Beloved in Christ,
Father’s Day is June 18th this year. It’s a day when we give thanks for our fathers. I’m not a guy who holds onto every card I’m given. But some years ago my Son Kyle gave me a card I have kept. We give a lot of humorous cards in our family and this one was both funny and meaningful.
The card was entitled “How to be a good Dad: a Father’s Day manual”. On each page there is an illustrated example of what a good dad does versus what a bad dad does. #1 Driving baby to daycare: Good dad—dad is driving, while baby sleeps in his car seat in the back. Bad dad—baby is sitting on dad’s lap steering the car, while dad naps. #2 Teaching kid to ride a bike: Good dad—dad is walking alongside junior on the bike, with one hand on the seat. Bad dad—dad is giving junior a hard push on his bike up a ramp and through a ring of fire. #3 Surprising kids with a new pet: Good dad—dad brings home a goldfish. Bad dad—dad brings home a full sized alligator. #4 Unclogging the toilet: Good dad—dad is getting out the toilet plunger. Bad dad—dad is ready to detonate explosives in the bowl. #5 Helping make dinner: Good dad—dad is slicing carrots with a kitchen knife. Bad dad—dad is starting up the chainsaw. #6 Investing for kid’s college fund: Good dad—dad is depositing money in the bank. Bad dad—dad is playing the roulette wheel. You get the idea. At the end the card says, “Good dads could learn a lot from a great dad like you!”
Again the title of the card is “How to be a good dad.” But the truth is I always mix up a few words in my mind and it comes out “How good to be a dad.” Isn’t that the truth of it fathers? How good to be a dad. Being a father is truly one of the greatest joys and responsibilities in life. It’s not always easy, but it is a great joy. “How good to be a dad!”
My own father, Jerry Hickman, was a very good dad to me. He has been gone almost 10 years now, but I remember all the great times we had together. My father loved me and passed on to me a thirst for learning and the love of Jesus Christ. I give thanks to have been blessed with a great father.
I know not everyone is blessed with a good earthly father. That’s sad but realistic. However, as Christians we have all been blessed with the best Heavenly Father possible. It’s not that God is male, but that God has all the attributes (and much more) of a good Father: caring, loving, providing, protecting, teaching, guiding. God has all the attributes (and much more) of a good Mother, as well.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he encouraged them to address God as “Abba” in the Lord’s Prayer, which means “papa or daddy.” It was scandalous in that day, to address Almighty God in such intimate terms. But Jesus called God “Abba” when he prayed and he encourages us to do the same.
In the small catechism, our buddy Martin Luther puts it this way in his explanation of the Lord’s Prayer. “Here God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father and we are his children. We therefore are to pray to him with complete confidence just as children speak to their loving father.
How good to be a dad and how great to have the best Heavenly Father possible,
~ Pastor Dennis