On this Father’s Day, I want to encourage and challenge the men I know, as well as rejoice over God’s grace in my own life. My Dad and my Grandad have both been my heroes growing up. I am grateful God allowed us to grow up with both men active in our daily lives. Whereas many children of ministry parents, including my own, do not get to live close to family or grandparents, we had the privilege of living in the same town as both sets of our grandparents. My one grandfather died when we were very young; however, my Grandad Carson only lived about ten minutes away from us and we saw each other often during the week. I had the privilege to watch Dad and Grandad as they worked, played, worshipped, parented, and husbanded. I appreciate in greater words than pen can write what I observed and learned.
Over the years Psalm 71:16-18 have been three of my favorite verses. There is an incredible challenge here for each of us as fathers.
16 I will go in the strength of the Lord God;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
17 O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.
The psalmist here emphasizes three elements that challenge each one of us as fathers.
First, he recognized God as his teacher. Now we know that God literally does not teach us in a classroom; however, through God’s Word as it gets applied in life’s circumstances, God teaches each of us. In this psalm, the author has lived a life close to the Lord. He has observed God’s ways and recognizes God’s kindness as His protector and sovereign Lord. He has enjoyed sweet communion with God since childhood. As a middle-aged man, I can look back and say with this psalmist, I know God and have been taught by Him. I do not know Him as much as I desire yet; however, I have today to keep learning Him.
Second, he committed to declaring God’s wondrous works and God’s power to his generation and those that are to come. His goal was simple – declare God. God’s character and His words are worthy of our worship. I hope to do the same. As a Christian since childhood, I can say like this psalmist that I have been taught from my youth. I have heard both my Dad and Grandad regularly teach from God’s Word in formal settings and of course in daily life. I have watched them as they lived it out when it was convenient and when it was not. I am grateful for my examples and teachers.
Third, our commitment cannot just be to our generation, we must live life in the present with an eye for the future. Yes, it is vitally important to live today with those around us for God’s glory. We cannot fail in daily living. The psalmist is concerned that although he has lived consistent throughout his life to this point, that somehow now as an older man he will be unfaithful. Why? Because he understood the necessity of today and also the hope of the future generation. He saw the bigger picture than what was immediately in front of him. He understood that what is said and done matters to more than just oneself. He recognized the importance of being a leader. He depended upon the Lord to grant him the strength to be faithful to his generation and also to the next. He recognized that although leaving a physical inheritance – no matter the size – is important, it is more important and absolutely necessary to leave a heritage of loving and serving God. I am so grateful that I have had the privilege of that kind of heritage myself, and certainly recognize this as the gift of the Lord. I desire to leave that same kind of heritage to my children and their children as well.
What then is our challenge today men on Father’s Day?
- Live life with God as your teacher. Read the Word. Study the Word. Memorize the Word. Go to church. Be around other godly men. Read good theological literature that helps you apply God’s Word in your life. Soak up God’s Word until it consumed you. Have men push and challenge you on how you live it. Be consistently learning from God.
- Share what you learn with others. As you love and learn God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit, make sure that you share it with others. Do not neglect the privilege and responsibility of living an outward faith – a walk with the Lord. Your faith was never meant to be private. Live it. Live it consistently around people – at home, at work, at play, at church. Share it regularly.
- Consider the heritage you leave for this generation and the next generation. Your children are watching you know. They see. They learn. They know what is important to you and what is not important to you. They get you more than you know. You will be known for something. If the future, your children will laugh and tell stories about you. In the future they will sit around and remanence. For what will you be known? What heritage will you leave? When you die, may your family never wonder about your walk with God. I often tell men to live life today so that when you near death your family will not wonder if you will go to heaven.
This Father’s Day I am grateful for my godly heritage. God’s grace in the likeness of a Dad and Grandad is marvelous and undeserved. I commit myself to leaving the same kind of heritage by God’s grace.
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What about you today father, will you commit yourself to leaving that kind of heritage?