Person, partner, parent, priest – now that’s a dad!
June 14, 2005
As a boy, whenever my Dad would say, “Let’s go fishing” or hunting or anything, I just knew it meant adventure! When I was only about six or seven years old, my Dad took me to Byrd’s Creek, which is not over 12 feet wide in most places. But wow, we were catching a lot of fish!
I was in the cradle of a big clump of trees catching the fish in this huge hole of deep water. I couldn’t swim, but my Dad put his foot on my rear and suddenly pushed me into the water. I was grabbing for something, anything and yelling for his hand. Dad wasn’t over six feet away, but when you can’t swim, that’s like 10 miles! As I yelled for help, I remember him calmly saying, “Just swim on over here.” I didn’t drown, fact is, I did swim – er – dog paddled over to the tree.
Guys are different than gals.
Throw a daughter into a creek and she might be scared of water for a lifetime. Throw a boy in the creek and it’s “I’m not mad, ’cause my day is coming.” My wife, being the baby of the family with only one brother, just couldn’t understand why it’s important to throw boys in the creek or let them climb to terrible heights in trees, or catch alligators by hand — until she read the book I gave her, Wild At Heart by John Eldredge.
It set her free.
We could send our two boys outside to play in the summer with their sister, Kristen, right beside them every step of the way. The boys would come back to the house and really stink! But Kristen smelled as sweet as she did when she went outside.
My kids are grown now. I have received the first of my 15 grandkids (prophetically speaking) just about 20 months ago and it is a joy to see my kids mature and build their own families.
As a pastor, I had men often ask me, “Pastor, how do I successfully parent my kids and guide my family?” My answer in two words is always, “God’s grace.”
Ultimately every son and daughter has to make choices of their own. I am not responsible to God for the wrong choices my children make. I am only responsible for the decisions and actions I make. You can do everything right and godly and still see a son or daughter go into rebellion. I have seen many parents’ hearts broken by rebellious sons or daughters. However, I do believe that, as a parent, we are responsible to train our children so they can be in a position to be blessed by God’s grace. So how do you do that? Since Father’s Day is upon us, let me suggest four key words and four short paragraphs for Dads:
PERSON. Dad, your personal walk with the Lord Jesus is critical. Your children must see that you walk with God. In the day that you must bring correction and discipline to their lives, the children must see decisions that come from God’s Word and are more than just personal preference. In the end, your “opinions” can be out-weighed by some college professor’s “opinions.” But if your walk with God is solid, then your counsel will come from Him and your children will have to deal with God’s Word, not just yours alone. Teach them from birth the shema, from Deut. 6:4-9.
PARTNER. Dad, your children need to see that you love their mother. According to Eph. 5:22-33 your marriage is a physical picture on earth of the relationship we (the church) have with our bridegroom Jesus, and your family needs to see this living example. Protect your wife from those who would try to blemish her. Cherish her and honor your wife as the gift from God that she is. If you don’t, then even your prayers will be hindered from being heard by God (1 Pet. 3:7). How will your children have success in their marriage relationship if they don’t see it modeled by you?
PARENT. The Bible gives us a beautiful metaphor as it describes children as arrows (Ps. 127:4-5). Arrows are not meant to be kept, they are meant to be released at a target to fulfill their purpose. All boys have gone into a wood with a knife and a piece of string to try to make a bow and arrows. Did you ever find a straight stick for an accurate arrow? Sticks just don’t grow straight. They all have “bents” to them. Early Americans made straight arrow shafts by first smoothing sticks down to a uniform diameter. Then they would soak them in hot water until soft and pliable. Then these pliable shafts were placed into a series of pegs put in the ground that were designed in such a manner that the pliable shafts would be held very straight. Then over a couple of days, these shafts would dry and hold their straightness. As parents, we are to put down “pegs” that are uniquely designed to conform the “bents” in our children’s lives and personalities. When they are ready, we release these straight arrows to fulfill their purpose. We release them to “leave and cleave” to a life-mate of their own, to build families of their own. I suggest to you that the pegs parents need to put down are scriptural principles that will guide your children’s lives. “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth,” states 3 John 4.
PRIEST. Dads you need to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chr. 12:32). What is the central root that is influencing our world today? In a single phrase, it is the “theory” of evolution. From this one philosophical root comes many ills. Not the least of which is racism, humanism, abortion, euthanasia, immorality and more.
The world tries to tell us that this is a scientific fact. It is not! That is why it is still called a “theory”, not a scientific law. A theory is something that is not proven … and evolution is certainly NOT proven. But, when school classrooms teach this to your children as fact, you now have what Henry Blackerby calls “a crisis of belief.” For if evolution is true, then Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are false. And if the foundation laid in Genesis 1 and 2 is false, then the entire Bible is false because it is built on that foundation.
Dad, you need to be a priest to your family and teach them the Word of God, praying, making intercession for them in this spiritual battle for their minds and souls.
One day I discovered I was a Dad. I didn’t know how to BE a Dad, but I was one. Men, get into the Word of God; learn how to BE Dad and the Person, Partner, Parent and Priest that God has called you to be. And above all, don’t forget to take your kids fishing down at the nearest creek!