Every Person Needs a Good Father
June 18, 2023
Every Person Needs a Good Father
Today our culture celebrates fathers and their contribution to the family and society.
If you are a father, are you leading your family in spiritual things?
Are you providing for your family?
Are you providing guidance for your family as our culture is challenged with ungodly ideals of sexuality and relationship?
Your children and your grandchildren are looking for you to provide for them an example of godly living.
Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.
What happens in your family forms the foundation for the rest of your life.
Genesis 18:17-19 (NIV)
Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
Home is where the heart is…
*Deuteronomy 5:9-10 (NLT)*
You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NLT)
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Ephesians 6:1-4 (NLT)
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 (AMPC)
Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.]
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Fathers are Pattern Setters.
They set the trends and patterns for so much of life in their children.
How we see ourselves, the value we place on ourselves.
The value we place on relating to God.
Our values about marriage and family.
The role of a man in the home.
How wives are treated in the home.
The value of hard work and personal responsibility.
3 main responsibilities of a father:
Lover, leader, provider.
1. Love God with everything within him.
Matthew 22:36-40 (NKJV)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
2. Love his wife and respect womanhood.
Ephesians 5:25-28 (NLT)
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
Colossians 3:19 (AMPC)
Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them.
1 Peter 3:7 (NLT)
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
3. Model God’s love to his children.
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (NLT)
These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
My dad went to be with Jesus 11 years ago this past March 13th. I preached his funeral and the following came from my notes.
As a child I felt protected and provided for by my dad. He made me feel safe and secure.
A lot of who I am came from him.
10 Things I learned from my dad:
1. Work hard.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
My dad quit school in the 8th grade to help his dad on the farm as they share-cropped some land. He would plow a mule all day long as a teenager.
He drilled that ethic into me and my brothers. He later went on to get his GED and to work for Dupont all his life until retirement in 1991.
My dad built 3 houses in his lifetime. One in 1953 when he and my mother were first married. Then, we moved to Florence SC in the early 1960’s where he bought land, and he and his father build the house there that my brothers and I were raised in. Then, in 1980, my dad bought the property where he and my mom lived in Heath Springs in 1993. He spent 13 years remodeling that house from the ground up.
Dad always had a project going on: adding a bathroom to our house; enclosing the side porches, building a huge garage, installing central vacuum cleaners as a side business, spending 13 years building his retirement home. Building outbuildings on his property; working his HUGE garden.
2. Be frugal.
Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.
My dad was frugal to the extreme. He watched what he did with every penny he made. After we moved to Florence, my mother never worked outside the home, and my father provided for his wife and three sons well. He used resources wisely.
After I was grown and married, he told me that he went to the bank to get a loan for something, and that the banker was amazed at what he owned based on his income. My dad told me the banker was astonished, having never seen anything like it before. My dad was ultra frugal, ultra resourceful, and ultra wise. Every penny counted.
For instance, in the mid sixties, he decided to build a 2-car garage with a shop area and with an extra area on the back for tractor, lawn mower and all things yard and garden storage.
He bought the materials from a torn-down house and had them delivered to our yard. My brother Robert and I spend hours pulling nails out of boards and placing the nails in plastic milk jugs. Then we spent hours straightening the nails with a hammer on a piece of steel. My brother Robert and I chipped all the old mortar off of used brick with a hammer and chisel. The garage was built with the materials from the old torn-down house.
Frugality. Nothing was wasted, ever. The garage was built with cinder block, used brick, used mortar (under the cement floor), used lumber, and used nails. Add to that a lot of creativity.
One time he bought A LOT of plastic 55 gallon drums, and had them delivered to our property during the winter months so he could store them in a garden space on our land. Dad sold them a little at a time for some good profit! Frugal.
Nothing was ever thrown away. He may be able to use it later.
3. Be honest.
Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)
Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
My dad was a very honest man. He did not lie and did not cheat. On anything. Ever. We were taught that lying was one of the worst things a person could be involved in. This impacted my life deeply before I met Jesus.
I’ve not always been a “good” guy. As a teenager I got involved with smoking cigarettes and pot before I met Jesus. On the way to church he asked me if I smoked cigarettes. I could not lie and answered yes. It got really quiet in the car. Then, my dad asked me if I smoked pot. Again, I just could not lie, and told him yes. I knew I was in trouble when he spoke not one word the rest of the trip, and did not look at me even one time during the rest of the ride to church, while there, or while on the way home.
When I got home, I went to my room and shut the door. Just before he retired for the night, my dad came into my room. My light was on while I was reading. I thought he was going to absolutely butcher me. Instead, he sat on my bed, looked deeply into my eyes, and with tears streaming down both cheeks said, Mitch, you disappoint me.
I would have preferred that he beat me, for that would not have pierced me the way his words did. I quit smoking pot soon after this.
His honest heart broke mine. I’ve never been the same.
4. Love your wife.
My dad loved my mom.
