Five Words for Dads...

3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,

but every fool will be quarreling.

4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;

he will seek at harvest and have nothing.

5 The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,

but a man of understanding will draw it out.

6 Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,

but a faithful man who can find?

7 The righteous who walks in his integrity—

blessed are his children after him!

-Proverbs 20:3-7

One of the greatest influences a child will have is his/her father. A child should get his first glimpse of what God is like by looking at his/her dad! Grace, truth, discipline, mercy, compassion, unconditional love – all of these things found in Christ and modeled by dad. And if you are a guy reading this thinking, “I have never had children”, well, this still applies – because I am certain that someone (a nephew, coworker, neighbor) considers you a father-figure/big brother type role model.

So with Father’s Day approaching, I’d like to give a word of encouragement to Dads. Actually, 5 words, all from the verses above. Here they are:

A Good Dad Should Strive to Be:

1) Patient. (v3) Some guys are always looking for a fight. Ever notice that? At work, on the ball field, in traffic – never overlooking an offense (Proverbs 19:11), but instead having a temper that goes from zero to sixty at the slightest hint of a perceived infraction. Fools quarrel. A man of honor stays away from it. Model this.

2) Working. (v4) That is: working hard. That is: working hard on all fronts.Laziness makes a father passive. One of the causes of troubled children is a passive father. Don’t forget: the sowing and reaping thing is a universal principle. If you aren’t sowing into your kids now, you won’t be reaping later – instead you may have children detached from their dad.

A good dad works hard, but does not work always. He manages his time well so he can spend some quality time with his family. Model this.

3) Thoughtful. (v5) What are the motives of your heart? A man of understanding will draw them out, like a well. Why do I do the things I do, say the things I say? We are not animals, just running around reacting to stimuli (though many men seem to act like this). Dads should be thoughtful and deliberate, obvious in word and deed. Model this.

4) Faithful. (v6) A rare commodity - rapidly becoming more and more scarce: steadfast love. Loyalty and trustworthiness are rare these day. Many a man claim to have it, as the Proverb observes, but we don’t see it in the practical sense. We don’t see men put their money where their mouths are when it comes to following through on a commitment. Whether it is a commitment to wife, commitment to kids, commitment to neighbors, commitment to extended family, commitment to church... bailing in favor of my personal preferences/priorities has become less shameful in our eyes. I know I promised, but I’m tired. I made a commitment, but I’m just too burnt out to keep it. The Proverb writer stands with us asking “Who can find a faithful man?” Let it be you. Model this.

5) Righteous. (v7) Living a blameless life. A life of integrity. I speak at home the same way I do at church. I am in private who I am in public. This man doesn’t tell his children, “Do as I say, not as I do”. This man has integrity and walks in it – and his children watch this life of integrity on display and it blesses them. Model this.

Happy Father’s Day! You are loved!
p.s. - not prepared to be a father but realized 10 years too late