Summary: There is a danger in being an absentee dad.
Well, it has been a year since many of us first met because a year ago today was the day I candidated here. It was a day of you were checking me out and I was checking you out. The year has gone quickly by and I hope that you have been as pleased as I have been about the coming together we have done.
Again, I consider it an honor and a privilege to be your pastor. I think that we have had a great year and, because of God’s desire and mission for us, a great future as well.
I was going to wrap-up this current series today: Temptations Families Face, based on the book of the same title that is written by Tom Eisenman, but because we are honoring our High School grads and promoting our children next week, we will have what I call an appendixed sermon entitled: The Dangers of Giving Up On Our Children. I hope that you will join us.
Today is Father’s Day! And in honor of all that is good and true about being a dad and a man and, dare I say it? A GUY! Here is a list, entitled, Great Reasons To Be A Guy that features some absolutely truthful reasons about being one!
· Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
· You can kill your own food.
· Three pairs of shoes are way more than enough.
· You can quietly watch a game with your buddy for hours without ever thinking, "He must be mad at me."
· Wedding dress: $2,000. Tuxedo rental: $75.
· If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you just might become life-long friends.
· You are not expected to know the names of more than five colors.
· The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
· Your belly usually hides your big hips.
· One wallet, one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
Today though, is a day about one aspect, a very important aspect, of manhood – fatherhood. When one mentions the word ‘father’ there are often a wide range of reactions – from tears of joy to the pain and anger of disgust. Why is this the case?
While on vacation a few weeks ago, I was in the hotel room and, like the rest of the family, unwinding from the day’s travels and events. We had the TV on and a Promise Keepers commercial came on. Promise Keepers, I would remind us, is a wonderful organization, that reminds men of their God-given roles as a husband, dad, and man of God.
The commercial started with a boy in the back-yard who had rigged some kind of contraption that would mimic his dad’s voice that spoke words of encouragement and involvement to a pitching/hitting nylon backstop. The expression on the boy’s face was what caught my attention – it was sad and somewhat hallow. He was seeking to artificially relate to his father who was not in the back yard with him.
Where was dad? Dad was in the family room crashed in the large recliner in front of the TV with the remote on his hand. He sees out the large windows into the backyard and his expression too, says much. He is dressed in a shirt and tie and looks both exhausted from the events of the day and guilty for not being out there with his son. The tension is evident in his face. He knows that he should be out there but his body language says that he is exhausted – mentally, emotionally, and physically.
That commercial expresses the main idea of my remarks not just to my fellow fathers but also to all of us today and the need to address and admit to the very real temptation of becoming absentee fathers.
Now what is an absentee father? In an article published on the Assemblies of God website, Ron Roberts acquaints us with three kinds of absentee fathers: Physically-absent, Treated-as-absent, and Spiritually absent
Physically-absent fathers, notes Roberts have caused major social ills that will have far-reaching consequences in the generations to come. He goes on to note what many of us already know; that the affects of physically absent fathers has been far reaching and damaging beyond belief.
Treated-as-absent father, writes Roberts have failed to meet their children’s socialization needs. What does this mean? Quoting Dr Wade Horn who conducted the National Fatherhood Initiative, boys require an affirmation that they are man enough, while girls require an affirmation that they are worthy enough. A father, who is treated-as-absent, does not have an impact on the socialization of his children that is really necessary for their positive development.
Finally, observes Roberts, when fathers are spiritually absent, [they] have no spiritual impact in the lives of [their] children, [and they] convey an unclear image of exactly who God is.