Making a case for fathers

I spoke on Mother’s Day one year and said that men occasionally strike terror into the hearts of their wives with their schemes and

I spoke on Mother’s Day one year and said that men occasionally strike terror into the hearts of their wives with their schemes and dreams. I noticed several wives amicably poking their husbands in the ribs and the husbands looking a little embarrassed. In that same year, when Father’s Day came, I suggested that men often feel used, unappreciated and at times consider themselves to be little more than a walking chequebook from which family members tear off a cheque and then go merrily on their way.

This time, I didn’t see anyone getting ribbed, but I did notice several men nodding in agreement and some of them had tears in their eyes.

I’ve no intention of throwing a pity party for fathers … but there are a few things I’d like to mention. For example, last year in the U.S., $14.6 billion was spent on Mother’s Day, compared to $9.4 billion for Father’s Day. Incidentally, that’s forgivable because dads often say, “Don’t waste your money on me,” and they actually mean it. (I’d suggest not taking that statement too literally from the gentler gender).

Have you noticed there are far more inspirational and touching stories about selfless, sacrifi cial mothers, than there are about fathers? And though I’m a father, I admit that I submitted my Mother’s Day column four days before Mother’s Day; this one will come out three days late for Father’s Day!

Is this because there are no selfless, loving fathers out there? I’m certain this isn’t so.

What about the Bible? Surely, it treats moms and dads with fairness. Well … there are verses that address both moms and dads. Proverbs 1:8 says, “Hear … your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 6:20 adds, “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.” However, you’ll fi nd that most instruction, accountability and responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of fathers, not mothers. Apparently, being a father is not all peaches and cream!

With a proactive look to the future rather than a retroactive glance to three days ago, let me share a couple of dramatically condensed biblical admonitions for family members that might help dads.

Wives are to, “love their husbands …” 1 Timothy 5:14. And children, choose wisely as, “The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly, and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him.” (Proverbs 23:24)

Moreover, don’t reject discipline because “… the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11)

Of course, there’s no substitute for obedience. Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father …”

By the way, dads … happy belated Father’s Day!

Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.

— Faith & Reflection

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