Surely we can agree that good fathers are a rarity these days. I’ve seen too many bad fathers and the messes they have created. How many lives are in turmoil due to growing up under the guidance, or lack thereof, of worthless dads? We know the far reaching consequences of poor fathering (Deut. 5:9). Is there any doubt as to why our nation is in so much trouble today?
I am blessed to have a good dad (Brian). Even if God gave me first dibs on the ‘dad of my choice,’ I couldn’t have chosen a better father. I’ve been thinking a lot about him today (probably because it is Father’s Day), and want to share just a few of the countless things that made him so great.
1. He took an interest in me. I have fond memories of my dad building things out of LEGO® blocks with me, and he did it often. I still remember the times we would ‘secretly’ go to Skyline Chili for a chili dog and try to ‘hide’ our trip from Mom. I remember riding bikes and playing in the small inflatable pool in the back yard with him. All of the kids in the neighborhood were jealous of the toys my dad would make for me out of wood – from toy machine guns to battleships to aircraft carriers.
My dad made it a point to spend time with me and he made me feel like I was important to him. I never doubted his love for me. He didn’t just say it; he demonstrated it by the time and interest he invested in me.
Dads, are you spending time with your children? Do you frequently have one-on-one time with them? The parent-child relationship should be the most solid emotional bond your child feels – just after God. In fact, how assured they are of your love will one day shape their view of God’s love.
2. He made God the first priority. There was never any doubt Who ruled the Giselbach house. God came first; no questions asked. If a movie had bad language, the whole family would walk out of the theater. If a ball game or event conflicted with a church activity or worship service, church won out every time. Dad made sure that God was Who his family served, not any earthly idol. Our conversations were spiritually rich and powerful. He frequently drove our conversations in a direction that made me think of God.
Before I was old enough to lead in a worship service, my dad was training me how to lead. I remember him making me practice my Lads-to-Leaders song or speech throughout my younger years. Every time I lead in church today, I am grateful for the time and energy my dad put into training me to be a Christian leader.
3. He loved the Lord’s church. Since my dad became a Christian, he has always been in love with the Lord and His church. Preaching is – and always has been – his passion. Every sermon of his was a masterpiece, and each sermon was carefully crafted to meet the needs of the church. And no matter how bad the church conflict or how unfairly he was treated, he always put his heart into it.
Though I didn’t notice at the time, looking back, I now realize how he was careful to never bad-mouth any aspect of the church. Though I’m sure he was at times critical of an unqualified elder or an unruly member, he made it a point not to vent in front of me. Now that I’m a preacher, I realize how huge this was. How tempting it must have been to get in the car after church and announce to his family how pathetic ‘brother so-and so’ was acting or how foolishly our elders were shepherding. The restraint he exercised is one reason why I grew up with a positive view of the church.
I love my dad. I’ll be lucky if I turn out to be half the dad he was.