A Father's Greatest Responsibility
We celebrate Father’s Day every third Sunday in June. The intent is to honor fathers for the important role they play in raising their children. It’s touching, heart warming to see families gather at restaurants to treat Dad to a meal and to say “We love you, Dad, and thanks for a job well done.” The kids have little idea just how much that small gesture means to their father.
The greatest responsibility, toward his children, that a father carries on his shoulders every day is to raise them in the ways of the Lord ( Eph. 6:4 ). But that’s not the primary focus in most homes today. First attention is given to making sure that our kids have food to eat, clothing to wear and a warm, safe home in which to live. Next, we want to make sure that they receive a good education. Spiritual training comes somewhere down the list, and in a great many homes it is sorely neglected, if not altogether.
How sad this is. Food, clothing and shelter are certainly vital to the health, safety and general well being of children. It is laudable that a father would give diligent attention to providing these necessities for his family. But they are mainly temporal needs, related mostly to his children’s physical lives in this world.
A father needs to give at least as much attention to making sure that his kids are nourished spiritually. He needs to see to it that they grow up not only knowing about God but that they actually come to know God. Food, clothing, shelter and education get them ready for life in this world, but that’s likely going to last only eighty or ninety years, or so. Eternity lasts forever!
Any Dad needs to prepare his children for life without end. He needs to take them to Bible classes and worship services regularly. He needs to read the Bible with them, pray with them and regularly talk to them about God and godly living. And he needs to set a consistent, godly example before them in his personal life. His children should get to Heaven because of their Dad and not have to get there in spite of him.
Unfortunately, a huge percentage of today’s fathers have dishonored themselves, having not lived up to their responsibility as fathers or role models for their children. Many Dads are horrible examples to their kids. They drink heavily and do drugs in the home, often right in front of their children. They’re abusive to their children and to their children’s mother. They don’t hold a steady job but expect others to provide them with an income. They’re irresponsible and immoral, and that’s no exaggeration.
Even worse, many fathers are absentee Dads in the worst sense of the word. Not only were they not married to their children’s mother when the children were born, they don’t want to be married. They don’t not want to be saddled with the daily responsibility of raising children. They just want to have a good time and then move on to the next good time. They do little, if anything, to take care of their kids in any way.
Obviously, such fathers provide virtually no positive spiritual training for the children. In fact, by their example they actually train their kids to be unfaithful to God and to live sinful, self-destructive lifestyles. The most powerful, life shaping lessons kids learn are learned in the home. A great Dad will pay close attention to his greatest responsibility- helping his children get to Heaven by raising them to follow God faithfully…
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Gary L. Hutchens