We Americans love holidays . . . at least the idea of holidays. Unfortunately, we’re often better at how we celebrate than we are at understanding why we celebrate.
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Did you know that Father’s Day is way behind Mother’s Day in terms of what it will cost most of us? (In case you’re wondering, we spend an average of $90.89 on dads and $123.90 on moms.) I guess dads have to be more laid back in their expectations, as the most popular gift—and often the only one they get—is a Father’s Day card . . . sigh.
In America, this day to honor fathers was officially recognized in 1972 with President Nixon’s declaration that Father’s Day would henceforth be the third Sunday in June. But for believers, honoring our fathers is not optional. It is one of the “Top Ten” . . . Commandments, that is.
“Honor your father and mother” is a message rarely heard outside of the church today. I can hardly imagine a subject less on the radar of the average American than this one. God’s Word and commandments have not changed; we are still called to honor and respect our parents, not least our fathers, imperfect and flawed though they may be.
So here are my simple words of encouragement and appreciation to all the good dads who thanklessly, and without fanfare, go about doing their jobs day in and day out.
Thank you for loving us. Thank you for loving us even when we weren’t lovable! Thank you for loving us when we took that love for granted—even when we saw the hurt we would cause, and still disobediently went our own way.
Thank you for providing a home, food, and clothes for us. Thank you for going to work faithfully to take care of us. This responsibility must weigh heavily on your shoulders.
Thank you for the times you said no, for caring enough to discipline us instead of giving in to our every plea.
Thank you for setting rules and boundaries that taught us right from wrong, teaching us that breaking rules would have consequences. Thank you for counseling, listening, and reasoning with us.
Thank you for not holding on to us so tightly. Thanks for letting us fail now and then, giving us the chance to learn some hard lessons for ourselves.
Thank you for praying for us. For teaching us about God the Heavenly Father and for expressing to us your love for Him, pointing us to a Savior. Thanks for living out your faith out in ways we could see, for praying with us and praying for us.
Thank you for the sleepless nights, the prayers, the tears, the words you said, and the words you didn’t say!
Thank you that when we were rejected by others, or failed at school or sports, or weren’t the most attractive, or popular, or intelligent . . . we know you loved us still.
From your example we learned how God our Heavenly Father loves: always, unconditionally, and at times heartbreakingly! Thank you.
And may I say to my dear husband, Greg, thank you. Christopher and Jonathan would be the first to say they learned (and are learning) responsibility of fathering from your faithful example. You have been a steady signpost, a rock, consistent through the greatest joys and greatest sorrows of your life. You were, and are, a great dad; we love you.
But in closing, for those of you fathers who are getting this message late . . . it’s not too late. I realize there are no perfect fathers. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness. I pray you come to know by experience that the gospel is big and robust enough to redeem even the toughest of you. May you know the transforming love of a perfect Father. God Himself made the greatest sacrifice for you in sending His Son to die that you might live, and love, and face the challenges of fathering with His power working in you.
P.S. – Download a free resource card: 31 Specific Prayers for Your Children.