TLP 167: Fathering for Jesus
Happy Fathers’ Day! Do you realize that you may be fathering Jesus Himself? How would your fathering change if God were your son? Today AMBrewster discusses how the Christian Parent’s role often is an act of direct service to God and how we can do a better job at it.
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It’s almost Fathers’ Day — congratulations, by the way — so I thought we’d celebrate one of the most stunning and significant parenting truths I’ve ever encountered.
This Truth is applicable to moms and dads, so stick around even if you’re not a dad. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a dad of teens, toddlers, expecting, or just hoping with your wife, this is the direction we all need to go.
But before I say any more about that, I want to thank a dad just like you. Matt and his wife Sonja have chosen to partner with TLP by supporting our ministry with their prayer, finances, and by telling everyone they know about us.
We couldn’t minister to you the way we do without the faithful support of Matt and Sonja. We are a listener-supported ministry, and all of our patrons make it possible to get God’s truth into the hearts and lives of Christian parents all over the world.
Will you please consider partnering with me and Matt and the many other dads who believe in TLP.
Alright, today’s topic is “Fathering for Jesus.” I don’t know that we have a grander calling on this earth, so I hope you’re looking forward to learning God’s expectations.
Let’s look at the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 34 to 40. Jesus is wrapping up a message about the last days and the end of days, and He says: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Isn’t that powerful?
Isn’t that glorious?
When we serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, God says that we’re actually serving Him in that same way.
And this really does make all the sense in the world. Our recent month-long study in love supports it, but the reality that God Himself indwells believers also explains how we’re serving Him as we serve others.
What I really love about this list is that most of the activities on it are done by parents. We feed our kids, we give them drinks. We also welcome them and clothe them and care for them in sickness.
So, I have two Fathers’ Day observations for us from this passage:
1. God wants you to father your children as if you were fathering God Himself.
Do you think this idea may change your parenting at all?
When you look at your teen and realize that by fathering him as the Lord commands, you’re actually performing those exact same ministries to God Himself.
I don’t think I have the vocabulary to truly explain or appreciate the immensity of this idea.
Let’s look quickly as how parenting God in these different areas of life may change the way view our responsibility to our children.
1. Do we care for our children in their illness as we would God?
Most of us do a pretty good job caring for our children when they’re sick. To be honest, I think most parents shine in this category of parenting.
I also think that if we parented on normal days the way we do on sick days, we would see a huge change in our houses and families.
What’s really interesting is that when we parent our sick children we generally get all the other categories right too. We smother them in love. We dress them appropriately for the illness, and we only give them the food and beverages that will benefit them.
Isn’t that interesting?
However, we dads need to be super careful with this category. Though we may do it well when we do it, too often we’re tempted to delegate sick children to our wives.
That’s ridiculous. We should interact with them in their sickness as much as we can.
2. Do we welcome our children as we would God?
I know this is hard for those of you with Terrorist Children. I get it. I live with eight of them every year.
But that doesn’t dismiss the question.
This word “welcomed” has the idea of gathering people to you in hospitality. Would our children say that we’re hospitable to them?
Do we welcome them as we would God?
How do we respond when we pick them up from school? Do we just let them waft through the home on a whim?
This is a big question requiring more time and consideration, but I hope it lodges in our minds. It’s too easy for us dads to let our kids shove their earbuds in and sit comfortably ignoring each other.
I don’t believe that glorifies God because I don’t think God wants to be treated that way.
3. Do we clothe our children the way we would clothe God?
I know it’s a strange question? But we need to think about it.
I’m not saying we need to buy them designer clothes. I don’t believe that would please the Lord as we try to steward our money — unless, of course, money isn’t an option for you. That’s fine.
I’m thinking more about the quantity, modesty, and identity of the clothes.
When I say “quantity,” I’m referring to our kids having enough. This is super subjective, but I mention it because I’ve worked with families who don’t seem to care that their children are growing out of their clothes or that they only have three pairs of socks or that they don’t have shoes that fit them.
This is even more depressing when dad is wearing designer shoes. This — unfortunately — is a symptom of an absentee parent, and I hope that doesn’t describe any of you.
When I say, “modesty,” I’m talking specifically about the amount of our bodies are covered. Modesty isn’t an issue I’ve brought up very much on this show, but I did write an article about it for Evermind Ministries. I’ll attach the link in the description if you’re interested in reading it. It deals with the concept of biblical modesty.
