By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Psalm 103:13
Sunday 16th June 2013
I will be taking a brief break from the on-going prayer series 'The Prayer That Avails Much' to address the fathers and all those in charge of the younger ones, as we celebrate Father's Day today.
From our foundation scripture today in Psalm 103:13, 'As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honour him' (TEV). The word 'kind' in Hebrew 'racham', whch means compassion, deep love for, mercy and tender affection. Conversely fathers should love their children deeply, have mercy on them, be compassionate towards them, and have special affection for them. Fathers are to love and have compassion for their children the same way God loves those who honour Him. Fathers have a unique role to play in the lives of their children and this is why it is important for them to pay attention to their development and needs.
Some famous quotes on fatherhood include one from Billy Graham “A good father is one of the most valuable assets of our society” and another from George Herbert “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters”.
A Time magazine article underscores these quotes with a report from a research as stated thus: 'More than any factor, the presence of a biological father in a family will determine a child’s success and happiness'. Quoting futher, the research further highlighted that a missing father is a better predictor of criminal activities. A father’s absence and a child’s likelihood of being a dropout, jobless, drug addict, suicide victims, mentally ill, target of sexual abuse are linked.
43% of state prison inmates grew up without fathers in the house. The research conducted by Time Magazine further highlighted that 38% of all kids in the west live without their biological fathers.46% of all families with children headed by single mothers live below poverty line compare with 8% of those with two parents. This research linked poverty not to lack of knowledge but due to lack of fathers. Worldwide, up to 40% of children live in household with no fathers at all. In his book 'Fatherless America' David Blakehorn writes, 'Fatherlessness is the most destructive trend of our generation'. In other words, the most urgent social problem is not HIV/Aids, drugs, gangs, but fatherlessness. If we can sort out the problems of fatherlessness, we can also solve crime problems.
Recently, we witnessed the brutal murder of Lee Rigby on the street of our community. The Mail Online interviewed a senior gang leader of the group to which the killers belonged to . Here is the excerpt:" Youssef described how the two suspects grew up against a backdrop of violence, fear and ‘hopelessness’ and said the crossover between criminal gangs and Islamist groups has increased in recent years. Growing up in nearby Charlton, Youssef joined the gang at the age of 16. ‘I never knew my father, but if I’d had him in my life it is most likely that I would never have got involved with the Woolwich Boys,’ he said".
Fathers are the hope of our society. As we celebrate Father’s Day, I believe this occasion presents a significant opportunity to address the issue of fatherhood. Mankind begins with a male; and if we must talk about fathers, we must go to the beginning. From the book of Genesis 1:27 'So God created man in His own image...'. The most important component of human family is fatherhood. As goes the father, so goes the family, community and nation.
The Hebrew word for father is 'Abba' which means 'the source or originator'. It also means nourisher, sustainer, provider, protector, founder, foundation, author and root. 'Father' is not a name and it’s not a title but a combination of a position and a function. Father is not God’s name but a function that He performs. He’s the source of all creation. Hence we call Him father of creation. A good father is not just an originator but functions as a father who nourishes, sustains, guides and directs, equips, motivates, leads, disciplines, encourages, provides and protects.
Unless a man functions as a father he cannot address himself as a father because fatherhood is 5% origination and 95% functional. It takes a bit more to be a father than just making a baby.
Let me share with you seven qualities of a good father. A good Father:
(i) Provides An Identity For His Children: As the children will be asked by various circumstances in life directly or inadvertently 'Who are you?', it is vital that their identity is secure in God. As a father, ensure that you point out early to your children from the bible that they are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath any situation that may confront them. Ensure that you affirm your children, more so the girls. Expose them to various places of interest that will build them up and give them a sense of belonging and affirmation. Jesus said in John 14:9 'Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father'. Jesus 'I am' statements included 'I am the bread of life, 'I am the light of the world, I am the door, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Son of God' and so much more. According to Genesis 1:26-28, An image was the very first thing God gave to Adam. In our world today, the average man struggles with his identity. If our children do not know who they are, they will adopt any identity given to them. A father's first priority should be providing his children with an identity.
(ii) Provides A Heritage For His Children:: Proverbs 13:22 reads 'A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children.' An inheritance should include finances, but should also include strength, wisdom, values and virtues. A good father ensures that his children never start from where he started.
(iii) Provides Protection For His Children: Genesis 2:15 reads “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.” A good father has the inner drive to protect his children, making sure that they are safe from harm, sickness, spiritual attacks, pressures of life and adversity. He protects physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
(iv) Provides For His Children: A good father provides wisdom, friendship, counsel, perspective insight and finances. He has a giving spirit and adds value to his family so that it becomes richer because of his presence.
(v) Promotes His Children: Jesus was affirmed, validated and promoted by His Heavenly Father in Matthew 17:5-6"This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” A father’s lifestyle, the company he keeps, reputation, integrity, words, attitude and actions must promote his children. His lifestyle must put his children at an advantageous position. For the sake of his children, a good father must beware of where he goes and what he does.
(vi) Is A Priest Over His Home: Fathers are called to be a priest over their household (Luke 18:1-2). As priests, fathers are to bring their family before God, always. He must be a man of prayer and intercedes for his family always. In the Bible, Christ is depicted as the high priest who is merciful and faithful. Just like Christ is the head of the church, a father is the head of the home, watching and standing in the gap till every difficulty is resolved.
(vii) Is A Prophet Over His Home: He declares the counsel of God over his children. He declares the word of God, and goes ahead of the destiny of the children, creating a pathway in the realm of the spirit (Isaiah 40:3). He tells them what they can be, speaks to their destiny, uses his words to stir up the gifts on the inside of his children and tells them they can make it in life.
Fathers, you play a unique and important role in the lives of your children. You are to be a mentor, protector, provider who influences the shape and direction of your children’s character by giving love, care, discipline and guidance. As we observe father’s day today, we urge you to commit yourself selflessly to the development, success and well-being of your children.
Fathers, the best gift you can give your children is yourself, so that they can be the best gift to their generation.
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