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Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Does The Ideal Father Look Like?

I once heard a man say that people make far more fuss over Mother's Day than they do Father's Day. Well, according to statistics, Father's Day spending seems to be on the heels of Mother's Day figures by around five billion dollars. And Dad is not just getting neckties and socks anymore. He is getting high end products like ipads, cell phones and golf clubs.

That is all very good, but what do we want from Dad? When I listen to a lot of men speak, they don't seem to have had much of a relationship with their fathers. And that's a shame, because fathers are, or ought to be, the backbone of the home - the one who keeps it from falling apart. It is no secret that children from homes where the father is absent, physically or emotionally, are more likely to drop out of school and/or end up in jail or on the streets. Sadly, a disproportionate number of African American homes fall into this category.

So what does the ideal father do to keep his home strong and stable? As always, the answers are in the Bible. The ideal father:

1. Builds his house upon the rock. Jesus said, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock" (Matthew 7: 24 - 25).

What was Jesus referring to? He was referring to the storms of life that we all inevitably experience. The father who builds his house on the foundation of God's word does not have to fear the storms. His house will remain strong, no matter how much the storms rage.

2. Demonstrates love. Not just to his kids, but to those around him. He treats his wife like a queen; he does not abuse her or speak harshly to her, but loves her "as Christ loves the church." When his sons see that, they will follow his example. The ideal father demonstrates love to his children by the way he disciplines them - with love. The Bible says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath : but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6 : 4).

3. Gives. The ideal father gives to his family, his community and his church. He is not mean or stingy, but gives liberally of all that he has. He works hard to provide well for his family, but he also gives of his time. No amount of toys or gifts can replace the time a man spends with his family. The father who takes his sons fishing, his wife and/or daughters to the mall (yes, to the mall) or just hangs out with them on a weekend is more appreciated than the one who lavishes them with expensive gifts and then disappears until Sunday night. 

Being a father is no easy task, neither is it to be taken for granted. In order to be a good father a man needs to be equipped. There is only one training manual for that - the word of God. Fathers, read it daily. Feast on it day and night. Pray to God; He is the only ideal Father, but if you ask Him, He will give you the wisdom and strength to fulfill this exciting role. Call on Him today. Happy Father's Day! 
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