To be honest, when I see children and young people immodestly dressed, I wonder if their parents have any idea the effect it’s having on their children’s friends and the other people with whom they interact.
Again, dads, don’t be bums when it comes to speaking into the modesty of your daughters. You understand far better than your wives the types if things boys think.
I think your input into the clothes your daughters wear is even more important than mom’s.
And when I say, “identity,” I’m referring to what the clothes communicate.
Would you buy Jesus a t-shirt that said, “You’re right, let’s do it there dumbest way possible because it’s easiest for you”? What about “I speak in sarcasm”?
Would you dress God in clothes that associated Him with the drug culture or music filled with lyrics He hates?
Would you give God a shirt that is nothing more than an advertisement for a movie that God would never want us to watch?
How would you dress God?
Once more, these are not things that fall merely under the purview of a wife. You should have say in the way your children dress. You are the one who will ultimately be responsible for leading your family well.
4. Do we feed our children the way we would feed God?
Would you give the King of the Universe anything that wasn’t good? Would you give Him a steady diet of sugar and carbs? Would you send Him to school every day with lunch money for the school cafeteria? Would you drop by McDonalds as often as you do if God were in the car?
If you knew God were coming to dinner, wouldn’t you prepare a spread that was both delicious and good for you?
The same goes for what we allow our children to drink. Would you serve God a steady flow of carbonated sugar? Do you think you may reconsider your family menu if you knew that Jesus would be living in your home?
I Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
I try not to talk about food and diets on this show too often. It’s sad that this topic is often taboo or unappreciated. It seems to be such a personal affront to suggest that people aren’t eating right or that they’re not feeding their children as well as they could.
It’s not my intention to offend, and I think the specific examples I’ve given are both extreme and fair enough not to be too nit-picky, but the reality is that perhaps we need to review how our family eats knowing that this ministry of sustenance is being offered to God Himself.
Alright, so our first point is God wants you to father your children as if you were fathering God Himself.
2. You can’t father God through your children if they’re not born again.
I think it’s easy to miss. Listen again to the last verse of the passage: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Last years Mothers’ Day episode was called, “Who is My Mother?” You can listen to that in episode 54. On that show we discussed exactly what it means to be God’s brother.
Let me simplify it for you here: it means your kids have a relationship with God. It’s means they’re born again.
Now, I don’t think it’s fair to say that when we love our unsaved children, that God is not pleased. Of course He’s pleased when we love and care for His creation.
But what will it matter if we give our children the right clothes and food if we don’t give them the Gospel?
Again, I’m not suggesting you treat your unsaved children any differently than your born again children, but I am saying that our parenting won’t be the same direct ministry to God Himself as it could be.
Yes, we’ll be obeying Him, and yes, He’ll be pleased with us.
But if we want to worship God by serving Him via our ministry to our children, then the first thing we need to do is introduce them to God. And when they have submitted to Christ and are indwelled by God Himself, our parenting can take on a whole new spiritual quality.
I believe all of you want that. I believe all of you are parenting and praying desperately that your children will submit themselves to God. Keep it up.
And if we can help in any way, just let us know. You can send an email anytime you want to counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
You can find today’s episode notes linked below and on our blog, Taking Back the Family. When you subscribe to our blog, you’ll receive an email update every time we publish something new.
You can also sign up for our free parenting course called, “25 Days to Becoming a Premeditated Parent.” It’s a fantastic set of projects and activities that will help you think more intentionally about your role as an Ambassador of God.
On our next episode we’re going to try to answer the question, “Should You Give Your Child an Allowance?” If you’re the breadwinner in the home, I know that question may be of unique significance to you.
And I know it may seem unmanly to share an episode like this on social media. But I’ll tell you what’s defiantly unmanly — not loving your brothers in Christ. Please share this episode with your friends. They need to truth as much as you and I.
And if you’d like to do more, you could click on “5 Ways to Support TLP” or go to TruthLoveParent.com to learn more about who we are, our mission to parents all over the world, and how you can help us glorify God in that mission.
I hope your Fathers’ Day is fantastic, but beyond receiving mugs and socks, I hope this Fathers’ Day draws you closer to your Lord and helps you parent more like Him . . . for Him.
See you next time.
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