Fatherhood - Wednesday, December 27
"For the LORD corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. "
Proverbs 3:12 (NLT)
Here on the Winnebago Indian Reservation, in northeast Nebraska, I lead Family Life Gatherings that emphasize the role of the divine tasks of fatherhood and motherhood. In his earthly ministry, Jesus used “Father” more than any other name for God. The essence of fatherhood is found in God, not in human beings. And an awareness of the Divine task goes further: God exercises fatherhood, in part, by means of human fatherhood.
The Divine Task of fatherhood begins with Jesus’ Heavenly Father and now those who place their trust in Jesus can call His Father their father. When Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them to pray he gave them his own prayer. It begins “Our Father who art in heaven.”
The most important task that a father has been given by God is to teach his child or children to trust in God. The father is to be the spiritual leader, leading his family in daily prayer, study of God’s Sacred Word, and to gather with God’s family at the weekly Divine Service.
Sadly way too many children are spiritually deprived, mainly due to the failures of fathers to fulfill their God-given duty. Fathers are called to be like Jesus who discipled his students, teaching them through words and deeds. Earthly fathers are also called to discipline (a form of the word disciple) their children and to assist in forming them morally and spiritually. The father’s failure usually leads to horrible consequences affecting his children emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Solomon wrote these inspired words:
“Do not reject Yahweh’s discipline, my son, and do not despise his warning, because Yahweh warns the one whom he loves, like a father [warns] a son with whom he is pleased”
A loving, caring, servant-type father has not merely survived God’s discipline but learned and thrived from this experience. As Jesus came into the world not to be served but to serve and lay down his life as a ransom for many, so too a Christian father serves his family, his wife, and their child(ren).
A loving, caring, servant-type father also knows what it means to forgive as he has been forgiven. He is willing to forgive his child(ren) and to provide them with emotional support, physical protection, and mental encouragement. First and foremost, a loving father leads his family to trust in Jesus, as Lord and Savior!
Heavenly Father, we sing with Simeon: Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people [all tribes], a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel. Amen.
[Special thanks to Gene Edward Veith Jr. and his daughter Mary J. Moerbe and their insights found in Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood].