'Honor your father and mother’ is the first commandment with promise. The Bible shows us reasons to honor our fathers as well as our spiritual Father.
'Honor your father and mother' is the first commandment with promise. Honor your father and mother. Exodus chapter 20 verse 12 is the commandment and today I would like to focus on the first part of who we are supposed to honor and that is honor your father. Now a lot of the things I have to say would certainly go along with honoring your mother, too. But since tomorrow is Father's Day, I thought it appropriate to give a message talking about fathers. I guess I could ask another question while you are turning there. How many of you have a father? Let's see the hands. You know what? Everybody has a father, right? We all had a father. Now we may not have had a dad, but we all had a father or we wouldn't be here. We all have fathers. That's one thing we share in common. We all have fathers and I'm going to assume a normal father, okay? I know there have been fathers that probably some would just as soon forget and I'm not dealing with the exception. Okay? So please don't think I'm trying to force something here where fathers who have been abusive or have been hurtful to their children, who have forgotten them or abandoned them - that I'm trying to force anything in them. I'm not. So I'll just say that right up front and there have been some and that's a shame! But I'd like to talk about normal fathers. And I would like to talk about honoring your father. And notice in Exodus chapter 20, verse 12:
Ex. 20:12 - Honor your father and your mother...
The word, honor here comes from the Hebrew word, kabad, and it means to make weighty, to really make important, to really make it heavily important, to promote; it means to enrich; it means to glorify; and it means to honor. Honor your father and mother! And you know what the word for father is? Ab. And do you know what the first word in the entire Old Testament Strong's Concordance is? Ab. You want to look it up? #1 is Ab and I think it's interesting because God certainly is number one. But He says, Honor your father and mother that your... – here is the promise ...that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you. You want to live long? He says, you want to fulfill the promise of living long? Honor your father and mother.
Deuteronomy adds just a little more to this in Deut. 5 and verse 16, the re-giving of the Ten Commandments, reiterating them.
Deut. 5:16 - 'Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
So He says, if you want things to go well for you – not only just live long, but if you want things to go well with you - honor your father and mother.
Malachi 4:6 Malachi 4:6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
American King James Version×talks about one of the responsibilities that seemingly befalls our church. And He, talking about Elijah, the prophet, whom He would send before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord ...and He shall turn... verse 6 ...the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. And there's no better time to turn your heart to your fathers, if you are a child - no better time than on Father's Day.
Why should we honor our fathers anyway? What is there to honor about a father? Why should we pay any attention? Why should we even care to honor our fathers? What is there to honor about a father? I want to read to you a couple of quotes. This one comes from a book called 'To a Wonderful Father' that I picked up and purchased – nobody gave it to me, I just purchased it. But I'd like to share with you what it talks about a father is:
'God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
And the calm of a quiet sea;
The generous soul of nature
And the comforting arms of night;
The wisdom of the ages
And the power of the eagle's flight;
The joy of the morning in spring
And the faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity
And the death of a family's need.
Then God combined these qualities
And when there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete
And so He called it Dad.
And so we have dads and fathers. Some say anybody can be a father, but not everybody is a dad. I want to share with you how important a father is from page 60 of this book, 'The Family'. It was put out by the Royal Bank of Canada. I've used it liberally over the years because it is a fantastic book. It was written by a man who was employed by the Royal Bank of Canada in order to write things, to stimulate and stir the people who work for the United – for the United... for the Royal Bank of Canada – United being royal already - that's good, that's a good thought. But, anyway, the Royal Bank of Canada put it out and they took all of his letters which he wrote every month and they collected them because these were all about the family. But I would like to share with you just a part of page 60. It says,
'As to the father's place in the family, there are two ideas. One recalls the strange habit of the marmosets. After feeding her baby marmoset, the mother hands it over to be taken care of by the 'old man'. From thereon it is his responsibility. The other extreme is seen in Dagwood's family life...' (You know, the comic strip, Blondie and her husband Dagwood.) '...He is kind, dutiful, diligent and well meaning, but he has so completely given up any claim to authority that the family would risk breakup and disaster if it were not for Blondie. Somewhere in between those extremes is the true place of fathers. They are necessary...' listen '...they are necessary if children are to grow up to be well balanced adults. Out of the power and wisdom Father possesses in their eyes, children compensate for their feelings of being small and weak and helpless. It is from fathers that children obtain their ideals about the 'rules of the game'.' It's the father who generally lays down the law. It's the father who's looked upon as kind of the anchor of the family. That doesn't mean that the mother is irrelevant, certainly not. They have to work hand in glove and the mother provides that warmth and that compassion, that emotion. But the father is there to provide the strength and the direction and the guidance in the family.
