Bible’s view: The role of Fathers

On this Father’s Day let us commend the many fathers around the world who are doing an admirable job of shouldering their responsibilities. These men have realized that being a father is more than simply “making babies” and putting food on the table. They have given their time, their love and their support in helping to raise children in this stressful world.

However there is still a troubling reality that needs to be addressed. Many homes have caring mothers shouldering most of the burdens of raising children while the fathers are absent. In some cases the father is in the family – he lives home – but he is not involved in the lives of his children. He is mentally and emotionally detached from his family and simply plays the role of a “bread winner.”

Other fathers have simply decided that the role of fatherhood is too much for them and have disappeared. While they may re-appear periodically and give a token contribution towards child rearing, their children demand and deserve much more.

To be a better father a man must realize that children need much more than monetary support. They need and deserve a father’s love, time and attention. When children miss out on these essential things, they often times exhibit behavioral problems such as uncontrolled aggression, defiance, apathy, and poor performance at school. At times, these children become restless and find it hard to sleep.

Fathers (and mothers) should share the view of the Bible at Psalms 127:3 where it reads, “No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a divine reward.” Have we ever considered that the Lord will hold us personally responsible for the care of this precious “gift”?

Parents and especially fathers do well to remember these words: “Whoever does not care for his own relatives, especially his own family members, has turned against the faith and is worse than someone who does not believe in God.” 1 Timothy 5:8 (New Century Version)

The greatest father we know – our Heavenly Father – can teach us a few things about fathering. Consider the time when God’s voice was heard from heaven and directed at his son. Matthew 3:17 tells us that at the baptism of his son Jesus, God was heard saying, “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” What lessons can fathers take from this account?

1. Can you imagine the effect on a child if his/her father said proudly “This is my son” or “This is my daughter”? Positive acknowledgments such as this do wonders for a child and help build his/her self-esteem. Fathers do not hold back from expressing your acknowledgement and acceptance of your children.

2. God expressed how he felt about his son Jesus, when he referred to him as “the beloved.” How reassuring are those words of endearment! Jesus must have been very pleased to hear those words. Fathers, your children too will be encouraged if you show by your words – as well as by your time, attention, and concern – that you dearly love them.

3. The latter part of Matthew 3:17 tells us that God approved of his son and what he was doing. After fully accepting the role for which he was sent to earth Jesus symbolized his willingness to do God’s will by baptism. Fathers are admonished to follow the command laid out at Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” A father will very likely approve of the path his children take if he spent time training his children and laying the groundwork for their future lives.

Being a father is a challenging job but it can be very rewarding. View children as they rightly are: miraculous gifts from God. Treasure and care for these gifts.

© Jonathan 6/2012

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