This Sunday, 16 June, is a very special Sunday because it is Father’s Day. And as the world celebrates fatherhood in the coming week, let’s spend a few moments reflecting on what a father is like.
Whenever we think of our Fathers, what is one common thing that we usually think of? Maybe the word – discipline & authority comes to mind. But how often do we think of a father as someone who is a figure of love and gentleness? Most of us would naturally feel that the loving and gentleness part is played by the role of the mothers; rarely would we associate dads with tenderness and understanding. The father is usually identified as the breadwinner and the one who plays the role of a discipline master. The mother is usually identified as the gentle parent who takes care of the family with love and patience.
I am not sure what kind of dad you may have in your lives. Some may have very protective and caring fathers, one who is gentle with them in words and in actions. Some may have abusive fathers, who are harsh and merciless in their speech and violent in their ways. Some may not even have a father.
Whatever kind of family background we may have come from, whether a not we have a good or bad father, one thing is quite certain. We all do need a father and a mother figure in the household in order for the children to grow up in a complete family environment. We need the fathers to provide the bread and to protect and teach the children how to live a life of integrity and honesty. We also need the gentleness and the patients of mothers to take care of us when we are ill. Though we admit that we all have imperfect parents, it is essential that we learn to recognize and honour the roles of both the fathers and the mothers and give thanks to God for them.
God gave us our parents, both the mothers and fathers. They are God’s authority over us and we as children must learn to recognize that. Even though many times we complain about their imperfection, we fail to realize that we ourselves are imperfect too. Speaking as a child of my own mother, I admit that there are many times in our growing up lives when we often do not see eye to eye with them for many reasons. Some children have constant squabble with their parents. We often hear of children grumbling about their parents for not being loving or caring enough. We blame them for not spending enough family time with us and we complain that they do not give us freedom to go out…. We grumble and complain about them for so many reasons, but we know that in general, most of us come from very normal and healthy families where our parents take good care of us. They make sure that we are well fed, well clothe and they ensure that all our daily necessity is well taken care of. For that, we all should learn to thank God for our parents, no matter how unhappy or unsatisfied we may be with them.
The truth is that our parents love us; they just do not know how to express them vocally. I used to complain and grumble about my parents and accuse them of treating me unfairly from my younger brother. My younger brother (10 years my junior) seemed to get everything he wants and has all the love and attention from my parents while I on the other hand, have to work for the things I want and I never seem to be able to please my parents no matter how hard I tried. I have lived with this emotional imbalance for many years but the fact is that my parents do love me. I just failed to see it because I was focussing on the things I didn’t get from them. I only see what they didn’t give me or what they didn’t do for me, but not realising and appreciating the things they do for me every day. Actions do show that they are concern for us, – When we are sick they show concern by taking us to the doctor, reminding us to take our medication. When we were still schooling, they will remind us to study for our exams and do our homework. My dad drives me to school every morning while I was still in high school. Even till now as an adult, my dad still drives me to my examination hall when I’m taking private exams, to endure that I will be early for my papers. My dad will also endure I have a proper meal before I go for my papers, so when possible he will either take me out to have breakfast with him or buy lunch for me on his way back from work than pick me up from home to send me to my examination venue. I can no longer still complain that my dad doesn’t love me… He does love me and a lot… I was just too bitter and jealous over the love and attention my brother got more than me to see that.
Even as we look to celebrating Father’s Day in a weeks’ time, I want us to take this time to remember and honour the Heavenly Father. Many of God’s children today, have a hard time accepting and receiving the Father’s love, because many of us have a false or distorted image of a father in our own lives. God modelled for us what and how a father should be like. Throughout scriptures we read of the many attributes of God the father being gentle, forgiving, loving, merciful, and patient.
One of the best loved story and perhaps one of the most popular of all the Parables told by Jesus are the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15)
15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Jesus through His Parables, shows us the Father’s heart and love for His children. He is always seeking out for the lost.
The greatest demonstration of the Father’s love is the death and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – God’s only beloved Son. This is the ultimate love – unconditional and self-sacrificial, all for the sake of His precious children. “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). God loved us and died for us while we were still sinning, He did not wait for us to get better before He does anything good for us. He has been loving us since the day we were born. “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you were have been borne by My from birth, and have been carried from the womb; even to you old age, I shall be the same, and even to your greying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you and I shall deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4)
This is the kind of God we serve, and this is the kind of Father that we as God’s children have and so we can rejoice. Imperfect as our earthly fathers may be, they all desire that their children grow up in a safe and loving environment. No parent will allow their children to suffer in life; they all have good intention for us just that, most parents don’t really know how to express it. The Bible says in Matt 7:7-11, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.”
What gifts did God gave us –
He gave us life through the death of His Son Jesus, “The wages of sins is death, but the free gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23).
He gave us the Holy Spirit “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)
He gave us healing in exchange of his wounds. “But He was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised of our iniquities, the chastening of our peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
So we may not have a perfect earthly father that we can all look up too, but Christians can rejoice in the fact that we have a perfect Heavenly Father that loves us beyond our own biological parents. Hallelujah to that!!!
To close, I just want to wish all fathers in advance a very “HAPPY & BLESSED FATHER’S DAY”.
And to all of God’s Children, let us celebrate and rejoice in the love of our Heavenly Father!
May the love of the Heavenly Father, flow through you, so that you will learn and experience the truth and the warmth of the Father’s love.
Serving with you in His Kingdom with love;
Princess Michelle –
Beloved Daughter of the Most High King