Although Father’s Day doesn’t have the same grandeur of Mother’s Day, I thought I would take some time today to honor all the Fathers out there.
Every Father wants to hear their son say at least once, “Dad, I want to grow up to be just like you one day.” But, when you really think about it, those words carry a hefty load. Do I want my sons to grow up to be like me one day? In some respects, yes. I want them to love and know God on a very personal level and live strong and faithful Christian lives. I want them to understand that hard work and perseverance pay out in the highest dividends in both personal and financial ways. I want them to create strong bonds with their wives and children. But in other respects, I hope they do better than me. I have my faults and I pray that one day they can “one-up” their dad in the areas where I am most challenged.
The Bible’s most famous story of fatherhood is, of course, the parable of “The Prodigal Son.” The son leaves his father’s home and squanders all his money. Of course, as these things go, when he runs out of money, he also runs out of friends and ends up eating from the slop that is fed to pigs.
Once at rock-bottom, the Bible says, “He came to himself.” And he began thinking, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare? And here I am, starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father.” It’s important to note that the prospect of going back to his father was always available.
I have a “Prodigal Son” story of my own. When I was a dumb, teenage boy (which is an oxymoron since all teenage boys are dumb), I also rebelled against my father and my faith. I left my father’s home, drank and caroused, and generally made an utter fool of myself. In spite of this gap in our relationship, I knew that, when all was said and done, I could come back to him one day and he would welcome me. Now, I usually see my father on a bi-weekly basis.
At the very heart of the Prodigal Son story we see the mirror of God’s love for all of his children. We may wander, we may push Him away, and we may even at times hate Him, but He is always waiting to welcome us back with open and forgiving arms.
On this Father’s Day, remember to be a better Dad than you were yesterday, today, or even an hour ago. We always have the chance to live up to those adoring eyes and perhaps if we do a few things right, our sons will emulate them, and then one-up us on the things we got wrong.
Happy Father’s Day!