Jul 26, 2017

The other day, I came across a verse that got me thinking about how I am doing as a father. It's actually from Pauls' letter to the Corinthians telling them that they have countless guides but not many "fathers".

There are several questions I can ask myself. Do I come straight home from work every day? Do I help out with chores around the house? Do I make it a point to take care of my son when he wakes up in the middle of the night? But the thing is, even if I get to do all these things, I don't know whether any of that actually makes me a good father.

Thankfully, the bible gives three important responsibilities of a father. This list is not an exhaustive one but at least it gives an idea of what the essentials are. A father ought to encourage, comfort and urge his children to live for God.
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
Here are three ways young fathers give their children too much of something but not enough of the good thing:

1) Too much entertainment but not enough encouragement

With the help of smartphones, the child gets to drain his seemingly inexhaustible energy on endless games. As a side benefit, the father gets his much-needed rest and time for himself and other priorities.

The problem with this kind of setup is that the child doesn't get the encouragement that he needs from the father.

As fathers, we cannot abdicate our role to a gadget. Even if a gadget can encourage your child after successfully reaching the next level of a video game by saying words like, "I love you and I'm proud of you", it can never replace your attentiveness and timely encouragement in your child’s life.

2) Too much stuff but not enough comfort

Fathers are hardwired to feel guilty that they may not be providing enough for the kids. As a result, most fathers work really hard to ensure that kids have more than enough food, toys and even nannies. 

Nothing wrong with having those. It’s just that, no matter how sufficient we think those are in meeting the needs of the children, they can never give the comfort that the children need from their father. 

3) Too many activities but not urging them enough to live for God

If a father thinks that achievement matters most, he signs up his children for clinics, courses and classes.

If a father thinks that the goal is to have great experiences and to live extraordinary lives, he packs his children's schedule with camps and every possible activity, event and program.

But if a father wants his children to believe that having a relationship with God and living for Him are most important, then he should be willing to center his life and their lives on pursuing and loving God even at the expense of chasing after achievement and great experiences.

Because to live a full life is not the main goal but a life deep in the knowledge and the love of God is.

Outward experiences and external thrills will not lead them to their life's purpose, but the constant and consistent inward encounter with the living Word of God will.

Showing them the world will not make them who God called them to be but seeing their father speak and live out the Word of God will help, because a father’s voice, influence and example matter to his children.

Every day, I'm faced with my own inadequacies as a father. I fail in the areas mentioned above. Left to myself, I will choose to relax and be served instead of serving my family at home. But I thank God for His grace that enables me to do things that are impossible for me to do on my own. Apart from Him, I can really do nothing. I also thank Him that I get to learn from people who have gone before me whose lives exemplify service and humility. 

May God continue to mold us into the fathers He called us to be.

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