So why should we honor our fathers? What is there to honor about a father? I did some thinking about this this morning – working on it last night and this morning – I took some collections. I've given sermons over the years – several sermons on Father's Day when I've had the opportunity to be assigned the sermon just prior to it. And I'd like to share with you what I believe fathers provide.
My father is in his ninety-fifth year. He's 94 now. He's going through a little hard time now. He has a rash on his body and he thinks its chicken pox. They're not sure. Chicken pox for an older person is not easy. And my dad never took a pill up until he was about 92. And so all his life he never so much as took an aspirin. So when he gets sick, he feels a little bit down. I have what I consider a wonderful father. And the reason I feel I have a wonderful father is because he had to learn everything he knew not by seeing his dad who died when he was like one or two years old. And not because he saw a step-dad who was awful to him, but because he learned it on his own to be a good dad, to do the things that dads ought to do – to love, to provide, to be an example for, to care about, to do things, to give up of himself, to teach. He only went to grade 7, but he helped me with all types of problems that were science, chemical, chemistry and upper math, but he only went to grade seven. He can still work crossword puzzles far better than I can with a Master's Degree in Education. He's one that I admire and respect a lot and I often pray to God and say, 'You know, God, I am very thankful that my dad is still alive because you have given me a sense of what it is like - your term, the Ancient of Days - to know what it's like to have someone live that long.' I'm a grandpa and I still have a dad alive. He's 94, going to be 95 – in his 95th year.
So what do fathers provide? First of all, 1 Timothy 5 verse 8. Fathers are charged to provide. One scripture that certainly if there is going to be a husband, if there is going to be a father, he says in chapter 5 and verse 8 of 1 Timothy:
1Tim. 5:8 - But if any provide not for his own... and certainly the husband's and father's responsibility ...if any provide not for his own, especially for those of his own house... and I know the primary meaning here is talking about providing for your widow, but we're talking about providing. If you are going to provide for whatever widow is in your family, how much more should you provide for your wife; how much more should you provide for your children. If he doesn't provide for his own, he ...is worse than an infidel.
But what do fathers provide? First of all, fathers provide life. Without our fathers, we would not be here. And if you go back to Genesis 21 verses 1 to 3. We see that fathers generate life. I try to be tasteful in the scriptures that I pick.
Genesis 21:1 Genesis 21:1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had spoken.
American King James Version×- And the LORD visited Sarah as he said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken
Verse 2 - And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.
Verse 3 - And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.
Fathers generate children. So here you have Abraham generating his son.
Genesis 30 and verses 1 and 2 - this is interesting, too. It really is amazing. Abraham and Sarah couldn't have children. Isaac and Rebekah couldn't have children. Jacob and Rachel couldn't have children. It took special intervention from God to bless all three. But interesting, in Genesis 30 and verses 1 and 2.:
Genesis 30:1 Genesis 30:1And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
American King James Version×- Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children... when she saw that ...Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. You have a responsibility, Jacob. Give me children or I die!
And verse 2 - And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb? It was considered a curse in Old Testament times if you didn't have children.
My wife and I didn't have children for five years. We wanted children after one, so for four years we waited. And we know what it is like and we really thought we would be childless the rest of our lives. And then we were anointed one month and the next month my wife conceived and God blessed us with children – two girls. And so we consider that a real blessing, but during those four years I watched parents. I watched what parents did to their kids, because when you don't have children, you really pay attention to children. And I watched what parents did to their children and I made mental notes and my wife made mental notes of the good and the bad and the ugly. And we saw a lot of good, we saw some bad and we saw some ugly as we saw children being, you know, trained or reared – whatever. But, a father generates. So the first thing there is to be thankful for is that you are alive and that your father, regardless of who he is and what he is, brought you into life.
