A Message to Dads on Father’s Day
With Fathers Day quickly approaching I though that now would be a good opportunity to speak directly to dads. I hope there’s something helpful here for everyone, but todays post is directed toward those in a unique position to influence the next generation.
There is very little disagreement among reasonable people that we’re in a difficult time as a country. The norms of the recent past have been turned upside down and we now find ourselves in a cultural freefall! The future is never certain but even the most positive view of what lies ahead is bleak. And yet here we are.
This is not the first time we have experienced a bleak moment in history. It may be the first time though, at least in the United States, that the disintegration of the family has been at the center of that dark outlook. As long as the foundations of family and community remain strong there is little that can permanently damage a society or culture. When those foundations, and arguably the foundation of the church, are undermined, the hope that there will be restoration on the other side of our current turmoil seems empty. If those in the generation that will lead our nation into the future have not enjoyed the benefit of healthy home, community and church relationships, how can they possibly lead a “restoration” of those things? They cannot.
So what can we do about it? It seems that most people are just hoping it doesn’t get too bad before they’re gone! Many will say, “Don’t worry about the future. As dark as the days ahead may be, that’s not my problem.” And so instead of doing anything to actually fix what is broken, we make ourselves as comfortable as possible and kick the proverbial can down the road.
We say that we love our children, but are setting them up to deal with the consequences of our inaction.
A Bible Illustration
I was reminded of a Bible story this week that illustrates this thinking. We may live in different locations at different times in history, but people are all pretty much the same. I won’t retell the whole story here for sake of time and clarity, but if you are interested find the story of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. You can find his story in Second Kings, Second Chronicles and Isaiah.
King Hezekiah was one of the “good guys”. In a lineage of Jewish kings that boasted some good and a lot bad, he was one of the guys that honored God and used his position to lead others to do the same. In a divided Israel, he led the southern kingdom of Judah and fought back against many of the rebellious practices of the northern kingdom. As a result, and there is much more to the story, God blessed him and Judah and brought peace to the kingdom. But then something strange happened that we find described in Isaiah 39.
Proud of all that God had blessed him with, King Hezekiah showed off his wealth to a pagan king while taking credit for himself. Maybe he just got caught up in the moment, but whatever his reason, he failed to honor the God that saved him from his enemies, recovered him from a terrible illness, and blessed him with vast wealth.
Here was the consequence for the kings actions:
“Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: 6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. 7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
I don’t know how you read that, but that seems like an incredibly severe punishment! God said that after the death of Hezekiah both his past and the future of his family and nation would be destroyed. Talk about a bleak outlook! And what was his response?
“Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.”
Hezekiah had just been told that everything he cared about would be destroyed and all he could say was, “I’m glad it will happen when I’m gone.” That. Is. Crazy.
What about Us?
But, as crazy as that story is, how many of us live that sentiment out every day? Hezekiah was not a God-hater or deadbeat dad. He was one of the good guys! Hezekiah just didn’t do anything to make sure things were in place to keep the future bright. He was just happy he would not be around to see the destruction.
Dads (I told you I would get to a message for dad), is this how you’re living? In a world as dark and difficult as the one we’re in, fathers are the hope for a future restoration! It’s dads that will point their kids to God. Dads can model leadership and courage. They can set in place today all that is needed for a bright tomorrow. And that’s the reason the future is so bleak.
God is still powerfully able but fathers have become so focused on their life today that they are not preparing their children for what is to come! Most men live like king Hezekiah. They can see what’s coming, they’re just happy it will come when they’re gone. You may be “one of the good guys”, but if you are not preparing your children for the future, everything that you say you care about, just like Hezekiah, will be undone. Your legacy will be one of loss and a focus on self above everything else.
There is a better way
I don’t believe that any of us want to leave our children without the tools they need to navigate the future. Life can just be so overwhelming that we don’t know how to prepare them. What should you focus on if you want to prepare the next generation for the world ahead? What do they need to know?
The most important relationship is a relationship with God
Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
The Bible Is God’s Word to Us
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Culture-We live here but only as ambassadors
2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
1John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Perspective-We need a Biblical Worldview
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The Constitution is a gift that allows us to live for God
I do not have a verse for this final area of instruction, but the United States Constitution is a gift from God that protects our right to freely live for Him. Many Christians today know so little about their Constitutional rights that they are yielding to a corrupt culture when they don’t have to. Teach your kids to understand and fight for their Constitutional rights and they will have the legal tool they need to freely live the life God has called them to. They may one day need to live for Him without the Constitution, and they should, but they need to know how to take advantage of the freedoms preserved by the generations that have gone before them.
Men, on this Fathers Day, recommit to fight for your legacy (what has happened in the past) and for your children’s future. Teach, train, mentor and lead in such a way that when you are gone what you have sown into the lives of your kids will guide them forward.