Father’s Day was yesterday. When we think about fathers where does one even start? I don’t really think you can start anywhere else but with the Father, God. He is the Creator, the original and eternal Father, the Good, Good Father. Seriously, there are a lot of great fathers out there but there is only one who spoke things into being. Yeah, he spoke things into being and it was good. After each day in the creation account, Genesis chapter 1, it is written, “God saw that it was good.” In the history of the world never has there been a more patient father, always ready to forgive his wandering children that walked away from him.
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
No man will ever be able to live up to standard set by God and conveyed so beautifully for us in his son, Jesus Christ. We are called, however, to aspire to this vision of fatherhood, to model ourselves after Christ, conforming our lives to him ever more closely, never giving up. Jesus shows us that as fathers we are called to serve. Not because of what we get out of it, but because of a love that comes from Christ with a desire that longs to bring others closer to God, our Heavenly Father.
This past week we have been reading from the book of 1 Kings. We have heard story after story of the kings, David and Ahab, for example and how they strayed from God. God then chastises them and being men of God, they repent and show sorrow for their actions. Today, we would probably just get a string of excuses from most men about how it is not their fault but real men and fathers will acknowledge their short comings and repent. Next, comes the most important part. God shows mercy. It doesn’t mean that they will not have consequences but they will have mercy and forgiveness.
As fathers, we must always keep in mind the pattern, we sometimes need to chastise our children but we must follow that with mercy. I was praying the other day and thinking about my childhood and you know how often times the first things that come up are the times when our father’s did not meet our expectations. Well, this was one of those times, it started with my remembering the times when my dad had not been perfect.
Then, the most beautiful thing happened. Instead of focusing on the times when my father did not meet my expectations, I focused on the cross and how in my own weakness had not been perfect and had let God and myself down. Suddenly, my thoughts went a completely different direction. I started to think about times when I was a kid, we would go fishing because my Dad liked going fishing. Not sure why he kept taking me though, he certainly did not get to fish a whole lot when I went with him. I was not very good at fishing and had great skill in tangling my line and getting it stuck on a rock, log or in a tree and yes my Dad would chastise me and then he would fix my line, over and over again. It was a happy time, a great memory. God was healing me and helping me to see my Daddy from a whole different perspective.
This would not be complete if I did not speak about the role of Jesus in defining fatherhood. Just think about it, he was constantly chastising the Scribes and Pharisees. He called people out and challenged them to be more. Then, came the big moment, that moment when he showed the greatest act of mercy ever known. He willingly submitted to torture and death on a cross for us, all of us. The ultimate act of mercy. Are we ready as father’s to lay down our lives for our wives and children?
Thank you, Dad, for showing me how to be a good, good father.