Secondly, fathers provide food, shelter and warmth. Food, shelter and warmth. We lived on a little, small farm from my grade 2 to grade 10 – eight years we lived on a little, small farm. And you know, if you saw the place I lived in, you would probably never want to live there. It was just a little, small - basically a four room house. That was it. And it was half a house. It was a farm house that was converted to accommodate two families. The moment you opened the door, you walked right into the kitchen. Open the door, you walk into the kitchen and then you had a living room and then you went upstairs and you had to go through my brother, Dave and my bedroom – we had the same bedroom – and there was a play area there, too. You go through that bedroom - that play area - to get to the bathroom. So anytime we had guests, they had to go through our bedroom. And then my parents had a bedroom off of that. You know what? I was happy. And I never remember feeling bad that I lived in such a place. When I look now at what people have, this would not be looked upon as anything great, but it was the happiness that came with the home and not the dimensions of the house. And we had lots of fun – and we made our own fun. But I remember my dad. I remember the closeness that we would have and we looked forward to playing croquet together. We'd look forward to sitting down and watching television together. Sitting down at the table – we always learned the habit of sitting down at meals together, especially the last meal of the day. And we would enjoy it. We would always have a snack later on in the evening as we ate dinner about 4 o'clock – so we would always have some type of half a sandwich or some potato chips or something about 8 o'clock at night. And that's how we grew up. But we shared it together and there was that opportunity to be together, the warmth that we had. And I never once ever remember having my parents talk about 'Boy, I don't know where we are going to get money from.' 'I don't know where we are going to have food from.' And I know my dad, after he lost his first job, after we had our service station / restaurant and lived at that particular place, when we moved back to the place where I was born, we moved back to that city, that town, to resume my school at grade 11, my dad lost his job and I never ever heard them say, 'Well, how are we going to provide any food?' Nor do I remember coming home and hearing them say, 'We don't have enough food for you.' They always provided and that was a blessing – that was a real blessing.
Look at Luke chapter 11. Luke chapter 11 and verse 13. What does a father do? A father provides. He provides life; a father provides food, shelter and warmth. In this case, Luke. 11 verse 13 we see the food aspect of it.
Lk. 11:11 - If a son shall ask... this parable that Jesus Christ gave ...If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? When your children want food, wouldn't you sacrifice for them? Many times I've given food away to my kids that I wanted. I've given them the choice piece when I wanted it. Do you give it away? Yeah. Parents do. Parents give to their children. 'Here, you have this.' 'Here, you take this.' Parents give. And he goes on to say, ...will he give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish... instead of the fish ...will he give him a serpent?
Verse 12 - Or if he asks an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
'Here are some scrambled scorpions. I hope you enjoy those this morning.' No, you give them eggs. One thing, I had a reputation. I could make a really good peanut butter and jelly sandwich and my younger brother and sister loved the way I could make eggs. They loved it better than my mother's, because I didn't make runny eggs. When I make my scrambled eggs, they are not runny, okay? So there's a way of liking eggs.
Verse 13 - If you then, being evil... if you then, being evil ...know how to give good gifts ...see, Jesus Christ assumed that parents just give these things or He wouldn't have used that parable. What father, if he is asked for food will give his kid a rock? What father, if he is asked for a gift will give him nothing or give him something harmful to him? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
So He talks about a father. A father gives and a father provides the food. Notice verses 5 to 7. A father provides warmth. I always wondered why I liked to jump into bed with my parents from time to time when I was little. Here's why. They provide warmth. Notice Luke chapter 11 and verse 5.
Lk. 11:5 - And he said to them, Which of you... another parable ...shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves. Now, first of all, this guy must be having a midnight snack. Why is he going at midnight and asking for three loaves of bread?
Verse 6 - For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? I need some... 'Can't you wait for tomorrow?' He comes to him at midnight.
And Verse 7 - And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed...
The warmth that you feel - I remember as a little kid. I remember getting up out of bed and I remember running in and jumping in bed. There was something warm about being in bed with my parents. Now, it's not a healthy thing for them to do regularly, I grant you, but from time to time when I used to feel the need for some warmth, I'd jump up and run into bed. There was just something comforting to be there. And it's a warmth that parents can spread and can give to their children that's very valuable. And here you find that warmth being illustrated in the scriptures.
Let's also notice in Proverbs 19 and verse 14 under this same heading of food, shelter and warmth.
