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Friday, June 15, 2007
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"For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12).
This Sunday is Father's Day. Nine years ago my dad went to be with the Lord. He was a big man of relatively few words, yet as I note the characteristics of fathers to which Paul was appealing in the above text I recall seeing them in my own dad. I sure miss him and look forward to seeing him in the ultimate reunion when I'm called home.
Paul never mentions his own father in any of his writings recorded in the New Testament and actually gives very little explicit teaching on fatherhood. Yet in the daily verse he lists three characteristics of fathers as an example of his own ministry among them. As we consider the descriptive role of a godly father, let us ponder these three desirable character traits, "encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God."
"Encouraging" - I had an accident at Bible College in which I injured my knee. This resulted in an operation and several days in the hospital followed by a slow recovery. I was very, very discouraged. Actually I was wallowing in self-pity. I spoke to my dad on the phone and received some meaningful words of encouragement, along with a subtle rebuke as he shared with me a mature perspective on life's trials.
"Comforting" – Of course both parents have these duties and in many ways we may associate receiving loving words of comfort more with our mothers. It's harder for me to recall reassuring words or comforting gestures from my dad, but a related memory comes to mind indicating my dad's love for his wife and family. In 1967 Mom took my sister and me on a train to California to see my oldest brother Mike and his family. My dad stayed home to work. He missed us a lot and when he met us at the train station upon our return, it was the first time I ever saw him cry. That was a side of him I had never seen and it has remained with me to this day. Perhaps his tears were a demonstration of love that was of special reassurance to me at the time.
"Urging you to live lives worthy of God" – My dad was a skillful pipefitter and knowledgeable in many other areas. I recall going to work with him in the hot Kansas City summers when I was in high school. My dad came to faith later in life so I really can’t recall many verbal lessons of a spiritual nature. But he sure demonstrated faithfulness, responsibility, and hard work in caring and providing for his family. Biblically this is certainly a component in living a life worthy of God.
Do you see these characteristics in your own father? Though there are a number of you who cannot identify with this kind of father figure, there are others who've experienced a similar relationship. If possible, why don't you personally honor your father by recalling some instances when this happened and share it with him in person, by telephone, through a written letter or a personal tribute.*
Fathers, what a powerful model is taught in our daily text. How are you at encouraging and comforting your children? Do you urge them to live lives worthy of God? These are a big part of your Scriptural mandate as a father. Let us be found faithful in the godly task before us!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Jesus, may words of encouragement, comfort, and exhortation flow from our lips so that we may spur others on in the faith, most especially our own children. We pray that You would help Christian fathers everywhere to verbalize their faith and live in a way that honors You and shows others where their source of strength lies. Help them to be the spiritual leaders of their homes so that a harvest of righteousness and peace will rest upon their households. Amen.
Brooksyne's note: My dad worked long hours and played very little as I was growing up. As a retired grandfather he made up for his lack of play with the grandchildren who smothered him with love. Ester, along with her cousin, Courtney, put Daddy in a loving bear hug in the photo. He was bearing with it but also enjoying the loving moment (a year before his death.)
Every year when we celebrate Father's Day I give thanks to God for my godly heritage. While living in the badlands of New Mexico my great grandfather led my grandfather to faith. Farming on the mountains of Arkansas my grandfather led my father to salvation. While growing up in the plains of Oklahoma my father taught me to live for Christ. And now for the past eighteen years Stephen and I have had the greatest privilege of raising Ester in the ways of the Lord as we've ministered in the Northeastern region for the past 30 years. Five generations, spread all over the U.S. have declared, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" There is no greater blessing! On Sunday I will carry my grandfather's Bible to church, as I always do on Fathers Day, in remembrance of my Christian heritage. Daddy left this treasured Bible to me upon his death in 2000.
My tribute written to my parents when they were both living.
Some suggested music along today's theme (audio files):
"Find Us Faithful" (audio file) sung by Ron and Gary Matthews
"Remember Mercy" (audio file) by Brian Doerksen
We sang a song often in the church we served in New England based upon this verse, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord" but I was unable to find an online audio version.
Our dog Roxie enjoys walking right through Donegal Creek.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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