I recently read a book by Stephen Altrogge entitled My Friend, My Hero, My Dad. In the book, Altrogge shows the many ways that he looks up to his father Mark, but it's not just that. This book is an encouragement in the Gospel to all parents, reminding them to hold fast to the Gospel as they shepherd their children. Now, I am not a father (yet; and as my parents continue to tell me, there's no need to rush into that world :P), but I found this book encouraging, reminding me of all the things my dad taught me as a kid.
One of the things I remember most about my childhood was when I would ask my dad if I could go do something or another. Whenever I would do this, my dad would ask me a simple question: Why? I learned from a very early age that "I don't know" was never a correct response to this question. If I wanted to do something, like go buy trading cards or something of that nature, I always needed a good reason to do so. As a young boy, you can imagine the frustration this brought me, but I am immensely grateful for it now.
Another thing that my father instilled in me as I grew up was the concept of finishing well. At the end of every semester in college, if I ever called to talk to my parents, you could always guarantee that my dad would tell me to finish well. This happened so often that I began to hear his voice in my head quoting those two words over and over again. And it worked! Even in the midst of some very rough semesters, I always finished strong, and ended up graduating with honors because of it. My dad motivated me to always finish what I had started.
These are just a couple of things that my father taught me over the two decades that I lived under his roof. In all of this, I learned to imitate my dad as he imitated (and imitates) Christ. My dad is a Bible teacher at my old high school, and I can attest to the fact that he lives out what he teaches. He has given me a lot of Bible knowledge, but more than that he has taught me, in his words and in his actions, how to live out the commands in Scripture. He follows in the example of King David, being a man after God's own heart. And that is what he has always wanted my goal in life to be. And that is what I hope will be the life goal of my children in the future.
As such, I want to remind us that while this is a day set aside to honor our fathers here on this earth, we ought also to remember who our Heavenly Father is. I am grateful for the influence of my earthly dad, but we are both on a journey of sanctification as we look ahead to the day when we will see our Lord and Father face to face. Through the sacrificial work of Christ in His life, death, and resurrection, we have been adopted as sons and daughters into the love of the Father, if we have put our trust in Christ. We have so much to look forward to for the rest of eternity because of our position as adopted children of the Most High God. I look forward to the day when my earthly father and I will be joining in the endless praises of our eternal heavenly Father together forever.
So celebrate your father today. If you don't live near him, make sure to call him and tell him how much you appreciate him. (That's what I plan to do after I post this.) But don't forget that his love is a representation of what we have to look forward to for
A simple servant of the Master.