In Singapore, Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in honour of all fathers for their numerous contributions.
Indeed, Father’s Day provides us the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate our role and responsibility as fathers. Our Lord Jesus taught us to address God as our Father in heaven when we pray (Matt. 6:9). Paul taught that at conversion believers receive their adoption as sons thus giving them the privilege to address God as their “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15). Of course, the word ‘father’ is not limited only to its reference to God. It could also refer to a biological father (Matt.4:21, 22) or to the head of a household, a grandfather or an ancestor (Matt. 3:9). However for Christian fathers the most important thing is that we should reflect the character of God to our children in our daily living.
What are some practical ways that we, as fathers, reflect our heavenly Father to our children? I suggest the following simple ways:
First, spend quality time with your children. Don’t be too busy in your work that you have no time for your children. A successful lawyer shared that the greatest gift he ever received from his father was the promise that his dad would spend one hour a day after dinner with him. He said, ‘My dad kept his promise … it’s the greatest gift I ever had in my life. I am the result of his time.” On the other hand, we also hear stories of people who described one of their most painful experiences of their lives, “Dad, I never really knew you. We would have shared so much love together – but you never had time for me.”
Second, always make it a point to say to your children, “I love you.” Mark Hyman testified, “I want my kids to hear, ‘I love you no matter what, whether you’re good or bad, happy or sad. It doesn’t matter whatever you are. I love you. Unconditionally. Always.’” Don’t be like Tony Dungy, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, who offered a heartbreaking appeal to fathers at his son’s funeral service, “I urge you not to take your relations for granted. Parents, hug your kids each chance you get. Tell them you love them each chance you get. You don’t know when it’s going to be the last time!”
Third, leave a lasting legacy for your children. Some of you may have made plans for your children’s future but how about leaving something more substantial and lasting, like Michael Tait’s dad left for him? Michael Tait shared two most important things he learned from his dad: “Love people” and “Live for God.” His dad taught him to love people, laugh with them and be a friend to everybody regardless of their race, nationality and socio-economic status. As to living for God, he sums up the lesson this way: ‘Don’t get caught up in the things of this world, because they’re just fleeting. The world will get the best of you if you let it, so live for God.”
I pray that all our fathers will be like Abraham who receives the high tribute paid to him by God:
“For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment …” (Gen. 18:19).
Rev. Mark Tay