Summary: There are no perfect fathers.

June 21, 2015

Father’s Day 2015

Genesis 37:1-4

Ward Cleaver’s Curse

Opening words: Last month I told you Mother’s Day was big business. According to the Chicago Tribune, the average American spent $172.63 on their mother this year. That is up $10 from last year. That means Americans spent a total of $21.2 billion on Mother’s Day. Father’s Day is big business too, but not quite as big. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spent $115.57 on their fathers. As a country, we will spend $12.5 billion on Father’s Day. This is the breakdown:

64.1% of children will get their father a card

41.5% of children will get their father a new apparel item, like a tie ($1.8 billion)

42.6% of children will get take their father on an outing, like lunch ($2.5 billion)

$1.6 billion will be spent on electronic gifts

$336 million on tools

How are you going to honor your father?

On this Father’s Day, we find ourselves in the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis. The story is a familiar one, the day Joseph received his colorful coat from his father, Jacob. It must have been a great day for him, but it wasn’t so great for his eleven brothers. Good fathers love their children equally, but Jacob loved his sons unequally. Verse three says it clearly, “Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons because he was born in his old age.” Who was your father’s favorite in your family? Our scripture lesson for today is Genesis 37:1-4. Let me call this message Ward Cleaver’s Curse.

Genesis 37:1-4 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.

2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line.

Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.


Neil Kennedy once said, “There is no greater influence in the lives of your children than the words you speak over them. The blessing of the father is incredibly potent and powerful. Your words give your children potential. As their father, you are prophesying their future!” Speaking as a father, I couldn’t agree more. If you can agree with those words, say, “Amen!”

The Unrealistic

How many of you remember Ward Cleaver? You have to be my age or older to remember him. He was the television father of the show, Leave It to Beaver. The show ran from 1957-1963. I just remember it as a rerun. Ward was an exceptional father, husband and community leader. He seemed to have a simple answer to all the family’s problems. There is no other way to say it. Ward was a good man, but he was also a lucky man. Because, he was married to June. She was a sweetheart. She did all the housework in her dress and high heels. She was always baking cookies for their two sons, Walter and Theodore. Ward and June called them Wally and the Beaver. If I remember correctly, Wally had two close friends, Lumpy and Eddie Haskell. (Eddie was just simply a jerk.) Beaver had two friends, Larry Mondello and Whitey. I will never forget the episode where Beaver fell in love with his teacher, Miss Landers. I always liked Leave It to Beaver because all their problems were solved in 30 minutes. Do you wish you could solve all your problems in 30 minutes? You know it is true. No one questioned Ward’s love for his family. No one questioned his future employment. He had no skeletons hiding in his closet. He had no addictions. No one questioned the fact that Ward Cleaver was the foundation of his family. Ward Cleaver was the perfect husband and father. Can I be honest with you? I wish my children could have been raised in the Cleaver home. My home (and yours) had too many imperfections.

They tell us that good fathers possess twelve characteristics. Ward Cleaver seemed to have them all. I am short a few. These are the twelve:

1. He’s a good disciplinarian

2. He allows to let his children make their own mistakes

3. He is open-minded

4. He teaches his children to appreciate things

5. He accepts the fact his children aren’t exactly like him

6. He spends quality time with his children

7. He leads of example

8. He is supportive and loyal

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