“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13 NIV).
I am convinced that the Lord bestows no greater blessing to us on earth than the blessing of children. They are beautiful sons and daughters of God and made in His image. The song I learned in Sunday School, “Jesus loves the little children of the world” is just as true today as it was then and will be forever.
Father’s Day is for all men regardless if you have been blessed with children or if your father was present in your life. We all have a Heavenly Father that loves us more than we can ever comprehend. For those of us that are blessed with children or grandchildren, we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that they are raised to know and love Christ. Proverbs 22:6 teaches, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Our children learn by watching us. They are watching both parents. Daughters look to their father to understand what is a Godly man. A young girl’s expectations of a future husband are formed at an early age by watching how her father treats her mother. Similarly, sons learn from their father how to treat their future wife. As fathers we have the ability to teach them to honor or dishonor women.
The most important thing with children is what you do, not what you say. How effective is it for a father to tell his son not to use tobacco while the father is smoking a cigarette? As a young boy, I was always watching my father. I understood that his words were true because they were supported by his actions. I was blessed because he brought me up in accordance with Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” My father not only made sure I attended church to hear the Word proclaimed, but he did his best to model authentic manhood for me by showing kindness to strangers, those in need, and honoring my mother.
Our prisons are filled with young men that grew up without a father present in the house. Sadly, many times when the father was present, he was not engaged in raising the child. Sadly, many of these fathers are doing the best they can with what they have. You can’t give what you don’t have. So, how can we expect a man to model Christ in his life when he is spiritually bankrupt?
It has been said that the best sermons are lived and not preached. This is not meant to diminish the importance of the spoken Word. The Word is powerful and is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It is meant to emphasize the importance of what we do because our children are watching to see if our actions correspond to our words.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for the blessing of children. May we always be mindful that they are made in your image. Amen.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is a Past President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.