Father’s Day is a great reminder that we need to put first things first, building a stable marriage of Christ as a model to our children, that our children are from God so we are managers rather than makers, but the most important role is personal, that each of us are:
Children First (Ezekiel 18:4) “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine…Ephesians 1:6 (MSG) Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
You are a child of God first. Think about what this means–God, the creator and sustainer of the world has made you a priority, loves you, and has an identity for you. Yet, until you realize that identity you can easily run after a lot of things trying to belong, when all along you belong to him. Timothy Keller added beautifully, “Our adoption means we are loved like Christ is loved. We are honored like he is honored—every one of us—no matter what. Your circumstances cannot hinder or threaten that promise. In fact, your bad circumstances will only help you understand and even claim the beauty of that promise. The more you live out who you are in Christ, the more you become like him in actuality.”There was a young man who was eager to grow in His Christian life and decide he would write down on a piece of paper everything he would give to the LORD. He wrote down the things he would give up, the places he would go to minister and the areas of ministry he would enter. He was excited. He took that list to the church and put it on the altar.
He thought he would feel joy, but instead he felt empty. So he went home and started adding to his list. He wrote down more things he would do and wouldn’t do. He took the longer list and put it on the altar, but still he felt nothing. He went to a wise, old pastor, told him the situation and asked for help. The pastor said, “Take a blank sheet of paper. Sign your name at the bottom. Put that on the altar.” The young man did, and then peace came to his heart. It wasn’t about doing good things for God; it was about giving God himself.
These roles instead of something you have to add in as extras in your life, something else to juggle and drop, were meant to give you a new sense of life. Just like Christ, who as Immanuel, God with us, came as a baby where he had to learn his identity, where he experienced being an adopted child as he worked to adopt us into his heavenly Father’s family once again. It required that he lead spiritually, leading not where we wanted to go, but where he needed to overcome, death itself, to the cross itself, to the place of pain with our future purpose in mind. Christ died for your sins, but just as powerfully for the Father’s love.
Sometimes, these roles feel like ropes pulling us down. It is easy as a father to feel liking we aren’t leading anyone or that we are under appreciated. Like the small boy at the zoo who was with his father. They were looking at the tigers, and his father was telling him how ferocious they were.
“Daddy, if the tigers got out and ate you up…”
“Yes, son?” the father asked, ready to console him.
“ …Which bus would I take home?”
Yet, don’t miss the significance of fathers. Comedian Stephen Colbert in his book, I AM AMERICA put the situation boldly and bluntly, ““America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.”
Yet, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, mentors, leaders, we don’t have to settle for that disengagement, that lack of involvement and investment. There are biblical roles waiting for you: spiritual leader, adoptive father—but keep in mind how you develop to fulfilling them–If you leave here today just trying to bear down and fulfill these roles in your own power in your own wisdom, in your own strength and intelligence the outcome is going to be predictable, you’ll forget this sermon and fall back in with the world around you. Back into the fathead and fatigue, but if you first remember your identity in Christ, a child first, then your child’s father, your wife’s husband than Father’s Day will be something worth celebrating.