Proverbs 19:14 Proverbs 19:14House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
American King James Version×- House and riches are the inheritance of fathers...
Parents are supposed to be looking after their children. Parents are supposed to be helping their children in life. I remember one time when we were serving in the Buffalo, New York area and I was asked to move to Toronto, Canada back in 1968 and before you move into Canada, you want to take all the things you can take up there because it is very expensive to buy the same thing in Canada - fewer people, higher costs. You don't have as much volume and consequently any goods are more expensive. We were moving to a place that had a dining room area and we didn't have a dining room set. So I thought, what do I do about this? How do I get – I don't have the money saved up to buy that? The same way, I'm sure Mr. Pinelli and others, we went from check to check – check to check and that was basically it. So I remember we found the place where we could get a really good price, but we didn't have the money to buy it. So I called my dad. And I never liked to call and ask him for money. Not that he ever made me feel that way, I just didn't like it. And I remember calling him and saying, 'Dad,' you know, I'm hemming and hawing around, 'I'm not real sure, you know, we're moving to Canada. Do you think, perhaps, maybe you could loan me some money?' And he said, 'Shame on you!' And I said, 'I hate to even ask.' And he said, 'Shame on you. Shame on you for being afraid to ask. How much do you need? Of course, I'll send it to you.' And I was all worried about even asking for a loan and you know what he did when I paid him some back? He brought the check one time and tore it up. 'I don't want any more.' He gave it to me. But, I was concerned because I didn't want to ask for help and he said, shame on you. If you can't as your father for help, who can you ask? And it always sticks in my mind, that wonderful example that was set.
Proverbs 13 and verse 22 in the same light.
Prob. 13:22 - A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. But a good man saves up. And it reminds me of my grandfather. Before my grandfather died, even though he had to be helped by his children in his latter days because of his illness, you know what he did? He had $10,000 in the bank. He had 10 children. He would not let anybody touch that money because when he died he wanted each child – now a thousand dollars at that time was not too tremendous, but it was still better than nothing – and he wanted to make sure that every one of his children inherited $1,000. Even though he needed help for other things, he would not let them touch that $10,000 because he had saved it up for his children. And, of course, my parents passed part of that blessing on to us children as well. So food, shelter and warmth we have received from our family.
Another thing we have received from our fathers – one of the reasons we need to honor our fathers - is love. We receive love from our fathers. In their own way, not all fathers are gushing. Not all fathers are as expressive as others. But I will share a couple of scriptures with you and then I will read you a comment that I have here in a moment. But in Genesis 22 and verse 2 we see that Abraham loved his son and we see that Isaac loved his son and we see that Jacob loved his son. And so we see, again, this pattern.
But in Genesis 22:2 Genesis 22:2And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.
American King James Version×- And he said, Take now your son... when he was supposed to go sacrifice Isaac, Abraham is told ...take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love... Normal fathers love their children. Normal fathers love their children. And he says ...whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you about. But he loved him.
Notice Gen. 25 and verse 28. Here we find in this case that regarding Isaac and his twins. Now Isaac and Rebekah did not have good childrearing methods. But in Genesis 25:28 Genesis 25:28And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
American King James Version×here we have these twin boys, Esau and Jacob,
Genesis 25:28 Genesis 25:28And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
American King James Version×- Isaac loved Esau... loved Esau ...because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. So we take it from this verse that while the father loved, he was prejudicial to the one over the other.
But I can tell you, when I go home my dad still kisses me. He grabs me and he kisses me and I feel the whiskered kiss of my dad. He shaves every other day whether he has to or not and if it's the every other day, then I feel the whiskered kiss, but he still will kiss me and hug me. You know, there is something great about people who are strong who still love because when people are strong you don't expect them to be loving, too. And when you have somebody who is strong and who is also loving, there is something very special about that. And that bond between a father and a son, there is something very special – or a father and a daughter – and I maintain that daughters need their dads just as much as boys do. They may not need the example as much, but they need the security, they need the strength, they need to feel the sense of emotional strength that that dad can give and that general protection that a dad can provide.
Over in Gen. 37, verse 3 we see, in this case, Jacob.
Genesis 37:3 Genesis 37:3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.
American King James Version×- Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age... and because he was the son of his wife, the wife that he had asked for and he got hoodwinked and ended up with a different wife, Leah, the sister. This was the first son of the wife that he loved. He ...loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.
