
This morning, I hope to give needed encouragement to fathers. What is the one common struggle of fatherhood? The balance of work and family? No. Mothers working outside the home struggle with that also. Furthermore, balance depends on the expectation each father has from his work and his own family.
I believe the one common struggle of fathers is the need to realize the rewards for fatherhood. We need the motivation to build a loving and godly family. We need to know why fatherhood is personally important and rewarding.
A couple of years back, Susan, Esther and I flew out to Washington DC to spend time with my mentor for two weeks. One night after dinner at my mentor’s house, both Susan and I raced to the kitchen sink to do the dishes. When I beat Susan to the dishes, my mentor’s wife made the comment, "I guess Dana won."
Susan and I didn’t understand what she meant by that, because we thought the one who ends up not doing the dishes was the winner. Then she explained to us that we were racing to the dishes and away from Esther.
Both Susan and I laughed because her insight cut through our superficial servant’s spirit. It was true, both Susan and I wanted time away from Esther. We loved Esther, but when you spend an entire day playing with a child, you don’t feel you’ve accomplished much. When you get done with the dishes, you can at least see your accomplishment.
Fathers and mothers face this same temptation everyday. We are tempted to choose what offers immediate reward over what offers delayed reward. But fathers generally give into this temptation. Fathers are seldom ready to invest into the family, because we don’t see the rewards right away. So we spend enormous amounts of time and energy at our work to earn the raise and the praise from our supervisors and clients.
Few fathers know the rewards of fatherhood. The media doesn’t reward fatherhood. Shows like Home Improvement and Married with Children depict fathers as large boys without common sense, self-control or self-sacrifice.
Peter De Vries wrote, "The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." Children teach parents to have self-control, to sacrifice, and to love unconditionally. There are many other rewards to parenting.
This morning, we’ll look at what kind of fathers God rewards and with what unique rewards. Our text is Psalm 127.
First, God rewards with His help those fathers who ask for God’s help. We see this in verses 1-2.
Before CalFed Bank turned into Citibank, there was an advertisement that showed a toddler driving a parent crazy, and then words that suggest that while CalFed cannot help you take control of your child, it can at least help you take control of your finances.
Children have ways of bringing parents to our knees. And God says, "Since you’re already on your knees, why not ask Me for help?"
The American folk cliché, "God helps those who help themselves," really isn’t true. The truth is, God helps those who asks Him for help. I’ve prayed more sincere and passionate prayers in the last four years of my life than most of the other fifteen years as a Christian.
I’ve asked God to give me gentleness, perseverance, self-control and strength as we trained Esther to sleep on her own and as we potty-trained Esther. Esther has been a very healthy child, but when she has gotten sick, I’ve asked God to recover her health and strengthen her body.
Fatherhood involves protecting and providing for the family. And with the recent news about child kidnapping, Susan and I have been asking God to protect Esther. I can’t be with Esther at all times to protect her. She’s beginning school on Monday.
Asking God for His help does not mean that we do less. We still have to learn our children’s temperament, to learn parenting skills and to learn how to keep our children safe in different settings. But we do not know everything and cannot be everywhere. We are wise to depend on God to build, to protect and to provide for our family.
Fathers who ask God for help are rewarded with supernatural rest that will keep us from burning out and giving up. Without supernatural rest, we can walk out on our family, if only mentally. We may be physically there, but we are not emotionally there. God wants to give us peace and rest, so that we are renewed and enthused to face the challenges of each day.