Sunday is Father's Day, and I can't stress enough the importance of a godly, Christian father in the spiritual well-being of his children. Let me say up front there are many families with absent fathers, usually for good reason. The single moms out there (and the married moms, too) are also absolutely crucial, and I don't want fatherless families to feel inferior or defective in any way. But I want to take today to talk to the dads and step-dads out there.
You are important to your children. You are important to their physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Your kids grow up looking to you for guidance, and even if they don't seem to be paying attention to you at church, they are. Whether you realize it or not, you are modeling worship for them, and they will worship just like you do -- carelessly and inattentively or reverently and lovingly.
The studies show the father is the single most important family member in terms of church attendance itself, too. If Dad goes to church, so does the rest of the family. If he doesn't, it's fifty-fifty, even if the mother wants to go. Fathers, if you want to see your kids in church, you have to go with them. Church, if we want to grow and want to see more people have deeper relationships with Jesus, we have to reach out to fathers.
Scripture consistently teaches us husbands are the heads of the household, and this is especially true spiritually (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph 5:21-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7). Fathers have a responsibility to take their families to church, to pray with them, and to read the Bible with them (Eph 6:4). And maybe they should sing with them, too. Discipleship begins in the home -- and men, that means it begins with you.
There's much more to be said about headship and the family -- mutual love and submission, a father's duty to love their children, etc. -- but that's better done somewhere else besides a blog. (Come over sometime; I'll make tea.)
This Father's Day, dads, take seriously your responsibility to be like your Heavenly Father. Love, forgive, teach, worship. And thank you for everything you do. If you're reading this and still have a father, tell him you love him. If you face the holiday seeing it as nothing but a reminder of absence and loss, my prayers go out to you, and I implore you to remember the goodness of your Father in heaven who never leaves or forsakes you. God is the perfect Father to all of His children -- and that's good news!