A couple of years back, I spent three days in Galilee. Jesus was raised here. His earthly father Joseph was a “tekton” who made useful things of stone or wood. I am certain a young Jesus must have shadowed Joseph, played with chisels and hammers and dreamed of being a carpenter some day.
But things don’t always go like you figure. Joseph disappears from the Biblical narrative after Jesus turned twelve and most assume he died. It must have been tough on young Jesus. Clearly Jesus did not enter this world with a pain free card.
In my reflections upon this story, I would like to offer seven sundry Father’s Day thoughts:
1. Fathers often get a bad rap these days.
Some deserve it. But if you actually had a good father who is still living, make a big deal about Father’s Day this year. We need to get as serious about celebrating good men as we are about deprecating those who fall short.
2. Father’s take time to be present with your children.
Truly present. While they are young. Don’t put yourself in position to cry every time you hear “Cats in the Cradle.” You still have time. Do better. Put down the stupid phone and get in the game.
3. Father’s be spiritual leaders.
The Bible teaches it is your responsibility to see to the spiritual development of your children. Talk about your faith. Take them to church, don’t send them! Teach them to serve and give. Teach them the great stories of the Bible. Answer their questions. Grow with them!
4. Remember that children learn by what they see, not by what they are told.
Model Godliness. Admit your mistakes when you fail. Watch your mouth and attitude. Treat their mother with respect. Be gentle. Be authentic.
5. Take nothing for granted.
The moment you de-prioritize a thing is the moment it begins slipping away. Never take your children for granted. They are God’s kids who He entrusted to you. You just get one shot at raising your kids. There are no “do-overs” here.
6. Love unconditionally.
Your children and not perfect or great at everything. Neither are you. Unconditional love does not require unconditional approval but it does require intentionality. Love based on performance teaches children nothing about God.
7. Be faithful.
And whatever you do, don’t do something dumb and blow the whole dad thing to crap.Your children think you are the greatest. Don’t disappoint them.
Father are not “owners” of our children, we are stewards of God’s children.
God has entrusted us to raise them so lets raise them well!
Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois