Summary: God the Father has taken time to create us, redeem us, and care for us.
Have you ever wondered how Father’s Day got started? According to published reports, the first Father’s day was observed in Spokane, Washington in 1910, 92 years ago. Louise Smart Dodd proposed the idea in 1909 because she wanted to honor her father who was widowed when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. He raised all 6 by himself.
She wanted to observe it the first day of June, her father’s birthday, but the Spokane city council could not get the first reading through until the third Sunday in June. Well the idea spread throughout the country and in 1924 President Coolidge declared the first observance of a national Father’s Day. President Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June Father’s Day in 1966 and in 1972, just 30 years ago, President Nixon signed into law that Father’s Day was to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June. And know you know, the rest of the story!
Several years ago when our phone companies had the last name of Bell, it was reported that Illinois Bell’s traffic had increased significantly one Father’s Day with resulting delays due the number of collect calls that we being made that day.
A successful attorney once made this statement: “The greatest gift that I ever received was a gift that I got one Christmas when my dad gave me a small box. Inside was a note saying, ‘Son, this year I will give you 365 hours, an hour every day after dinner. It’s yours. We’ll talk about what you want to talk about, we’ll go where you want to go, play what you want to play. It will be your hour!” He went on to say, “My dad not only kept his promise, but every year he renewed it – and it’s the greatest gift I ever had in my life. I am the result of his time.”
I am the result of his time. Much has been made of both the lack of, as well as the importance of, father time in our society and its affects on our society. The National Fatherhood Initiative recently listed on their web-site, (www.fatherhood.org,) the following conclusions from an analysis of over 100 studies on family life entitled, “The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence:” (overhead 1)
a. Having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother.
b. Withdrawal of love by either the father or the mother was equally influential in predicting a child’s emotional instability, lack of self-esteem, depression, social withdrawal, and level of aggression.
c. In some studies, father love was actually a better predictor than mother love for certain outcomes, including delinquency and conduct problems, substance abuse, and overall mental health and well-being.
d. Other studies found that, after controlling (allowing for) for mother love, father love was the sole significant predictor for certain outcomes, such as psychological adjustment problems, conduct problems, and substance abuse.
One of our own US Senators, Evan Bayh, has on his section of the US Senate website, (www.senate.gov,) the following sobering fact about Indiana families, over 20% of families in Indiana do not have a father present in the home. (Overhead 2)
But there is this hopeful sign on the same web page. Fathers who completed the Dads Make A Difference Program in Lafayette, Indiana reported the following results:
A. More confidence in their ability to take care of their children and meet emotional needs.
B. More cooperation with the mother of the child.
C. Less hostility towards the mother of the child.
D. More child support payments were made.
E. Improved parenting skills and more contact with the child.
Fatherhood is very, very important. We understand that when we hear the stories, both good and bad, about fathers. There is a yearning in the human soul for a wonderful relationship with dad. It is expressed in ways large and small. Good and bad.
Lowell D. Streiker, an inspirational humorist, speaker, author, and minister said in a sermon entitled, “Help Wanted, dad. Ask for Calvin and Hobbes,” “Great fathering requires three things: being there, being aware, and being real. Everything else is dessert.”
All of us here this morning are the result of our father’s time no matter how that was spent.
But, we are also the result of our Heavenly Father’s time with us. For God, our perfect father is aware of who we are, was there for us on the cross and is still here for us today, and is real in His relationship with us.
In Psalm 139 we read in verses 13 –15:
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.