A few months ago a man attempted to set me up on a blind date. I respectfully declined and told him that I already had something lined up, but thank you anyways. He was happy to hear about this and then said, “I just can’t help to think about how good of a husband and father you’re going to make.” This was a very nice thing to hear, as you can imagine. I’ve never really fancied myself to be prime ‘dad’ material, but I have made long strides over the last couple of years. Last night I watched a movie that reiterated the importance of fatherhood and husbandry. At a friend’s house we watched Courageous.
Long story short, five men put their faith in God to help them improve the various relationships they have in their life. They each feel so strongly about this, they all sign a declaration to do so. I don’t want to speak too much about the movie, go check it out, but one of the things that stood out to me the most is what happened at the end. *Spoiler Alert*
…I now believe that God desires for EVERY father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven. A father should love his children, and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women, who live their lives for what matters in eternity. Some men will hear this, and mock it. Or ignore it. But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence he has given you. You can’t fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do. Some men will hear this and agree with it, but have no resolve to live it out. Instead, they will live for themselves, and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation. But there are some men, who regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did NOT do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same. And whenever possible to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives, but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous, to join us in this resolution. In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because I will. Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. I will. I accept this responsibility and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favor of God and his blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say I will. I will. I will!
A very emotional part of the movie was toward the end of this speech, when several men in the crowd started standing up, also accepting the responsibility laid out from this man. I feel for certain that I would have also stood up at that moment.
For two days in a row I was asked to read the same scripture, being Matthew 18: 12-14
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
This parable is mostly used to teach the idea that Heavenly Father loves all of his children, equally, and is very happy for when even just one is able to be led back to him. I feel this can be used to describe how my life has gone. But how about a step further? Can I use this to describe my future? Mine coming back to the “family” fold? I have to think that being prompted to read this as much as I have this week, it has to be important, in multiple ways.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. ~ James 5: 19-20