Some of you may remember Erma Bombeck, the humorist columnist. I used to read her newspaper columns and get a good laugh at how she could make a serious point using humor. A couple of her books include: “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” And “The Grass is always Greener over the Septic Tank.” Here is a column she published one Fathers Day:What Does a Dad Do?
Last year I received a letter too late to use for Father’s Day, but it is still relevant. A single mother had raised a son who was about to become a dad. Since he had no recollection of his own father, her question to me was “What do I tell him a father does?”
When my dad died in my ninth year, I, too, was raised by my mother, giving rise to the same question, “What do fathers do?” As far as I could observe, they brought around the car when it rained so everyone else could stay dry.
They always took the family pictures, which is why they were never in them. They carved turkeys on Thanksgiving, kept the car gassed up, weren’t afraid to go into the basement, mowed the lawn, and tightened the clothesline to keep it from sagging.
It wasn’t until my husband and I had children that I was able to observe firsthand what a father contributed to a child’s life. What did he do to deserve his children’s respect? He rarely fed them, did anything about their sagging diapers, wiped their noses or fannies, played ball, or bonded with them under the hoods of their cars.
What did he do’
He threw them higher than his head until they were weak from laughter. He cast the deciding vote on the puppy debate. He listened more than he talked. He let them make mistakes. He allowed them to fall from their first two-wheeler without having a heart attack. He read a newspaper while they were trying to parallel park a car for the first time in preparation for their driving test.
If I had to tell someone’s son what a father really does that is important, it would be that he shows up for the job in good times and bad times. He’s a man who is constantly being observed by his children. They learn from him how to handle adversity, anger, disappointment and success.
He won’t laugh at their dreams no matter how impossible they might seem. He will dig out at 1 a.m. when one of his children runs out of gas. He will make unpopular decisions and stand by them. When he is wrong and makes a mistake, he will admit it.
He sets the tone for how family members treat one another, members of the opposite sex and people who are different than they are. By example, he can instill a desire to give something back to the community when its needs are greater than theirs.
But mostly, a good father involves himself in his kids’ lives. The more responsibility he has for a child, the harder it is to walk out of his life.
A father has the potential to be a powerful force in the life of a child. Grab it!
Maybe you’ll get a greeting card for your efforts. Maybe not. But it’s steady work.
Erma Bombeck, Field Enterprises
Erma Bombeck died n 1996 from kidney disease and complications from a kidney transplant operation.
On this Father’s Day, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of fathers and the impact they make on the lives of their children.
In Matthew 7:10-11 Jesus said, “Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven givegood things to those who ask Him! “
This morning, let us consider the Father of all fathers, Father God Himself—the One who wants to give good things to those who ask Him!
I. FATHER GOD IS ABOVE ALL OTHERS!
a. The title “God” signifies Supreme. There is no other like Him. No matter what else you may elevate to the top of your most important List, God tops it all…
b. Exodus 9:14 “For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.
c. Deuteronomy 3:24 “O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours?”
d. In the Old Testament there are several examples of false gods being exposed. One example is found in 1 Samuel 5: 1-4—“After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.”
e. In our own lives sometimes we consciously, or even unconsciously, allow others things or values to usurp the place of God. It may be our work, our money, our possessions, or it may even be our false concepts about God. But Father God as revealed in the Bible is supreme.
f. In Genesis one He is called “Elohim” which means “The Strong One.” He alone has all Strength, all Power, all Authority in Heaven and Earth. He alone has all Knowledge, all Wisdom. He never makes mistakes. His way is always right. Isaiah 55:9 reminds us that, “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
II. FATHER GOD IS CREATOR OF ALL.
a. The very first verse in our Bible establishes this truth: “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” The 7 days of creation are then outlined in the opening chapter of Genesis.
b. There are so many theories of how the earth was formed. One of the primary theories suggests that there was a massive explosion—a “Big Bang” which hurled the heavenly bodies into existence. But this theory, and none other that I am aware of, can explain where the “Stuff” came from originally before it was hurled out from the supposed explosion. But the Bible tells us that in essence, There was nothing until God spoke it into existence.
c. In Colossians 1: 15-17 we read, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and to him all thing hold together.”
d. FATHER GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE
i. The creation story tells how God created life—first the plant life, then the sea life and finally the birds and animals. And on the 6th day of creation He created humans—Adam and Eve. Again, I am aware of the Theory of Evolution. But there are obvious problems with that theory. There’s a little book called “Genesis in Space and Time” written by Francis Schaeffer that points out that there are key words in Genesis chapter one that occur at spots where evolution breaks down—and the word literally means “Created something out of nothing.”
e. The bottom line is, no matter what theories mankind might propose, God was the instigator and Creator of it all!
III. FATHER GOD CARES FOR EACH OF US.
a. Peter said it very clearly in 2 Peter 3: 8=9—“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends. With the Lord a day is alike a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
b. A recurring phrase throughout the Book of Psalms is “His love endures forever.”
c. And the New Testament underscores that sentiment over and over again in verses like John 3 16—“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” and Romans 5:8 which says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
d. Father God is full of Mercy and Compassion. He loves with an everlasting love. He has promised to be with us always. He said that if we would obey Him He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. He is our Strength, our shelter, our refuge and fortress. He supplies strength and gives wisdom and guidance to all who seek Him. He is the supplier of every good gift we receive. He is unchanging, dependable, reliable. He is for us and not against us. Rather than destroying humanity after the fall, He has provided a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled with Him. FATHER GOD IS DOING ALL HE CAN TO SAVE US. That is why Jesus came and died on the Cross to pay the penalty we owe but could never pay on our own.
i. And someday He will judge the earth and each of us will have to give an account of ourselves to Him. And He who knows our hearts will do what is right by each of us. All He asks is that we accept Jesus as our Savior and obey His commands. And if we do that, He has promised Eternal life in His heavenly kingdom.
ii. That’s our God and Father of all!
It has been said by many in the field of psychology and human behavior that a child’s perception of God is strongly shaped by his or her relationship with their earthly fathers.
Dads: We are not God, but we should strive to live in such a way that our children and grandchildren will see God in us!
Just as God provides for his children, so we should provide for our children. Just as God protects, guides, imparts discipline and instills moral values, we should do likewise.
It would do us well if we would search the scriptures to learn all we can about Father God so that we can do our best to reflect His Presence n our individual lives. Jesus came to reveal to us what Father God is like. Our goal should be to be as much like Jesus as we possibly can.
Holiness is another name for Christ=likeness. We should strive to be like Christ!
The Genesis Creation account tells us that after God had finished His work in creation, He looked it all over and “It was Good.”
May you look at the work you have done as a father and say, “It is all Good.” And may your children follow your leadership!