"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." (Psalm 127:3-5)
Maybe you've heard this story before, if so, it is worth repeating. A man worked very hard throughout his entire life. He finally made it to heaven and an angel met him at the gate. The angel welcomed him and saw that the man was dragging a huge container. The angel said, "You won't be needing that, sir." "Oh, but I must have this. I've worked and labored by the sweat of my brow my entire life for this. I've invested everything in it. Please." The angel was very curious what a man might work so hard for so the angel asked, "Okay. But, sir, might I see what it is that is so valuable to you?" The man opened the container to reveal it was full of gold. The angel looked perplexed and astonished, "Why have you worked so hard for that, sir? We pave our streets with that stuff." He had spent his days for nothing more than asphalt in heaven.
If a man were to gain the whole world and lose his son, what does it profit him? My five year old son, Kameron, has arrived at the ‘mimic daddy’ stage. His godmother bought him a watch the other day and he was so proud of it. He wanted to wear it to bed. “Daddy, why don’t you wear your watch to bed?” I replied, “I don’t need to know what time it is and it's a bit uncomfortable.” So, he took off his watch, walked out to the living room and laid it on the coffee table beside my watch. I am on constant alert because he patterns himself after everything I do and say.
If a man were to gain the whole world and lose his daughter, what does it profit him? A bitter-sweet day for fathers is the day you give your daughter away to another man in marriage. The standard by which your daughter measures a man who is a candidate to be her husband will be based upon the character of her father. She will probably not aim any higher than her father. Fathers must hold the standard high.
There are days when I’ve come home literally exhausted. Times when I’ve longed for some time of solitude, a time of quietness and rest. I’ve dragged myself in the door some evenings and all I want to do is collapse but I am met at the door by an energetic five year old boy who has been waiting all day for his daddy to come home. He wants to chase, he wants to tickle and he wants to wrestle and he wants more than anything the attention of his daddy. What is a weary father to do? He sucks it up and wrestles because the time spent with his precious son is more important than even rest to his weary body.
Dr. Erwin Lutzer teaches that a father is a mirror, a thermostat and a compass in the home.
1. The Father is a mirror to his children. Your son learns to like what you like. Your daughters especially will look in the mirror that is their father to see if it reflects any beauty or value in her. A father who belittles and degrades his children does irreparable harm to their self-esteem.
A father must realize that he is like a god to his children. His ultimate purpose is to portray the image of God to his family. He introduces God through his own character. His children worship the ground he walks on. I remember being a young child in grade school bragging to my friends how strong and smart my dad was. I had the best Dad in the world and I wanted everyone to know it. That’s why, when a father uses words that bring shame to a child, the child believes every word as the gospel truth. If you tell him he is worthless he won’t question you. In education we call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tell a child he can’t succeed and he won’t. Tell a child he is a failure and he’ll likely become a failure.
Lutzer tells of a father who told his adoptive son in a moment of anger, “You are nothing. You are what just the result of a one-night-stand.” That father didn’t murder his child but he may have done something worse. He destroyed his inner soul. He stomped on and crushed the boy’s sense of self worth and that son may never recover from those words.
2. A Father is a thermostat in his home. He sets the tone for the atmosphere within the home. His anger or moodiness is contagious. His joy and humor is like a healing salve during difficult times. He sets the parameters for how family members speak to and treat each other.
3. A Father is the compass of the home. If church isn’t important to dad it won’t be important to the children. If the children never see dad reading his Bible it’s not likely they will read their Bible. If dad treats mom with disrespect then the children will treat her in like manner. Young ladies dating and hoping to marry, do you want to know how he will treat you after you are married? A strong indicator is to check out how he treats his mother or how his father treats his mother.
A father who comes home every weekend and lay on the sofa watching television and eating chips and drinking beer often wonders why his children are not industrious. “Why are my kids so lazy?” It's because he sets the tone. When he runs with his buddies he cusses like a sailor and then smacks his nine year old son when he says a cuss word. The boy is only trying to be like his dad, his dad is like a god to him. Why is he being punished for wanting to be like his daddy?
Fathers are often deceived into thinking the most important thing in life is earning another dollar, reaching for a bigger home or a nicer car. It's wonderful if a father can provide the very best for his family but he nor his family will take any of that into the next life. As fathers, we need to learn and emphasize the three R's: earn respect from your children and wife, develop relationship with family and God and demonstrate a religion that proves itself when times get difficult because nothing is more important than the souls of our children.