And chapter 46:29 we see the love that they had one for another and, of course, the grieving that Jacob went through when he thought that Joseph had been killed or eaten of animals. And in Gen. chapter 46 and verse 29 we find their meeting when they finally found out that Joseph was still alive. Notice:
Genesis 46:29 Genesis 46:29And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself to him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
American King James Version×- Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself to him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
Verse 30 - And Israel said to Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are yet alive - at least six years since they had seen each other.
We just saw on the news the other day that Kobe Bryant, basketball player for the LA Lakers – I know they didn't make it in, but anyway, the LA Lakers' forward - he and his father hadn't spoken in four years and he said they had just gotten back together three weeks ago and he just said, 'I am so happy about life because I have a dad that's with me, that's on my side.'
I want to read you a quote about the love of a father and this is a touching story. It says, 'A young, successful attorney said, 'The greatest gift I ever received...'' and you know what? The greatest thing you can do for your children is to be with them. The greatest thing you can do with your children is to spend time with them. I remember when my dad would take me to basketball games - not basketball - baseball games, Little League baseball games and sit there and watch us fumble around on the field when he was tired after working all day and he would still take me. And I never knew the love there was until I took my daughters to softball games – Little League softball games and watched them fumble around the field for, you know, periods of time. Then I realized the love of my dad toward me, the time he gave. And what children really want is your time. That really means something. This talks about, 'the young attorney said, 'The greatest gift I ever received was the gift 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, we'll play where you want to play. It will be your hour.' My dad not only kept his promise,' he said, 'but every year he renewed it. And it's the greatest gift I ever had in my life, the result of his time.' And I think so many of us don't even begin to realize how much our fathers mean to us and what an impact they can have.
Let's talk about strength. Fathers need strength and I remember hearing stories from my dad. My dad would tell us about how he had to punch out this guy who was trying to make a move on my mother and how he took this guy on. They said, 'Leo, don't do it.' My dad was a weight lifting champion in this city and he could take 97 pounds - a 97 pound deadweight – not a regular weight, grab it with one hand and lift it over his head in his prime. And in the whole tin mill where he worked, nobody could do that but him. So they all knew my dad was strong. So my dad was out in somebody else's territory and this guy was trying to get smart with my mother and so my dad said, 'Look, quit getting smart with her or I'm going to intervene.' So the guy tried to do it again - the guy tried to do it again and my dad took him and throttled him up against the wall and everybody else was afraid. 'You'd better get out of here because this guy's got a gang.' My dad said, 'I don't care.' And they never went after him.
But the strength that he had, just knowing that he was there at the games with me, just sitting there at the games, knowing he was there watching me gave me great support. When I was a little kid, I used to be afraid of the dark. When I became a dad, I was no longer afraid of the dark. I couldn't be because I had kids who were afraid of the dark so I needed to be strong for them. But when I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. But do you know when I was never afraid of the dark? It was when my dad was home. When my dad was home I wasn't afraid of the dark. Dads are a strength. Dads are a strength to us.
I remember going to picnics. My dad used to bowl and his bowling group would have a picnic once a year in the summer. I looked forward to going to that picnic so much. You know why? Because I got to play volleyball with my dad. And, you know, my dad is smaller – shorter than I am – he used to be almost six feet, now he's about 5'8'. He has shrunk into his – you know, our bones degenerate and so on. Anyway, he's about 5'8' now. He's smaller than I am, shorter than I am. But at that time I thought he was a giant. I thought he was a giant. And if I could get out there and play with him, see him hit that ball and spike it. It made me feel so good to know, there was my dad. My dad could do that. And you know, you have kids who will say, my dad can do anything. My dad can beat up your dad – you know that type of thing. It's my dad and I loved him and appreciated him and he, of course, told all types of stories. And he took me to the baseball games and to those picnics I truly enjoyed – his help and concern.
Proverbs 17 and verse 6 - kids really do look up to Dad. They really do look up to Dad and they look to him for the strength and help that he can give. I have a couple of quotes on strength for you.
