The beginning of Father’s Day does not have it’s roots in Mother’s Day or a greeting card company. The celebration of Dad’s special day is credited to Mrs. John B. Dodd of Washington state, who first suggested the idea in 1909.
Mrs. Dodd’s father, William Smart, was widowed when his wife died in childbirth delivering her 6th child. Despite the obvious hardships, Mr. Smart proceeded to raise the newborn along with his other 5 children by himself. It wasn’t until Sonora Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. The original date chosen for Father’s Day was June 5th, Mr. Smart’s birthday but was postponed until June 19th, the third Sunday of June because Mrs. Dodd didn’t have enough time to prepare.
The idea spread quickly and cities across America began celebrating Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day, but it didn’t become official until 1966 when President Lynden Johnson signed a presidential proclamation that set aside the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.
Children have the best things to say about fathers. Let us take a look at some of them (Video)
These are about earthly fathers and when it comes to earthly fathers there is no perfect father. And the Bible gives us all kinds of examples of fathers.
a) A good but neglectful father like Eli (1Sam. 2).
Eli’s neglect to correct and council his children was so grievous that they sinned against their own people, made a sham of the priesthood, ignored what their father told them about their shamefulness, and greatly dishonored the heavenly Father. The Lord was so distressed at the lack of will Eli displayed to correct his children that he rebuked and chastened him, then cursed his household.
b) A bad and rotten father like Ahab (1Kings 16-22).
King Ahab followed his father King Omri’s example by being a worse sinner than King Omri himself was. A fathers example can lead to the destruction of not only himself but also the entire family; in this case Israel. A little bit of love and respect for the Lord could have gone a long way here.
c) Good men who from time to time left bad examples like David (1&2 Samuel).
We all know the troubles King David had controlling his desires.
d) And good fathers like Abraham.
Abraham loved and respected the lord very much. He did as the lord asked, without question, even to the point of sacrificing his own son Isaac, and Abraham would have if the Lord didn‘t stop him. That is trust, faith, obedience and love.
However, despite the shortcomings of fatherhood, it is amazing that when God chose how we should relate to Him, he chose Father, and He demonstrated and continues to demonstrate the perfect attributes of a Father
However, I am not going to deliver a sermon on how to become a great father. Sure there are things that fathers can do to become better, sure there are ways to make our children feel special, sure there are many things that God himself shows us on perfect fatherhood. It is common knowledge that the children end up imitating their fathers a lot of time. So there is no denying the fact that we can become better fathers. But that is not the topic of my sermon this morning. All of us sitting here, young or old, married or not, father or child, man or woman, all of us have one thing in common. We all have a loving heavenly Father. This morning I want us to turn our focus on Him. This morning I want to encourage us to look at how do we honour our heavenly Father.
A little girl decided to honour her father by making breakfast for him. Let us see what happens (Video clip from “Imagine That”)
Let us get back to ourselves. How do we honour our heavenly Father? We might start thinking about various ways to do that. And some of them might be right, some of them not so appropriate. However, fortunately for us, God has sent a perfect example. So let us look at that perfect example. How the Son honoured the Father. Does any one remember the first “red letter” words of the bible? The very first words of Jesus recorded in the bible? Let us turn to Luke 2: 41-49. The story is familiar. The parents take the child to the temple, and when the feast is finished they leave Jerusalem to go back home. On the way, they realise that the boy Jesus is not with them, so they come back probably half the way and search for the boy Jesus. They finally find him in the temple “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions”. They get annoyed with him and ask him why he did such a thing. Then comes the profound answer from Jesus, who is just 12 years old at that time. He says (I read from the NKJV) Luke 2:49 “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”. Other translations put it as “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?”. The original Greek version uses an expression which could be translated as House, or business or Father’s matters or Things. I like the NJKV translation here. Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” This one sentence sums up Jesus’ mission, the whole purpose of his coming to this earth. To complete His Father’s business.
So let us ponder over this a little bit. What is His Father’s business that Jesus is talking about. Well the answer is obvious, the business of salvation, the business of bringing His people back in communion with him, the business of bridging the gap that has been created between the creator and the creation, the business of defeating Satan’s schemes, the business of rectifying the fall, the business of paying for all mankind’s sins once for all. Jesus, being with the Father before creation knew very well, that His Father had tried all other means to provide salvation to the people. He had tried sending Prophets, he had tried through Kings, He had tried and used beauty Queens like Esther, He had used the mighty like Samson etc etc to bring the people back to Him. But all were imperfect, and none of the earlier missions worked. Jesus knew that this attempt was the ultimate. He had decided to send His own son so that the mission succeeds through the righteousness and sinlessness of the one who has been sent.
During His ministry Jesus would be heard saying, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (John 5:17) and, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29). And remember that at the end, when He faced his most daunting task, as He prayed in the Garden, Jesus said, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
So often we hear this expression today, WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? So I would like us to ask today. What Would Jesus Do on a Father’s Day? It all could be summed up in this – He would do His Father’s Business.
How about us? Whose business are we doing? Perhaps we’ve become too caught up in doing our own business, doing what we want to do. Perhaps we believe it is not our duty to participate in His business. Perhaps we think he does not need our help. Perhaps we think we are in the wrong place, wrong job, wrong neighborhood, to do His business. Perhaps we think we lack the right skills to do His business. But the fact is that Jesus has already achieved the major portion of what is required to be done. All that the Father is asking us to do is make Jesus known to people. He is not asking us to go on to the cross, He is not asking us to bear every one else’s sins. He is just asking us to be the light and salt of the earth. He is just asking us to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1Peter 2:12). He is just asking us to be imitators of Christ.
What is our response going to be? Not that Our heavenly father will love us or care for us any lesser if we do nothing about His business. Not that He will give up on us. He has promised us multiple times that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can let go of every care in the world because we know that we have a Dad who will always be there for us. Let us look at this illustration (Video Clip “Let Go”)
I’ll close now with a story which makes this point so well. It’s a fascinating story that comes out of the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. This deadly tremor killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived there he discovered the building was flat as a pancake.
Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he could not take his mind off his promise.
Remembering that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son! “My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire-fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They did not answer him and he continued digging for his son stone by stone.
He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?” This man dug for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!” and a voice answered him, “Dad?” It’s me Dad!” Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!”
We have a promise keeping Father in heaven. How are we going to honour Him this Father’s day? How will we do His business?