Proverbs 5:18 NKJV
Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
Ephesians 5: 25
Husbands, love your wife, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her…
In this day of easy divorce, live-in lovers and adultery, my dad loved my mom in a pure way.
They met in December of 1952 as he just finished a tour in the Army being stationed in Korea as an MP. It was love at first sight.
My dad dated plenty of girls, but when he saw my red haired, freckled faced mom – he went head over heels for her. My mom did the same for him. When she saw him in his army fatigues for the first time, she just told me “a feeling I never had before came over me.” They dated 6 months and were married in July of 1953.
My childhood was filled with memories of my dad singing love songs to my mom:
You, you, you are my true love; you, you, you are the one. We’ll spend our lives together sharing the rain and the sun. Just one look at you; that’s when I knew we’d never part; they’ll never be another true love for me, you are the one love that lives in my heart.
Or, tell me why the ivy twines, tell me why the stars do shine, tell me why the sky is so blue, and I’ll tell you darling just why I love you...
They sang, held hands together, helped each other when sick, disagreed with passion, hugged, kissed, and just romanced each other their whole lives long – for over 58 years. It never stopped.
Just the day before my dad died, my mom told him that she would love to just lay down beside him in bed and hold him. He could hardly talk because of the hard breathing…He put his fingers together and finally got out…I would squeeze you like this…
My dad taught me how to be nice to womanhood, to hold the door open, to help women. To respect and not demean them.
5. Enjoy a hobby.
My dad loved gardening and all things horticulture…
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!
He planted all sorts of bushes and flowers; fruit trees and grapevines in our yards. He planted a HUGE garden every year of my life. He loved it, sweat and all.
6. Don’t be so serious.
Whit and humor
A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
My dad loved to joke around. He constantly picked on all of us … mercilessly.
He cut up and picked on friends and family, on my mom and my brothers and me. And if you talked to him long, his wit would automatically display itself.
7. Keep your heart free.
My dad loved to sing, whistle and hum.
Ephesians 5:19 (NKJV)
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
Working around the house, in the yard, in the garden…or taking a shower and shaving…or driving wherever…he would do one of three things. He would either sing, whistle, or hum. Often songs from the Baptist hymnal, or love songs from the forties, or songs from the fifties.
I always wondered what a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater was (a popular hit song he sang to me from 1958).
I can still sing London Bridge is falling down in perfect Korean…he sang it to me as a child.
8. Use the skills God gave you.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NKJV)
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Pragmatist and jack of all trades.
My dad would rig something out of nothing to make whatever work. He repaired our cars, our bikes, the water heater, the toilet, the roof, the furniture, the yard and gardening equipment.
He took a course in small engine repair so lawn mowers always worked; he took a course in pesticides and got a license just to rid the garden of bugs and the yard of those pesky mosquitoes.
He rigged an ingenious device on his riding lawn mower when I was a kid that sprayed a mixture of used motor oil and malathion (bug killer) on our bushes so the mosquitoes would not drag us away.
A huge snow storm in 1973 dumped 20+ inches of snow on SC, and nobody could travel. He rigged a snowplow made of wood onto his 1950 John Deere tractor and cleared our country community roads.
He threw away nothing. Tires, lumber, brick, milk jugs, nails, screws, washers, nuts, bolts…you name it.
9. Take a rest day every week.
Exodus 20:8-10 (NLT)
Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.
My dad celebrated rest on Sundays.
He worked hard for 6 days, but Sundays were for church, eating dinner, and resting. I’ve been in Christian ministry for 42 years. He would constantly ask me, “Mitch, are you taking a break each week?”
10. Be genuine.
Romans 12:9-16 (NLT)
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
My Dad was a Christian – a real one.
He did not like the political facade that some attach to church life; he was real about everything. He did not play religious games.
But he loved going to church. My dad read his Bible. He prayed. He loved people. But he would not play the lip service religion game. Not my dad.
He prayed over his meals, and he prayed for us boys. He was an ordained deacon for many years. He taught Sunday School classes. He repented when he sinned.
After I had a potentially serious auto accident that all walked away from in August of 1995, I called mom and dad. My dad told me that he had dreamed that I had died the day before and had prayed for me all day long.
In 2004, I was on the way to Calcutta India, and to Nepal on a missions endeavor. My dad kept asking me for weeks, “Are you sure you should be going on this trip?” He knew something was up. My appendix burst mid-flight from Raleigh to Atlanta. I never got on the next flight. I had an emergency appendectomy. My dad knew and prayed.
Today, children need to be taught the values of honor, respect for themselves, others, and God. They need to be taught honesty, integrity, and hard work. They need to be taught to love God and put the most important things first.
And men, you have the responsibility of setting the tone in your home that will affect your kids for the rest of their lives.
If your kids are grown and you did it all wrong, there is forgiveness and mercy from the Father God.
A Pledge To Be A Godly Father:
I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife,
and my children.
I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God
as the spiritual leader of my home.
I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my
life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those
I have wronged.
I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man
answerable to God.
I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.