Monday, June 10, 2013

What Makes a Father a Hero?

When I was growing up, I was always impressed with my father. He was my hero. He worked so hard and was so dedicated to our family. I cannot remember him ever doing anything for himself. Everything was about us. His vacation time = us. His work ethic = us. His frugality = us. His sacrifice of time, even personal time away from work = us. His work in the church  = God, others, and us.

There were other things that impressed me about my father. He was so strong. I was tall and skinny and he was shorter but more muscular. He was kind, everybody liked him and considered him their friend. He was loud, but not in the way you may think because he didn't speak often. When he was upset we knew it, and even though I loved him so much, I was afraid of what he could do if he needed to. I was impressed because he was more powerful and had authority over me and he wasn't afraid to punish me or let me know that he was still in charge. I would take ten spankings from mom over one from dad. But in all of these things I knew he loved me because of everything he did everyday.

To you fathers: On this Father's Day I want to remind you of what makes a father a hero to his children. Naturally, children want their fathers to be heroic. They may consider their father to be heroic just by his place in their lives, even if he doesn't prove to be. But what will make him the man they want to emulate? I think there are a few things...

1. Selflessness. True leadership is not wielding authority or proving you are in charge. Self-sacrifice and servant-leadership is respectable and people will naturally follow a leader who gives himself up for the benefit of those he is serving.

2. Humility. Many men allow their egos to turn them into people who have something to prove and then brag about later. When you allow your activity to do the talking and say nothing, what you do is much more impressive to those who are watching. It is better to talk less, listen more, and work hard, expecting nothing in return.

3. Time. Statistics show that most fathers spend less than seven minutes a day with their children. Shame on you if this is true about you. Get off the couch and out of the easy chair and spend as much time as you possibly can every day with your children. You can rest when they leave the house or when you are dead. The most important job you have is to raise your children. Your deepest regret in life will be what you wished you had done with them when they were at home. And by the way, you don't have to do anything grand while you are spending time with them. Just listen to them and do a lot of little things.

4. Be a Christian. Be the Bible's definition and not the world's definition of a Christian. Put God first. Don't miss worship, period. Prefer spiritual activities over physical ones. Be active in the work of the kingdom and let them know that the greatest thing a man can do is glorify God and help others get to heaven. You can do this in a variety of ways. Allow your God-given abilities to flourish in the kingdom over any place else. It doesn't matter how much money you make or how far you advance in your vocation. It does not matter how nice your boat or car is or how often you get to be in them. It does not matter how many ballgames you win or how far your kid makes it in sports. Those things will end. The souls of your children and the souls of the world are what matter.

You are already a hero to your child because you are their father. But being a father is not enough. Be a genuine hero. I am thankful that I had a father who lived up to and beyond my expectations. Do the same for your children! Fulfill your ministry!

"I write to you, fathers,  because you have known Him who is from the beginning." ~ 1 John 2:13

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