Proverbs 17:6 Proverbs 17:6Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
American King James Version×- Children's children are the crown of old men... to have grandchildren there with you is a blessing, and a blessing that you cannot even begin to imagine. Grandparenting is awesome! But ...the glory of children are their fathers. The glory of children are their fathers. To be able to look up to their dads, to be able to have a dad there that's respectable. My dad was hardworking and honest. My dad worked hard and he worked diligently and when he quit at 72 you know what they told him? 'Oh, please don't quit. You're the only one in our company who makes us any money. You are the only one that does more as an electrician and brings money in for us. Please, don't go. The others just justify their salary and basically keep the company afloat. You're the only one that makes us money.' And when others were ready to go to the bar and quit early, he was still finishing up another job all the way through. Younger guys would say, let me go up that ladder for you. I have great admiration and appreciation for his example because it helps me in life. The glory of children are their fathers.
I want to read you a quote.
When God Made Fathers.
This is a parable. 'When the good Lord was creating fathers, he started with a tall frame and a female angel...' and I know there are no female angels ...'a female angel nearby said, 'What kind of a father is that? If you're going to make children so close to the ground, why do you have to put fathers up so high? He won't be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.' God smiled and said, 'Yes, but if I make him child-sized, who would children have look up to?'
'When God made a father's hands, they were made large and sinewy. The angel shook her head sadly and said, 'Do you know what you're doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can't manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands, ponytails, or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats.'
'God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. The angel nearly had a heart attack. 'Boy, this is the end of a week, alright,' she clucked, 'do you realize you just made a father without a lap? How's he going to pull a child close to him without a kid falling between his legs?' God smiled and said, 'A mother needs a lap, a father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, to balance a boy on a bicycle, or to hold a sleepy head.''
And I remember many times as about a 7 or 8 year old – I could walk, I wasn't crippled or anything – as a 7 or 8 year old after maybe a 40 minute drive in the car, late at night we would get in. I could tell when we were coming down the lane, I was asleep before, but I could wake up a little bit and I could tell as we got down the end of the lane we were almost home. And I would hear them saying, 'Oh, look. Gary's asleep back there.' And my mother would say, 'Leo, carry him upstairs. Carry him to his bed.' It felt so good. My dad would lift me up and carry me to my bed. I was awake. I could have gotten up and walked. But the strength of a dad, the comfort - and don't tell me you haven't done it, too. I know because I've talked to, seen people. All right.
'God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain himself...' or herself '...no longer. 'That's not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?' God smiled and said, 'They'll work. You'll see. They'll support a small child who wants to ride a horse or scare off mice in a summer cabin or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill.' God worked throughout the night giving the father few words, but a firm, authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, as an afterthought, he added tears.'
I thought that was really cute. Here's another one:
All of Dad's Hands
'A little girl was walking home...' – talking about strength – '...a little girl was walking home with her father one night and as they trudged along in the darkness, she said, 'Take my hand, Papa. I can only take a little piece of yours, but you can take the whole of mine.' Later she asked, 'Papa, are you afraid?' 'No' he replied. And she said, 'All right. If you're not, I am not either.''
Taking the hands of - my dad had big hands because he worked as an electrician for a long time.
One more quote talking about male leadership in the home. 'The western world,' this is by Dr. Dobson, 'the western world stands at a great crossroads in its history. In my opinion, our very survival as a people will depend upon the presence or absence of masculine leadership in millions of homes. I believe with everything within me that husbands or fathers hold the keys to the preservation of the family.' So, strength is really an important item that they add and bring to us and one we need to be grateful for.
Instruction is the next one. Instruction. Proverbs 4 verse 1. We read about the responsibility of fathers to teach.
Proverbs 4:1 Proverbs 4:1Hear, you children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
American King James Version×- Hear, you children... listen, children ...to the instruction of the father, and attend to know understanding.
Listen to your fathers. And too many times we don't learn from our fathers, too many times we don't ask our fathers. And I know, as a sixteen year old my favorite expression was, 'I know!' My dad would say, 'How do I do...' 'I know!' 'I'd like you to do this...' 'I know!' 'I'd like you to do...' 'I know!' But you know what? My dad said, 'Wait a minute. How do you know? You've never done that before in your life!' – telling me something electrical. I didn't, but my comment was, 'I know.' It wasn't until later that I knew how much my dad knew and how little I didn't. Parents teach and we need to learn from them.
