© 2008 by Deidre Campbell-Jones
JUNE Theme: Fathers
Old Fathers: Ephesians 6:4
New Fathers: Luke 3:22
I don’t ordinarily do this, but today I am attempting to plagiarize someone else’s Father’s Day message.
On the radio Friday morning, while on the way to downtown Los Angeles, I was reminded that I’d forgotten to do the bible study that morning by an insightful and thought provoking Father’s Day message that I had tuned into. I happen to come in at the tail end of the message and so the truth is I do not know what the program was, or the name of that particular message, and I believe the speaker was “Pastor Jeffery” – with Jeffery being his last name.
I apologize in advance for this being the only recognition I can give him for such a powerful message. So powerful in fact, that I cannot resist sharing it. And I share it again to you all (as I did on Mother’s Day), not just to those who are Fathers, but especially to all of us who have or have had a Father.
Pastor Jeffery’s own father, apparently was a very well known and beloved Theologian – who just so happened was gruff, critical and had difficulty expressing any affection to his son. All the praise and kind words Pastor Jeffery got from his father came from his father’s students and peers who would often say, “Your father is so proud of you – he speaks highly of you and he talks about you all the time.” To which, of course, Pastor Jeffery would respond, “I wish he’d tell me that himself.”
As his father got older and Pastor Jeffery attempted to become closer to his Dad – and even, he said, to “teach him how to hug,” his Dad only made little progress in the area of praise and affection. So much so that while on his death bed, elder Jeffery told his son he loved him, and Pastor Jeffery’s first thought was, “Please God, don’t let him take it back and negate it like he has done every other time, and then die.” Pastor Jeffery was rewarded – his father never did retract or negate that statement before he died the very next morning.
From years of ministry in relation to his own experiences Pastor Jeffery has come to the conclusion that, while he knew without a doubt that his father loved him dearly, there seems to be a generational issue wherein men of his father’s age bracket and older all seem to “suffer” from the same malady in regards to their children – not just sons. He has determined in his heart and in the lives of his own children that he will (and has I might say) break the cycle.
His example, unfortunately, comes from no other male figure. His plan of action is not even born of a desire to provide what he had been missing – that is only his motivation. Pastor Jeffery’s example comes from God Himself. Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Pastor Jeffery says, that fathers need to be aware that there is that possibility that they might push too hard.
Yes, the admonition is on us as children that we must honor our mothers and fathers. “Children obey they parents in the Lord.” Yes, we get it. But the admonition of Ephesians 6:4 says nothing in regard to the wrath a child might experience – it does not say, children do not become wrathful, but instead it speaks to the fathers. Careful – be careful that you do not push your children into anger and wrath. But instead, nurture and admonish them.
Many dads have the “admonishment” part down easy – somehow that comes naturally to them. And, it could very well be because of the example they had. However they come by it, all who have had the problem of provoking their children have done so because “nurturing” has been seemingly left out of the equation.
”Nurturing” is often associated with motherhood. It is rare – even today – for men to be considered nurturing. And Ephesians does not state that children should be brought up in “nurturing admonition” but instead, the word of God separates the two: the nurture AND admonition of the Lord.
And so, we have all experienced the admonition of the Lord. We have been chastised in Him, corrected and directed with a firm and reproving Godly hand. Still, many of us still equate God’s blessings as a sign of God’s approval. This statement is from me: God’s abundance of blessings in our lives is not a sign of how much He loves us, but instead they are a sign of how much we love God.
According to Pastor Jeffery, God showed the example of how to nurture a child through Luke 3:22 “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Even Jesus needed love and recognition from His Father. And it was public and it was verbal and it was accompanied by a physical touch. The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove, upon him. The dove has long since been a symbol of love, peace and hope, and every touch we as parents give our children must be representative of love, peace and hope as well.
Pastor Jeffery made a commitment that the buck stopped with him. His decision was this: no matter how you were raised, no matter what your father was or was not capable of we are responsible for our own reactions. And, no matter how we’ve been in the past, it is never too late to start. He was given a gift upon his father’s passing. It was the kind and loving words of praise that now could last him for a lifetime. And even though he waited until he was an adult to hear them, it was still just as meaningful and necessary in his life. It is never too late to start.
And if by chance it is too late for you to receive this kind of approval from your father, be comforted as Pastor Jeffery was. You see, long before his father finally told him that he was loved, Pastor Jeffery had made peace with his dad.
Pastor Jeffery tallied up all the things he’d learned from his dad and in spite of his dad and the sum of them made up the man he had grown to be and he recognized fatherly love in that truth. Some of it was his earthly father’s love and some of it was his heavenly Father’s love that thought enough of a man to nurture him and even admonish him when his own father couldn’t.
God has our very best at heart and some of it is administered directly through our dads and some of it is given in spite of our dads, but we honor them and love them just the same. Children love your dads today. Dads, love your children today. No matter where they are, no matter what the past has been, today is never too late to love.
Power, love & peace, ya'll -