In Luke 15, Jesus tells a
story about two sons and a father. Often we focus our attention on the two sons
in this story especially the one that leaves home and wastes all that he has,
but eventually returns home.
Too often, we overlook what
kind of man Jesus depicts the father in this parable to be. The central truth
of this story teaches us that God loves sinners. This parable also reveals some
wonderful attributes about a father of great influence. It is not difficult to
recognize that the central character in this story reveals that God is the
perfect loving father.
Throughout the Bible,
numerous stories communicate the importance of dads and moms providing love and
support for their children. The Old Testament stories of Abraham and his
descendents emphasized that the blessing of the father upon his sons was a very
significant act in life of Jewish families. George Sweeting, former president
of Moody Bible Institute, stated that children will base their concept of God
on what they see in their father. Because of this he encouraged fathers to
develop the kind of relationship with their children that they wish for their
children to have with God.
Significant research has been
done about the negative impact upon children who grow up in a fatherless home.
The Texas Department of Corrections reported that 85 percent of all youth
sitting in prisons grew up in fatherless homes. The Centers for Disease Control
stated that 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders are
from fatherless homes. The Bureau of Census Information indicates that 90
percent of runaway children are from homes without a father figure present. The
Criminal Justice and Behavioral publication reports that 80 percent of rapists
motivated with displaced anger are from fatherless homes.
All of this information
challenges fathers to fulfill the role and responsibility that God has given to
us. It is not easy to be this kind of Christian father or mother, but God does
not expect us to do this alone.
If we know Christ as our
Savior, if we live in submission to the Spirit of God living within us, He will
empower and enable us to be a blessing and a positive spiritual influence with
our children and grandchildren.
I was greatly blessed of God
to grow up in a home where my two sisters and I, along with our younger brother
who is now with the Lord, were loved and nurtured by Christian parents. They
read the Bible to us and prayed with us on a daily basis.
We each accepted Christ
under the preaching of my pastor father. Although he is 84 years old, my father
continues to be a godly influence in my life today. He no longer pastors a
church but remains very active in pastoral ministry. He attends conferences,
revivals and preaches in many churches. Last week, he visited 96 people in
homes, hospitals and retirement centers. I am so thankful that, even today, he
provides an influential model by which his children and grandchildren
continually learn and are challenged.