Yesterday I was blessed to hear a wonderful sermon by Dr. Mike Long, Senior Pastor at a Methodist Church. It being Father’s Day, Mike preached about how to be a good father – but his words of wisdom can be applied to either parent and even those whose friends have children. Mike took his message from Ephesians 6: 1-4, and from All Pro Dad – Seven Essentials to be a Hero to Your Kids by Mark Merrill.
Photo courtesy of businessesgrow.com.
There are probably thousands of moms out there, blogging like me, about how to raise kids, how to be a wife, and any number of things we women devote our lives to when we’re raising the future. We don’t focus so much on fathers. Dads. The spiritual leaders of our families.
I wanted my husband to lead our family in such a manner before we married. Then I realized that we were on different spiritual levels. I wasn’t comfortable handing over the reins to him. In fact, I was angry about it.
Over time, I have learned that he has to lead our family whether he’s “ready” or not, and if I have to step in and offer guidance that’s fine. Everyone matures at their own pace, in their own time – it’s just the way it is. He’s mature in some areas in which I suck!
As for being a dad, my husband came on board, from the very first, loving my oldest child, who is not his biologically. But when it came to having our own child together, it was, as my Mama would say, “a rude awakening.” He had no idea how much raising a growing family would cost, how to handle a baby, what to do in any number of situations – you name it, he had to figure it out. There was one heck of a learning curve!
But there was always ONE THING he had down right from the beginning, and that is love. Mike reminded the congregation that loving fathers are vital to children today. And they really are. “They need to provide strength, knowledge, and sympathy. Sometimes you succeed at that and other times you blow it. It’s hard to strike a balance.” How many parents out there know how very true this is? Um, all of us, hello!
Most of us know of the Biblical admonitions to honor and obey your parents. That if you do, you will prosper in life. But what does “prosper” mean? I don’t take that literally. I don’t think that if you do what your parents want and always respect them (honoring them), that you will grow up to become rich and famous. Prospering to me means being rich in the glory of the Lord. Being wealthy isn’t in the cards for all of us; it’s just not. But there are plenty of us prospering without the earthly money and we are better off it! I personally could be prospering a whole lot more if I had followed this counsel while I was growing up.
Mark Merill wrote that love is the most important thing a father has to offer. It’s not, by any means, the only thing, however. There are many ways to succeed in raising your children in a godly manner. The following are a combination of Mark’s ideas and Mike’s wisdom.
- Love your spouse and your family. Spend time with them. All kids are different, so get to know yours!
- Be a role model.
- Be affectionate and loving with your kids.
- Eat together as a family!
- Discipline them in a loving way.
- Pray and worship together.
Continue to grow in the Lord, all you dads out there. Show your kids you are reading God’s word – let them see you praying, studying Scripture, and learning more about your walk. They need to see that at home and also in corporate worship. In these ways you will prosper and so will your family.
This post doesn’t just apply to fathers or even mothers – it applies to those out there who don’t have kids of their own, but their friends do. How can you be part of a godly village raising the kids in your life?