Calling all dads
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, NIV)
Despite what most people think, Father’s Day wasn’t made up by the card manufacturers. It was actually first proposed in 1909 by Sonora Dodd, who wished to thank her father for raising all of his six children by himself. The first Father's Day was on 19th June 1910 in the USA. In 1966 US President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June Father's Day.
Fatherhood was, of course, invented by God. It has a very special significance in His plans and purposes. In His love the role He enters into with us when we have been put right with Him through Christ is that of Father. Being a father is an enormous privilege - and a great responsibility.
In the Bible verse quoted above, Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and is speaking to families. Fathers are to bring up their children in the instruction of the Lord.
Our children, it need hardly be said, don’t come into the world knowing about Jesus. They need to be told. True, God has put eternity into the hearts of men, as the writer of Ecclesiastes says, so they don’t normally find the idea of God hard to grasp, but we still need to teach them about the Lord and all He came to do. There’s a lot to tell them, isn’t there?
And, my fellow dads, this is our responsibility. We must not simply assume the church will cover it all, nor even leave everything to our wives.
“But I’m not a Bible teacher!” you say. But you need to be, as far as your kids are concerned! Some principles:
1. Read the Bible with your children
There are some very helpful materials for this. At StAG we are celebrating Father’s Day by having Children and Youth Book Sunday, with our friends from TenofThose coming to sell us some great children’s Bibles, as well as many other books for children and their parents.
2. Know your stuff
One thing becomes obvious: if we are to teach our children, we need to know what’s what. This becomes even clearer when they ask questions - which don’t, of course, always come at the times we want! So think of your own Bible reading as helpful, not only for you, but for your family. Be ready with observations and answers.
3. Live the life
Our children are at close quarters and learn from us: that is why they so often turn out as chips off the old block! So we need to live out what we say. All the while remembering, as Paul wisely says, not to exasperate them!
Does all this sound difficult? Yes, but not impossible. Just pray and start. Let’s share ideas and ask each other for advice. And God will be with us!
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