Why Should Our Children Listen to Their Father?
We're getting close to celebrating Father's Day at SDBC. On Father's Day Sunday, we're going to have a special car show in our courtyard with some specialty coffee and other elements for fathers to enjoy after the service. This is a great missional opportunity for us to invite fathers and families out to our service.
Father's Day also provides an opportunity to contemplate on fatherhood. In Proverbs 23:22, it says, "Listen to your father who gave you life." This is a bold statement especially for today's culture in which the authority of the father in a household has been seriously challenged. In a world that seems to have a million voices all vying for your child's attention, it's a lot to ask your child to pay close attention to what you have to say. Why should your child have to listen to you rather than what s/he hears from twitter, instastories, reddit, or snapchat? What benefit is there in paying attention to your words? If we fill our mouths with folly and our tongue only learns to speak junk, there's no benefit for our children to listen to us. That's why the bible teaches fathers to talk about the word of God in their homes (Deut. 6:7). Make this a regular and normal thing in your homes, and your child is bound to benefit from your words because you're speaking life-giving truth. You don't always have to open the bible and have a formal bible study session to talk about the word of God (although we should be doing this as well). In everything that we talk about—whether it's money, relationships, education, sports, hobbies, etc.—we can centre our conversations on the truths of God. It may feel awkward for you to do this at first, but once you do this on a regular basis, it will become normal for your family to bring God into your everyday conversations.
In Joshua 24:15, Joshua boldly claims that his family will serve the LORD. He's making a spiritual decision on behalf of his family. In today's culture, he may be criticized for not asking his children for their opinions first and letting them do whatever they want because it's their lives. We value individuality so much that we criticize communal cultures that value unity of direction more than individualistic preferences. I'm not suggesting that collectivist cultures are superior to individualistic cultures; I recognize that there are strengths and weaknesses to each. However, the bible instructs fathers to lead families in the way of the Lord, and to speak biblical truth to children consistently. We cannot shy away from talking about the word of God with our children.
As we celebrate Father's Day, let us not forget our responsibility as fathers to serve our primary mission field—our home. We are missionaries sent by God into our homes. Our children are entrusted to us so that we may raise them up in the ways of the Lord. Let's engage in this greatest privilege with great joy this week. Happy Father's Day!