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 Post Post subject: Devotions - Sunday, June 17th, 2007
Posted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:27 am 
Catspaw knows all

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Reading: Proverbs 19, Proverbs 20, Proverbs 21; Acts 3

Good morning Church,

Happy Father’s Day everyone. I hope it is a good one for you dads and I hope that you enjoy your families today.

There is a very distinct difference between moms and dads. The world will tell you otherwise as our society desperately tries to neuter the roles of male and female. God made us distinctly male and female and gave us different purposes which we understand physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Although in Christ there is no male and female in that there is no lesser and greater, there is however a distinction in our purposes.

Moms are those wonderful creatures who give us life. They are the ones who teach us how to deal with our early emotions. Moms give us the foundational stuff in our lives, often being the ones who hold us through the night, change our diapers, feed us, teach us to walk, how to talk and how to go potty. Moms are the nurturers. Moms will always be moms and we will always love them for it. When we want sympathy we will turn to mom. When we want unquestioned understanding we turn to mom. Mom is so often the easier one to talk to. It sounds like mother’s day, but no, I only want to draw the contrast with the roles that fathers play because dads are the trainers.

Many people including Christians will tell you that moms are the teachers, which they are but there is a difference between the teacher and the trainer. In most of the scripture that deals with the training of children it is the father who is addressed. The father’s role is training his children for their life in the world in the context of their faith. Consider the role of the father for a moment. He is the protector of the family. He is the rescuer when any of the children are in trouble. He is the one who applies the necessary discipline when the wrong course of action is taken. He is often the one who teaches the more adventurous activities such as bike riding, swimming, tree climbing. He is the wrestler in the house, the hockey and basket ball player. When you think about it, the dad gets to do all the fun stuff. Yet all these activities are about growing up.

One of the biggest roles of the dad is to help both mom and child understand the changing dynamics of relationship in the growing up process. There is a natural separation that takes place between the nurturer and the child as that child begins to turn away from the protective environment to look at the world. Some moms can have difficulty with this as can some children. Dads often have to set the ever changing boundaries of the growing desire for independence. Sometimes moms do not want to let go and often the process is too slow for the teen. Dads must use their God-given wisdom to broker these years because it is his role to ease his children into the world.

Now, most of what I am saying to you I could say to any person on the street but there is a greater role that makes all the others possible. It is the father’s responsibility to do all this in the context of his faith. There are a few proverbs that speak of what happens when this is done right:

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22)

He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)

The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. (Proverbs 20:7)

We all know that there is a huge difference in a family when the father is a follower of Jesus Christ. There is a definite spiritual authority that belongs to the father as he sets his children on the correct path. He has the responsibility for setting the spiritual tone of the family. It will not be a perfect family, it never is, and each child must make their own choice for the Lord, but there is always a difference in the family with a believing father.

Now this brings me to the actual topic I wanted us to consider, the spiritual roles of fathers, not only in their families but in the Church as well. I want to use a strange piece of scripture for this purpose. Look again to Acts 3. We find Peter and John going off to the temple. As they approached the gate they are accosted by a crippled man who was begging for money. Let’s stop here for a moment and consider this.

Often in our families and in our church we will be faced with very practical problems. Sometimes our children will need new clothing. Sometimes they need a lot of things. In our church we may need new chairs. Sometimes the church needs a lot of things. Men are usually doers so the first thing they will do is try to meet that need. For the sake of the children they may decide to get a second job. For the church they may decide to hold a car wash. Very practical ways of meeting the needs presented to them. But this is not what Peter and John did. They did what was given them to do; they put their faith to practical purpose.

Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8)

My son comes to me, “Dad, I can’t pay my phone bill. I was foolish with my money this month.” What do I do? Pull out my wallet and help? I would have to quote from Peter, “Silver or gold I do not have.” But what I could do with my son is talk about the importance of the wise use of our money. Then lead him in confession to Jesus on his foolishness and ask for the Lord’s help. I would be passing on my faith to my son as Peter and John did to the crippled man. Miracles do still happen.

The temptation of men is to be the practical doers. But what do we do when we don’t have the materials to do it? Do we just shrug our shoulders and say, oh well? Just because we do not have the materials does not mean the work stops. We need spiritual fathers in this church who will never quit just because we do not have the finances. We need spiritual dads as heads of the family and we need spiritual fathers to take leadership of the church.

Peter and John could have just said, “Sorry, we have no money” and kept going. But they knew they had something of greater worth than money to share, they had faith. The men of this church have the spiritual responsibility for setting down the path of faith. We have the responsibility to be passing on our faith to those who have not yet acquired it. We are the spiritual guardians, the protectors, the providers. We have the responsibility to help this congregation not to hide away looking for constant nurturing but instead to turn and face the world in which we must serve. We need these fathers to take their place. There are not many of us but the few we have can make all the difference.

I am not sure about the rest of you but I feel inadequate for the job and yet here I have been placed. I feel I have often neglected my responsibility as I am sure the other fathers feel the same way. The only way we can fill our responsibility both with the Church and at home is to surrender completely to our Lord Jesus Christ and to become attentive to the Spirit’s voice. It is great that our families are celebrating our roles today but let us also be realists in this thing and ask if we are being the best dads we can be. I guarantee you we can do better if we would understand our roles better as spiritual dads, empowered by Jesus Christ.

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