One of the most profound parables of Jesus’ earthly ministry is the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”. In the story, we learn that the father was vigilant, constantly looking forward to the day his wayward son would return home. When the father saw a figure of his son in a distance rather than wait for him to present himself, return to the shelter of his house and to be under roof, Luke (15:20—NIV) informs us, “he had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him”.
This parable, story is the most touching part and most meaningful to this writer of the entire storyline, as stated earlier because the son’s father was ever watching, waiting, hoping and I believe praying for the son to return. When on the horizon the barely distinguishable figure of the penitent, hungry, lost youth appeared, the father, no doubt rich, sophisticated and possibly highly regarded by friends and foe alike more than likely undignified himself when he jumped up and ran across the field to meet his son. He did not wait to hear an announcement or make his son plea, beg or kow-tow for mercy and his forgiveness. It was evident from the story that the father overcome with relief, happiness and joy did not consider harshness towards his son—the lost one. So he emptied himself, ran to his son and with a tearful embrace immediately forgave him his trespasses. Then son was never able to deliver the speech he probably rehearsed many times over to ask for forgiveness.
As many people know, the meaning behind this parable of Christ is a statement of God’s unconditional and unbridled love for humankind. This is the sort of Heavenly Father that we have and an example of the kind of earthly father too many men who have fathered children either long to be or tragedically never strive for. For many men, issues of absent fathers, cruel and brutal fathers, indifferent fathers taint their relationship with their daughters and sons who desperately want and need their unconditional love, presence and leadership. For in our heart of hearts, we know full well that there is no greater virtue in a man than the fatherly virtue of unconditional love that loves so deeply and passionately that it would forgive any indiscretion, mistake, hurt or trespass from any of our children. Each man with the second greatest earthly title “FATHER” (the first greatest title being “Husband”) inwardly and should say each waking day to his children as written in Mark’s gospel (2:5)—“Daughter, son, your sins are forgiven you” as we outwardly laugh, cry, hug and kiss our beloved children—our special gifts from God Himself!
For we father everyday should be “Father’s Day”. However, on this day in June, set aside to honor fatherhood, let all men who are fathers and vicars of Jesus Christ on earth across the nation and across the world, rededicate themselves to put into action these “12 Fatherly Virtues” learned in counseling sessions from the teenage young men and women whose spirits, self-esteems, hearts, minds and bodies ache for the unconditional love and acknowledgement of their earthly fathers:
1. Lasting faith and belief in Almighty God.
2. Godly example of living their lives.
3. Guidance and leadership based on the principles of Jesus Christ.
4. Respect and dignity for their wives and children and all women and children.
5. Mercy and forgiveness.
6. Willingness to make sacrifice in unconditional love for their wives and children.
7. Self-control (sexually, behaviorally, emotionally) in times of temptation and challenge.
8. Unbridled chastity of heart, mind and spirit.
9. Charity to all in the home and nation.
10. Unconditional love.
11. Unconditional support.
12. Unconditional and boundless empathy.
May fathers everywhere and of every endeavor know the joy of their fatherly vocations. You are needed! You are loved! You are the foundation of the nation and world! May the hand of God be upon you this “Father’s Day" and throughout the year and years to come!