We celebrate our dads in June by giving gifts with cards and telling them we love them. As a young boy on Father’s Day I would get my Dad a new pair of “sock garters”, annually. “What in the world?” you ask… Well it was a different time and apparently the rage in the 50’s. I’m sure my Dad was content with his new garters because “…a wise son makes a father glad”. (Proverbs 10:1)
However, what is it that really makes fathers glad? Is it that we thank them for the father they are, that we recognize how important they have been in our lives, or that we laud them because they have stood with their families through good and bad times? For most this is true, but for far too many that may not have been the case. For some of us those are attributes we WISH our fathers would have had or had been. Nevertheless they are our fathers.
So how do we recognize, celebrate, and encourage our earthly fathers?
Honor your father and your mother that your days may be prolonged in the land, which the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:1
Honor your Father and Mother, which is the first commandment with a promise so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:2
In the Hebrew the word honor means “to be heavy, be weighty, be rich, be honored.” While in the Greek it connotes the idea of estimating or fixing a value on something or revering that thing.
At the foundation the core fact is that without your dad you would not exist. For those of you who were adopted, without his conscious choice for you there is no telling where you would be. Without them toiling in jobs they may not have wanted, or giving up other endeavors – hopes or dreams – you might not have experienced the life you now live. Oh, I hear the wheels turning: But if he had not done… I would not be as messed up as I am. Yes there are hurts in life, there are memories that weigh on us, and things we wish were different.
Yet note in the verses above, “…honor you father…” Your honoring is not dependant on his actions, not minimizing any of his failed responsibilities. At the same time, your giving him weight, rich value, or reverence brings prosperity and length of days to you. How are you prospering? The two concepts are related.
My dad was distant, though responsible for his family.
We had no religious upbringing. In later years both my older brother and sister were estranged from him, causing pain all around. At age 19 I was saved and by God’s grace continued for over 30 years to honor my Dad. He was an atheist, yet 6 years before his passing, he came to know the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Father’s Day is a good place to start loving and honoring our fathers through the power of the Holy Spirit. The simple act of saying thank you, or I love you, can be restorative. We hold on to hurts, bitterness, and resentment only to find it encumbers us. The weight of honor we should be giving our Dad, becomes a weigh around our neck and we are sinking. Wouldn’t it be better to free of that? Your Heavenly Father holds nothing back from you! There is not a sin of yours, which is outside His grace. David Crowder sings, “If His grace is an ocean, we are all sinking.” So sink in His grace and forgive!
Proverbs 25: 11 in The Message says, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry…” Don’t underestimate the power of your words. I love you, I appreciate you, thank you for being my Dad, thank you for raising me, etc. That piece of custom-made jewelry is a wonderful gift. Through giving it you enjoy the blessing and release that comes through transfer of ownership. A word of forgiveness brings freedom to you. More than anything give words that express a heart changed by the power of God.
I would skip the “sock garters “ if you give a gift. As another translation puts it “…a word fitly spoken…” can be the best gift ever.