Eric's Sunday Sermon; Of The Love of a Father
To teach brotherly love is a blessing running both ways.
A braggadocios father.
Oh dear my friends this Sunday here in the US it is Father’s Day. In my mind it is children’s day. I have four really great children. I just cannot thank God enough for blessing me so greatly. Oh for sure there are burdens that go along with having children but I count them miniscule compared to the joy and hope that they bring me freely. On a daily basis I am called upon by one of them to help with an issue. I just cannot conceive of a greater honor and good feeling. To be called upon to help is such glorious gift.
My children are all exceptional, and not just in my eyes but I am told often that they are such in other’s eyes. Oh what a living tribute to their mother. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that my children do not ask what the community of man can do for them but rather what can they do for that community. Be clear that they are gifted in intellect, I think between my three oldest they have 3 dual degrees and one master’s degree. And they are daily looking for more knowledge. They have an enormous appetite for learning. But I count those as talents they were blessed with from birth. Their love and compassion and strong personal connection with their God is a choice they have made. And so I count those blessings above all others.
To be sure I have been married twice to two remarkable and wonderful ladies. The first marriage lasted about 13 years and my current is over 14 years. Sometimes to the chagrin of my current wife my first and I have a good relationship and enjoyed sharing in the raising of our children and now celebrate them. So I have three adult children and one who just this week graduated from kindergarten. Following in his older sibling’s footsteps he received honors and awards for his achievements in the school setting. He currently loves to “rescue” bugs and place them in safe places. His mother hates/fears creepy crawly things and I am ambivalent toward them but acknowledge and appreciate how each has a niche in making our environment more stable and healthy. So my son came up with this compassion for creatures all on his own. He is headed down the good path of life.
There is no better gift than to be the wind beneath a child's wings.
Sometimes I think that love for a sibling is what we are born with.
Do both The Father and the father raise the child?
Oh my how boring that first section is. A father bragging about his children. But believe it or not there is method to my madness. I pretty much firmly believe that we are children of our creator. The concept just fits. As mother and father create the flesh so has God already blessed them with talents and a soul. Have no doubt that it is a father’s job to help his children navigate through the choppy waters and help the child realize their gifts. And it is his responsibility to help build the character traits that will have his children be contributing members of the society of earth. But the children must first be taught to take directive information and use it for the greatest good.
Don’t the lines between our heavenly father and our earthly father kind of get blurred? Kind of like a father is to emulate the heavenly father, so that the child may also emulate their father. Of course that is the difficult part for a father, to teach by example. This notion of “do as I say and not what I do” is really a load of garbage. We fathers must do our best to follow the example of our Father in heaven. As a man cannot raise a child without the mother, so it is that a father cannot raise a child without The Father. Oh sure one can provide clothes, shelter, food and safety but that is the easy part. Leading the way through the subjects of morality, love, connection with their God, a strong work ethic and compassion are the hard tasks at hand. And so it is the same for our Father in heaven. There is also the tricky part of allowing the child to achieve on their own and not interfering with the natural flow of things. Boy that pointing in the right direction and then “hands off” is really hard. Knowing when to let go as you teach a child to ride a bike is nerve racking.
Perhaps it does take a village to raise a child but only if it is a community of love.
Here is one of the really cool parts of being a dad. In raising a child you raise up yourself. You can never stop growing with your child. What example would that set? Even in our dotage we must press ourselves to be better. We must grow and learn new things or often in my case old things again. You cannot give freely of something you do not have. Aside from love and compassion isn’t the thirst for a greater understanding the best gift a father can give their child?
One of the toughest things to teach a child is to always question. Teaching them to follow direction is easy compared to this. I teach my children to question and they question respectfully. But the problem there is that they question you! How many times was I tempted to just say, “because I said so”. But that is a luxury of sloth that a good parent cannot indulge in. As a parent we are often pushed to our limit of patience and energy. We must to the same to our Father. In exercise I do not gain unless I push it to more than I did before. So be it with our emotions and intellect.
Everything I have written to you my friends is but a silent gong if it is not done in love. It seems to me that anything really beneficial must be given and received in love. Oh sure we labor and serve and receive our payment and that is beneficial for us to provide the basics. Isn’t that what any reasonable father would do? Although these days I am sad to report sometimes it takes both father and mother to provide for children in this way.
Raising someone up raises me up.
A wonder why it is that when a child hugs me I find myself in the arms of an angel.
Sometimes a father worries for his children
If we can teach a child to focus all thought though the lens of love, we have not failed our Father.
Here is a cool word; Nurture: “care for and encourage the growth or development of.” Isn’t that a great definition of the role of parent. And yet isn’t that how we should treat everyone?
I do hope that throughout this sermon you sometimes were scratching your head wondering if I was referring to the Heavenly Father or the earthly father. That is the goal for me in mentoring a child. Is that dad who decided that or is he just following instruction from a higher power? Oh boy let me get the scripture that guides my thinking here it is just so cool; 1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Whoa dudes and dudettes, that means to love is to be a part of God. So if I love my children and they love me we are in God. How could I possibly go wrong if my raising of my children is done in love? How can my children possibly go wrong if they learned that love and are willing to pass it on? All else we call secondary. Here is a neat thought; Spiritually we use the term “you raise me up”, isn’t it interesting that we use the same word “raise” to describe what we do with our children. And what can be more rewarding and joyous than raising someone up? Let me end by thanking those many men who called me son and helped to raise me up. My dad did a great job in setting me up to succeed in life to love. Though he passed on over a decade ago he lives within me as that part of God we call love.