Deuteronomy 6:7 Deuteronomy 6:7And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
American King James Version×They are supposed to teach God's life. A father and a mother both working at it and since we are talking about Father's Day, fathers have a responsibility to teach their children, a heavy responsibility to teach them the right way of life. And if you teach them the right way of life and are an example of the right way of life, your children will last for multiple generations. But in Deut. chapter 6 and verse 7 we read,
Deut. 6:7 - And you shall teach them... the words of God ... you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
The trouble with many of our families today is they don't eat together. Everybody has his own food that they can take out of the freezer, cook up by themselves. Everybody goes on his own way and it's probably true of breakfasts and lunches, but it shouldn't be true for dinner. If you don't capture the opportunity of being with your children every dinner you can, you are losing a great opportunity to converse, to talk, to find out how the day was, and to give that example, that instruction and that teaching.
Ephesians 6:4 Ephesians 6:4And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
American King James Version×We read here that fathers are supposed to bring their children up.
Ephesians 6:4 Ephesians 6:4And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
American King James Version×- And, you fathers, don't provoke your children to wrath... and that's another thing. I remember counseling with a young man who said his dad provoked him to fight and then his dad, being stronger, would beat him up. And that's a bad example of dealing with your children, but an apt one here. Don't provoke your children. Don't push them beyond. ... you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up... educate them ...bring them up in the nurture... the discipline, it means, the teaching, the structure ...and admonition of the Lord.
God has laid the responsibility on parents to teach, and certainly here we are talking about fathers to teach. Hebrews chapter 12. Along with teaching, along with teaching also comes correction. Hebrews chapter 12 verses 7 – 10 and it's interesting how God expected correction would come.
In Hebrews 12:7 Hebrews 12:7If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?
American King James Version×- If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom a father does not chasten?
God expects that we will be disciplining – we'll be dealing with our children.
Verse 8 - But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not sons.
Verse 9 - Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which have corrected us, and we gave them reverence... or respect ...shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?
There needs to be that when there is correction given. It does put you in a proper frame. One time I was saying something and my dad – he didn't like it and he just went BOOM. I was sitting close enough by - got me right in the face. I shut up real fast! It was the only time he had to do that, but I learned. And it's important. It's important. And I'm not saying to hit people in the face, but you should discipline. Discipline is necessary and discipline shows love.
But Verse 10 - For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure... and sometimes parents do, they wait to give correction and teaching until they are exasperated. If they are in a good mood, they are going to let that slide; but if they are in a bad mood, it doesn't slide. That teaches the kid no consistency. And we should do it not for our pleasure. They have done it ...after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
So along with teaching comes correction and that correction causes you to respect. And I've had many people in their older age – in their older age tell me, 'You know what? I thought my dad was pretty mean, but now I realize he did it for my good.' I thought my dad was overly corrective. Because men have bigger, deeper voices, they are bigger and stronger and therefore the children tend to fear them a little bit more than the mother who has a more mellow voice, is sweeter and kinder and all the rest. But, later on they say, 'I'm grateful and I'm thankful that my dad was there for me.'
One final area that we need to consider is the example, the example that our parents set, that our fathers have set for us. I have a quote on example. Actually, I have three quotes on it. Here's one that says, Excerpts On 'My Dad's Tops!' We don't even begin to realize what your example means to your children. I have seen children and I didn't even realize... I was 18 years old and I was walking on the campus in Pasadena waiting for my uncle, or my cousin to come and get me before Thanksgiving and I was walking up and down the street waiting for him, looking the direction he was going, thinking he could come either way – and I was walking away from him and he pulled up behind me and he tooted his horn and said, 'Hi.' And I said, 'How did you know it was me?' because I had never met him. 'How did you know it was me?' 'I could tell by the way you walked! You walk just like your dad.' And, you know, children don't even have to practice it, they just do it - especially boys - model after their dads.
