Each year father's day rolls around and we spend the day honoring our fathers for who they have been in our lives. Though do we spend one day honoring and the rest of the year forgetting. God talks a lot about the role of a father in regards to who they should be and how they should treat their children. Most of that role I won't touch on here, but I will say this that the role of a father is to instruct, provide, and protect his children.
My own father was never shy about punishing me when I did something wrong, and he showed me the difference between right and wrong. We would argue ourselves on occasion, mostly due to my sarcastic humor, and in the end up helping each other in some way or another letting the incident blow over.
He also taught me what it meant to be a man after God's own heart in much the same way my grandfather had taught him. My grandfather while he was alive exemplified the that role of a father. It's hard to pick only one example of the things that he did, but I can honestly say that he taught both of his sons the honest in hard work. Being a servant. My grandfather was an incredible servant. He had been in the Navy for a number of years, but when he finally retired as a Captain there wasn't any stopping him. While my grandfather and father had their own hardships with each other over the years, similar to the fights between my father and I, I know that they understood that the relationship between a father and son transcends an argument.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
While God instructs fathers to not provoke their children the reverse side of the coin is that children must also not exasperate our own fathers into anger against us. This instruction for fathers is to "not provoke", but the children tend to see this verse as allowing them to things to their hearts content. However, that's not the case. How easy it is for a child to think their life is ruined when in high school? We've all seen the movies and heard the line, "You're ruining my life." That's when in our eyes that we see they are provoking us, but from their perspective they saved us from some major hardship later with a small course correction in our lives. When fathers punish their children we in the moment see that small instance of pain or discomfort rather than the consequence of the action. We want to be satisfied now and if that's delayed or hindered by our fathers then we lash out against them. For children I leave you with these two verses from Matthew and Mark about the importance of honoring your father and mother. For the short time that we live under their roof we are being instructed and we take that instruction in order to understand what it means to be an adult.
"Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 19:19
"You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" Mark 10:19
The honor part is a learned attribute that goes from our parents, to our work environments, to our marriages, and ends up showing us how to raise our children. Honor is about humility towards another.
The Real Gift
The greatest gift we can give our fathers this and every fathers day is to grow up being righteous before and in the Lord. That's when they'll know that all the teaching, knowledge and time they poured into us has paved the way for our success.
"The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him." Proverbs 23:24
He rejoices in our achievements. I'm reminded of a quote from the first Superman movie where Jor-El told his son, "You will carry me inside you, all the days of your life. You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son. This is all I... all I can send you, Kal-El." We carry our fathers with us each and every day in the decisions that we make, the failures that we have, and the triumphs that we make. They rejoice in us and we should honor them for the sacrifice they made in order to exemplify a life in God for us. I thank not only my father, but the generations of fathers in my family that raised their sons to be strong and mighty men. Thank you.
So today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your time honor your father.