The Blessing of Dads
With the 15th anniversary of the founding of Living Oaks Church, I’m reminded that we’re also coming up on the 15th anniversary of my dad's homegoing. I’m glad I can remember my dad fondly. The memories are good ones. Not everyone can say that about their dads. Unfortunately, not everyone considered their fathers a blessing. Not all fathers parented in such a way that they blessed their children.
We once took an epic, cross-country road trip to Georgia to visit some relatives. It was my dad, my sister and me. Mom and the younger brothers flew out. I was 16 and able to share in the driving. Somewhere in New Mexico we were camping. I was sound asleep on a cot under a canvas lean-to off the side of our VW van. It began to rain heavily and the cloth stretching above me began to fill with water. My dad could see what was happening. He decided to remedy the situation by pushing up on the sagging shelter, now heavy with about two gallons of water. The water flowed a different direction than he had intended; It poured directly onto my sleeping face! The odd part was that didn’t faze me. I continued to snooze soundly! What eventually interrupted my slumber was not the soggy pillow, or the near-water-boarding experience, but his uncontrollable laughter!
In his later years, we became more like friends, spending time together. Often, we had breakfast together on Friday mornings, after his retirement and leading up to my opportunity to start Living Oaks. I’m thankful he got to see the first several months of LOC as we were getting off the ground. I always felt like I had his blessing. He expressed it in different ways. That is an indispensable thing for a father to give a son.
You may never have had the opportunity to receive a blessing from your biological father. Maybe that privilege fell to someone else—perhaps a spiritual father. The Apostle Paul considered himself a spiritual father to many of those for whom he was responsible in the faith. As pastor and author, John MacArthur notes:
There is one metaphor that perhaps sums up in a very unique way the intimacy between the pastor and his people and that is in 1 Corinthians 4:15…the metaphor of a father, “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” One way that God describes the relationship between a preacher and his converts, a pastor and his people is the relationship between a father and his child…if we're to be a spiritual father we beget, we love, we admonish, we set the example, we teach…and we discipline.
Bill Glass, former NFL football player and founder of Champions for Life, working with prison ministry, was asked, “What is our country's biggest problem?” He responded,
A lack of a father's blessing. The FBI studied the 17 kids who shot their classmates in towns like Paducah, Kentucky; Pearl, Mississippi; and Littleton, Colorado. All 17 shooters had only one thing in common: they had a father problem. I see it so much; it's just unbelievable. There's something about it when a man doesn't get along with his father. It makes him mean; it makes him dangerous; it makes him angry.
Whether you have the opportunity to bless your biological children, grandchildren, or someone toward whom you serve as a spiritual father, take the opportunity to bless them. Let them know they are loved, that Jesus died for them, they have something special to offer having been created in the image of God and you value them. Encourage the fathers and spiritual fathers you know to do the same.
“A righteous man who walks in his integrity—How blessed are his sons after him,” — Proverbs 20:7