Father’s Day Resolutions
Dr. Jim Denison
Three boys were bragging about their fathers. The first said, “My dad writes some words on paper and calls it a lawsuit, and they pay him for it.” The second said, “Yeah, well my dad writes some words on paper and calls it a prescription, and they pay him for it.” The third said, “Well, my dad writes some words on a paper and calls it a sermon. And it takes eight guys to collect all the money!”
Dads need respect. Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, knew it was so. Listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she thought of her father. He had raised her and her five siblings after their mother died. So she spoke to area ministers and YMCA members, and they began the next year. They selected roses as the flower of the day: red if the father was living, white if he was deceased. Interest grew until President Calvin Coolidge made Father’s Day a national holiday in 1924.
I’m glad there’s a Father’s Day, selfishly and spiritually.
We need to remember what God wants us to give our fathers, on this day and each day. 12,600 miles of ties will be given today. What else do fathers need?
And fathers need to remember why we were blessed by God with this privilege, and how to fulfill it well.
Graduate from Fatherhood 101
Unfortunately, children do not come with owner’s manuals. No Chilton’s car repair books or operating instructions. But their Creator has told us what we need to know to do this job well. Let’s review Fatherhood 101 in the word of God.
Your first responsibility is to lead your family spiritually.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). How did Jesus love us? Unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially. Love her the same way.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Serve each other, meet each other’s needs.
Live so that your wife can fulfill her spiritual responsibility as well: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Be the spiritual leader, example, model in your family and home. Live and lead so that they follow Christ because of you.
A survey conducted by the National Study of Youth and Religion has concluded that adolescents raised in religious households are far more likely to admire their parents and live in healthy families than those who are not. So lead your family spiritually.
Next, provide for your family financially.
We are to meet their physical as well as spiritual needs: “…Children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children” (2 Corinthians 12:14).
Freud said, “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Provide financial and physical security and stability for your home.
Third, teach your children biblically.
Describing the principles of Scripture, we are commanded to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut 6:7).
We are further instructed, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Do you have a time in your home for Bible study and prayer? A time to teach your children what you know of God’s word? You are their first pastor, their spiritual guide. The church has your kids one percent of their time, the schools 16%; you have them 83% of their time. So teach them biblically.
Fourth, be what you want your children to become.
A godly father “must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect” (1 Timothy 3:4).
It’s been observed that “Till a boy is fifteen he does what his father says; after that he does what his father does.”
Here is Fatherhood 101: lead your family spiritually, provide for them physically, teach them biblically, be what you want them to become. Now, let’s focus on the last principle. How can we be the people we want our children to become? What does it take to be godly fathers?
You’re familiar with New Year’s resolutions. Today I want to offer some Father’s Day resolutions. Eight, in fact. Eight gifts to give our children, and our souls as well.
Adopt these Father’s Day resolutions
Jesus’ familiar beatitudes begin: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
To be “poor in spirit” means to know our need of God, that we cannot live and succeed without his help. It means to admit that he is the I Am and I am the I Am Not.
Our culture stands on self-sufficiency. We can meet our needs if we just put in enough hours, take enough classes, consult enough experts.
God knows better. He knows that our children are eternal souls entrusted to our care. So here’s the first Father’s Day resolution: “I will seek the help of God daily.” Will you make this commitment now?
The second beatitude states, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
The “mourning” to which Jesus refers is primarily spiritual. Mourning for sin, failures, shortcomings before God. It means to admit that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), myself among them.
Our culture stands on self-assurance. We’re good fathers if we provide financially for our families. Pete Rose heard that his daughter had told a reporter he was a terrible father. He responded, “That’s not true. I’m a great father. Why, just the other day I bought her a new Mercedes.”
God knows that our children will become what we are, so that we must spend time every day confessing our sins, staying right with God. Here’s the second Father’s Day resolution: “I will confess my sins daily to God.” Will you start today?