Chaplain-in-Chief's June Sermon
A Father's Day Meditation
The Loving Guidance of the Father
Read I Thessalonians 2:10-12
One Sunday a young child began acting up during the morning worship service. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew, but it seemed to be a losing battle. Finally, the father picked up the little guy and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out of the Sanctuary. Just before reaching the foyer doors, the son called out loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”
Even the most serious moments in parenting can erupt in laughter when kids are involved. On this Father’s Day we are reminded of this potential reality and perhaps even memories flood our minds.
Erma Bombeck once wrote that when the Lord was creating fathers He started with a tall frame. A nearby angel asked, “What kind of father is that? If You are going to make children so close to the ground, why have You put fathers up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.” God replied, “Yes, but if I make the father child-sized, whom would children have to look up to?”
This is certainly an interesting point and in many ways a reminder that a father is tall of fame physically and should be tall of frame spiritually.
For example, a father should
I. Love with Unconditional Love
Unconditional love is at times difficult to comprehend and accept. We live in a society that tells us we must earn love or we will never have love. There is a subtle whisper in the world that says we will be loved IF we measure up first.
A couple took in a messed-up young lady into their home. During her time with them, this young girl was in and out of trouble. But the couple loved her anyway. They had a motto that they asked the young lady to repeat every night. The motto was this: “God does not love me because I am good. He loves me because I am precious, and I am precious because Christ died for me.”
Is that not the message of the Gospel? God does not love us because we are good. God loves us because we are precious, and we are precious because Christ died for us.
The Apostle Paul stated it this way, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Living by faith means accepting God’s unconditional love. We are loved right now!
Secondly, a father should
II. Provide Spiritual Guidance
In our text for today Paul spoke of a father exhorting, and comforting, and charging his children (I Thessalonians 2:11). Children need guidance. They have not the experiences of life upon which to base sound decisions; they need the guidance that a father can provide. Children benefit from a godly father providing that guidance.
We know, of course, that our Heavenly Father provides guidance for His children and we also know that the choice of wisdom is to follow His guidance.
One illustrated the guidance of Heavenly Father in this way. Imagine an architect and a contractor working on the same construction project. What if both the architect and the contractor had their own individual, conflicting plans for the house? The architect would plan a wall here and some steps there. Meanwhile, the contractor is following a totally different floor plan. What confusion would ensue?
Now think of God as the architect of our lives. We are the contractors. Will we follow God’s plan for our lives or will we create our own plans? The choice of wisdom is to follow the plans of Heavenly Father.
Thirdly, a father should
III. Example Dedication to God
It has been said that Jesus is either of Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. The believer must come to understand that God is not a senior partner, or chairman of the board, or the man upstairs, or the co-pilot. He is the Lord and Master; He will take no other position.
Dr. William Barclay, a minister of days-gone-by, gave illustration to this reality. Shortly after his death, it was discovered that as a young man he had written on a plain piece of paper what he entitled “An Act of Commitment.” In this “Act of Commitment,” the young Barclay surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus. He consecrated everything – mind, body, soul, finances, time, etc. to the glory of God.
He ended his pledge of commitment with these words, “To Thee O God, I leave the management of all events and say without reserve, ‘not my will but Thine be done.’” He signed this paper every year until the time of his death at age 85. By this time the paper was yellow with age and quite worn. Barclay knew what it was to surrender His life to his Lord. This should be the example of every godly father.
The point is, the more we yield ourselves to God in our lives, the more He will work to change us and make us into a creation that will glorify Him.
So on this day let us determine to love unconditionally, to provide spiritual guidance, and to example dedication to God.
Our conclusion could be this: the bad news is we can never be good enough to earn God’s love. The good news is that God’s love is not based on our goodness. Each one of us is precious in God’s sight, so precious that Christ died to save us. There is nothing we can do to earn that kind of love and there is nothing we can do to cause God to stop loving us. God’s love is a free gift that we have only to accept.
One hymn writer put it this way:
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.