HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
Date: June 16
1 John 3:1a
"See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!"
Back in 1909, a woman named Sonora Dodd of Washington, DC, came up with the idea of a "father's day." She wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, who was a Civil War veteran. When his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child, Smart had to raise all six children by himself. So as an adult, Sonora remembered the selflessness her father had shown. Since her father's birthday was in June, she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on June 19th 1910. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day, and in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the law, which finally made it permanent. That's the history of Father's Day.
It's very important that we honor our fathers, our earthly fathers but also our Heavenly Father as well. This Bible verse is very significant in describing the love that God our Heavenly Father has for us. It says here that God the Father has given, shown, and bestowed on us an incredible quality of love. That love has permitted us to be named, called, and counted as the children of God. That's an amazing expression of love that God has for us. We're born into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Because Christ shed His blood and died for us, we can now trust Him for our personal salvation. When we do that, we become the children of God.
It says in John 1:12, "But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name – Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]"
So becoming a son or daughter of the living God is a tremendous expression of the love that the Heavenly Father has for us. But we're also children of earthly parents as well. So today, I want to take some time and speak about earthly fathers. Fathers are very important in children's lives. There's a place inside the heart of a girl that only her father can fill. If her father doesn't fill it, then she'll most likely try to fill it with some other man, attempting to fill that missing father role rather than looking for a husband to whom she is equal. That's why sometimes a fatherless girl, or a girl that did not have a good relationship with her father, will make unwise decisions about men. Fathers are also important in boys' lives as well. Boys often emulate what their father does. So a father is very important to all his children.
One of the greatest qualities that a father has is his leadership quality. As the leader of his family, a father's job is to teach and care for his children, and the best thing that he can teach his children is the Word of God. A father is there to help his children make major decisions in their lives. He is to be a student of his children and learn what their skills and talents are. Then he is to provide an environment for them that will be conducive to their inclinations.
When I was a child, my father was not a good father to me. He was a gambler, a womanizer, and a drunkard. Often I would be hungry, both for physical food and for love. But my father and I have a good relationship now. Just couple of years before he died in 2010, I asked him, "When I was a child, if you had thought of my needs first, would you have lived your life differently? Would you have quit gambling, drinking, and pursuing women?" He said, "Yes." So not only is it important for the children that their father teaches and cares for them, but it's also important for the father as well.
Children often associate love with time. That's why fathers need to spend time with their children. Each and every month I take one child out on a date to a restaurant of his/her choice. We spend a couple of hours together eating and talking. I go on byke rides with my children. We go together on a mission field. I teach my children each and every day from the Word of God. We sometimes watch movies together, we eat meals together, etc., etc. That's how we spend time together. Spending time together is very important. Also, a father should give of himself. He should share with his children his successes and his struggles (not all his struggles, but enough to teach his children to learn from his past mistakes).
So today on Father's Day, let us remember to thank God for our fathers and let us thank our fathers for teaching us, leading us, caring for us, and spending time with us. And if you're a father, take this teaching to heart. Become the kind of father that your children will appreciate. They may not appreciate you right now, but if you do everything you should do as a father, then one day they will look back and acknowledge how great you were as a father. So today, let us rejoice over our fathers!