Notice, a few years ago a Milwaukee newspaper invited young readers to submit short essays on the theme My Pop's Tops (my pop is tops) and published the paper on Father's Day. Here are some excerpts. 'My Pop's Tops! He lets me hoe the garden even when I don't want to.' Another one, 'The first time he took me to church he was so afraid that I would make a riot that he sweat all the way through the commercial.' Here's another one: 'Because I was not very good at arithmetic, he gave me an adding machine, but it is not very good at arithmetic either.' The adding machine isn't. 'My pop is willing to help with the house work although he complains about it a little - quite a bit, really. In fact, he hollers. Want to tell the truth? He won't do housework at all.' Another one, 'My pop's tops. One time he took me to the lake and threw me in to see whether I could swim. I couldn't. My pop saved my life.' Here's another one. 'My pop is a farmer. He smells like a cow and when I come in and smell a cow in the house, I know my pop is home and I'm glad.' Sometimes it's useful to catch a glimpse of Dad through the eyes of a son or a daughter. We all need to remember that our daily lives are making an impression on those around us and a child's remark often stabs us to awaken to our responsibility.
Two families and I will just mention them – won't read it because we're five minutes overtime. The Dukes family. Twelve hundred descendents have been traced from this prolific family tree. They are a criminal family. Out of 12,000 descendents of the original parents, some 400 of these are physically self-wrecked, 310 are professional paupers, 130 are convicted criminals, 60 are habitual thieves and pick-pockets and 7 are murderers. While out of the 12,000, only 20 ever learned a trade and of these, half of them owed it to being in prison. One family.
Another family called the Jonathan Edwards family – Jonathan Edwards was the son of a godly home. His father was a preacher and before him, his mother's father was a preacher. Tracing the history of the offspring of this godly man, more than 400 of them have been traced. They include 14 college presidents, 100 professors, 100 of them have been ministers, missionaries and theological teachers, more than 100 of them were lawyers and judges and out of the whole number, 60 have been doctors and as many more authors of high rank and editors of journals. In fact, almost every conspicuous American industry has had as its promoters one or more of the offspring of Jonathan Edwards stock since the remote ancestor was married in the closing half of the 17th century.
I cannot emphasize enough how much an example means. And if you have a father who set you a great example, be thankful for it. Be grateful for it because the impact of that on your life is immense.
You know - God - let me give you one scripture on this. Exodus 34 and verse 7 and this is a beautiful scripture because he talks about what happens when people live right.
Ex. 34:7 - Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving the iniquity and transgression after sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, to the third and fourth generation.
Look at the Dukes, what happened to them and yet Deuteronomy 7:9 Deuteronomy 7:9Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
American King James Version×talks about what happens to a good family. Deut. 7 and verse 9 – the example of a father is powerful.
Deut. 7:9 - Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
So our example means so much to our children. You can go to Abraham's example. You can go to Isaac's example. Remember, Abraham said, 'She is my sister' to Abimelech – to the same leader, ruler, not necessarily the same person. Isaac came through and said, 'Rebekah is my sister'. Where do you think he learned that? Not because he saw his dad do it the first time, but I'm sure his dad talked about it and maybe his dad had occasionally a time to do that as well in other matters.
God is our Father, too. On Father's Day, let's not forget Him. John 5 and verse 23. We should pay attention to Him as our Father, we should give Him honor and praise and glory and gratitude. And really, when you look at a human father and what he does, you could say the same thing of God. God is our provider, God loves us, God provides us with food and shelter and keeps us. God cares about us. God protects us.
John 5:23 John 5:23That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
American King James Version×- That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. We should all honor God, our Father.
So I'm going to summarize real quickly with five things I'd like you to do – consider doing. What can you do, then, to show honor to your father?
#1 Be thankful for them. Some of us don't have our fathers alive, some of us do. My wife does not have a father alive, she has my Dad. She loves my dad like a father. Her father died in 1984 so she no longer has a dad she can look to.
If you don't, do you know what you can do? You can be thankful for the memory. That's #2. Be thankful for the memory of them. And be thankful for what they gave you. And don't be afraid to talk about some cute expression that they may have given to you, some wise sayings and some wise points that they may have taught you.
#3 Tell them often you love them. Tell them often you love them.
#4 Do something for them. Do something for them if they're still alive. Stop by, stop in, give them a call, send them a note, drop a line, send them something, stop over and make them a meal - do something for them.
And #5, carry on their legacy. Carry on their legacy. They gave you a good name, carry it on. Don't let them down.
So on this Father's Day, let's remember to honor our dads and our heavenly Father, too, but let's not do it just on Father's Day, let's remember to do it every day.
I want to conclude with one quote, page 19 of this book, 'To a Wonderful Father'. It says, 'Father, to God Himself we cannot give a holier name.'