Bill Onisick, exploring the origins of Father's Day, suggests that it may have originated in Europe when the Roman Catholic Church set aside March 19th to honor fatherhood. In the United States, several women, seeking to honor their dead spouses who had died in accidents or military conflict, set various summer dates. Our most recent date, the third Sunday in June, was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The ideal father-son relationship was expressed by our Elder Brother, who honored God the Father by keeping His Commandments. How we honor our Heavenly Father determines the level of our spiritual maturity. We often encounter individuals in our fellowship who serve as supreme trials to us. Perhaps God has placed them there so we can develop our ability to forgive. Others may also consider us their biggest trial. Whether we weed a garden of our physical father or do something positive for our Heavenly One, we should realize that nothing says "Thank you" like obedience.
Ryan McClure suggests that Charles Dickens' "best of times and worst of times" turn of phrase seems to describe parenting skills to a tee. When we were single, we had all the answers to the art of parenting, but actual practice humbles us as to how little we know and how ill-equipped we are for this daunting, yet enjoyable task. We learn what God the Father has to put up with us in our spiritual childhood sanctification process. Every father has been given the responsibility of leading his family, loving his wife as Christ loved the Church, willing to protect, to sacrifice, and even to die for the sake of his family. According to Theodore Hesberg, the most important thing a dad can do is to love the child's mother. As God protected His people from harm, fathers are commissioned to protect their families, placing a metaphorical hedge around their children, filtering them from the Internet and other worldly influences until they are wary enough to be on their own. As we approach Father's Day, we need to remember that God the Father is the greatest example of Fatherhood we can emulate.
Mike Ford laments that fathers have become something of a dying breed. Satan's primary tool for destroying the family is to get rid of the father. If Satan cannot get rid of the father, he will try to feminize him. Feminist Nancy Marshall of Welsley College believes that gender is totally a learned behavior, advocating that the rough edges associated with masculinity be grounded down, while young boys get in touch with themselves. As a result, discipline has left the scene in the family structure, replaced by nurturing. Today's men, according to John Roseman, have caved into feminist propaganda, becoming in effect a "second mother." In order to become a good father, one has to be a good husband, providing firm guidance to the family. As feminine virtues are lauded in men, masculine virtues are marginalized.
Reflecting on Father's Day, Richard Ritenbaugh observes that, historically, America has not respected fathers, often depicting them as irresponsible and doltish like Homer Simpson. Significant biblical examples of fatherhood, including the patriarchs, all experienced mixed, even disappointing results in their childrearing practices, parental favoritism being perhaps the most tragic and longlasting. Many kings, priests, and prophets alike were abysmal failures as fathers. Good fathers are rare gems. God the Father, the only perfect example of fatherhood, will convert wholesale rebellion into wholesale salvation. We need to emulate our heavenly Father's godly virtues, among them being the perfect example of what we want our children to be.
Father's Day is a time we honor our human fathers, but a time is coming, after the day of the Lord, when our ultimate Father in heaven will be honored for all eternity!
Receive Biblical truth in your inbox—spam-free! This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving.