16 June 2008

Happy Father's Day

My Father’s Day present came in the form of a phone call Saturday. It was from my youngest son William and his wife Stephanie. They called to tell me the gender of their second child, which is due in October. It is going to be a girl. This was a terrific Father’s Day present for me. Congratulations William and Stephanie. Little Bradley Scott is going to have a little sister to tease when they get older.

Special Bond
Grandpa’s love their grand children no matter what gender or age. But fathers and grand-fathers do have a special bond with their little girls. Having two sons, whom I wouldn’t trade for anything, has been great. But as a man, having a little girl in the family is very special. Of course, children are a blessings no matter what their gender. I’ve begun to realize as Shawn’s daughter, Antonella, is getting older, now 7 ½, we are getting much closer. This is a wonderful thing even if nearly 3,000 miles of Atlantic Ocean separate us. I also thank God often for the technology that is now available to all families and missionaries living apart from their loved ones.

I am incredibly proud of both of my sons Shawn and William for many areas of their lives but especially in their roles as fathers. Shawn has had a few years head start on William. And Shawn has not only been a terrific dad for Antonella but also has been available to some other children needing a father figure. William is a new dad with seven month old Bradley Scott. But even in this short time, you can already see the incredible love and caring he shows his son and other children. (Both of these boys kinda makes a dad proud, ya know.)

What Is a Father?
It is an awesome title and responsibility to be a dad. Biologically men can “father” a child but to be a dad is another definition. You can be someone’s dad and have never “fathered” a child. And unfortunately the opposite is also true. You can make babies and never be a dad.

It takes a special man to become a dad to a child whether they actually fathered that child or not. I have great respect for some friends of mine who have welcomed and played that role for years. The greatest blessing any man can receive is when a child acknowledges that he is their “dad”.

Many Teachers but Not Many Fathers
Men need to step up and assume the position of “dad” as our Heavenly Father has done for us. The most amazing thing happens to us when our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes personal. God gives everyone acceptance and meaning to their lives. We have the free will choice to make it personal. Even Paul talks about fathers in the New Testament. He mentions that there are many teachers but not many fathers. What does he mean?

I love this version of scripture from the Message Bible which says:
1Co 4:15 There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God's Message to you that I became your father.

Paul is talking about the spiritual aspects of fatherhood. But I challenge you that there are natural applications to this scripture also. Correction can be one thing ­­— guidance another.

The Challenge
Take up Paul’s challenge in God’s Word and become a dad, spiritual or otherwise to someone who needs one. Age has no influence on this type of relationship. Genuine concern and availability does. You’d be surprised at the number of adult Believers that would love to have a “Father in the Lord”. Call it fathering, discipleship or mentoring. The end result is a bi-directional blessing for both parties.

God’s blessings,
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe