Father's Day celebrates its centennial in 2010. It did not become a national holiday until 1972 when President Richard Nixon declared it to be the third Sunday of June. Each year ties are bought to give to dad and cards abound with well wishes from spouse and family. In 1994 President Bill Clinton tried to establish a gender neutral "Parents Day" on the last Sunday of July but it was not accepted by the people. It is hard to compete against the emotional and commercial appeal of Mother's Day and Father's Day. A century removed from its humble origin Fathers Day is somewhat of an enigma.
In a country where marriage and the home are looked upon with disdain, what is the value in having Father's Day? The days of "Father Knows Best" are viewed in hysterical fits of derision by most people. Television portrays the man as a bumbling idiot who is only interested in sex and that fatherhood is just producing children. Talk shows receive high ratings from viewers who want to know who the father of those children will be as fits of rage and anger spew from filthy mouths. Our so-called "heroes" of our day (movie stars, entertainers and athletes) have children out of wedlock to the praise of societal norms. Role models are few and far between from our leaders, our schools, our communities and even in many churches. Where have all the fathers gone?
Real fathers are like the man Abraham. The Lord said of this father, "For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:18-19). The Lord knew Abraham because Abraham knew the Lord. How many of you Father's know the Lord? Really know the Lord? Can you answer the questions suggested by Deuteronomy 6:20 - "When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?" Real fathers know the answers.
Abraham was the kind of father to command his children and his household after him. He had respect from his children and his children respected him. Fathers teach their children respect by example, by word and by diligent caring for the soul of the child. The measure of this respect is found in Abraham's love for God. Everything he did was determined by what God thought. Fathers often are looking for answers of how to deal with their children. The answers are found in the path of righteousness. Godly men who lead by godly means will find godly children following them. Keep their focus on God.
The purpose of Abraham's role as the leader of his home was to instruct his family to keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice. He instilled in them the right things according to the will of God. Abraham taught his family justice in accordance with the fairness he learned from his relationship with God. The justice of God was his rule. What was right was right in God's will and nothing else.
Father's Day in America has lost its glitter and appeal because fatherhood has been taken out of the minds of the people. When you take God out of the nation you take the purpose and design of the home. Without God there is no home. Every day should be a day for fathers to reaffirm their will to the righteousness of God. We must commit ourselves to the higher calling of raising our children as our Father would want.
By Kent Heaton
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