What’s the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? I like how one little boy described it: “Father’s Day is just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the gift.”
That’s true, isn’t it?
Not only that, but probably more fathers attend church on Mother’s Day than on Father’s Day. Next to Christmas and Easter, Mother’s Day has the highest church attendance. But Father’s Day is one of the days with the lowest church attendance.
I think that’s because on Mother’s Day, moms often want to go to church with their families and then go out and have lunch or brunch afterward.
But on Father’s Day, many dads would prefer staying at home and taking a nap in their La-Z-Boys.
Unfortunately, men are not stepping up to the plate like mothers usually do. There are exceptions, of course. And there are also wayward moms who are horribly neglectful. But in general, mothers are there for their children. We expect them to be there.
Meanwhile, a lot of dads are missing in action.
We even see this in the life of Moses. The Bible tells us that Moses had neglected his responsibilities in the home by not circumcising his son. So his wife, Zipporah, did it herself, and she was very upset with Moses about it (see Exodus 4:24–26).
Even though she was angry with him, he took it on the chin. I think that’s because he knew she was right.
This is the case in far too many Christian homes today. The wife not only is doing her job, but she’s doing her husband’s job as well. That’s because he isn’t being the spiritual leader God has called him to be.
Before a meal, often it’s the wife who says, “We should pray.”
It’s the wife who says, “Hey, will you read a Bible story to the kids and pray with them before they go to bed?”
It’s the wife who says, “We need to get ready for church.”
Wives are taking the initiative in their families.
Yet the Bible directs these words to fathers: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NLT).
This statement assumes the father is present in the home. It was unheard of in first-century culture for a father to abandon his responsibilities in his home. Nowadays, however, it almost seems to be the norm.
Dads are so important because, to a large degree, children base their views of God on their fathers. Fathers are an earthly representative of God.
People often transfer their relationship with their earthly fathers to their heavenly Father. If their earthly father was mean, harsh, or even abusive, they tend to view God that way. If their earthly father was aloof, distant and uncommunicative, then they think God is that way.
Of course, we need to know that God isn’t like that at all. God is loving, caring and nurturing. At the same time, God is just, righteous and holy.
Fathers are a representative of God to their children. That’s why their role is so vital in the home.
It’s the job of fathers (and parents) to train their children, to bring them up in the way of the Lord. The reason we bring them up is because their sinful nature brings them down. I don’t think I need to tell you that your child is a sinner, just like you’re a sinner, and just like we’re all sinners.
I never had to teach my sons how to sin. I never had to sit them down and say, “Boys, today I’m going to teach you how to sin. Let’s start with this word: mine.” Rather, sin came naturally to them, just like it came naturally to me—just like it comes naturally to everyone.
Therefore, we need to help our children come to Jesus and develop their own relationship with God.
Nothing can really happen through us until it has first happened to us. The apostle Paul wrote, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9 NLT).
Some things are caught, and some things are taught. Moses gave us great insights into this: “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7 NLT).
Look for teaching moments with your children. This is a daily thing. It’s a lifestyle, because your children need to see your faith in action.
But right now in our culture, we’re losing fathers at an unprecedented rate. In fact, one expert said that we’re in danger of becoming a fatherless society.
Pretty much every social ill in America today can be traced directly back to the breakdown of the family, and specifically to the absence of fathers—fathers who have abandoned their responsibilities, fathers who have walked away and aren’t doing what God has called them to do.
Studies show that people coming from fatherless homes have higher rates of suicide, incarceration, and drug and alcohol use, among other things.
If husbands and fathers would do what they’re called to do and take the initiative to lead in their homes, it would change our country. It would make all the difference if they would be men of God.
Dads, you need to have it together in your home. It’s time to really man up and be a man of God. Your role is important. Be faithful in it.