INTRO: In Bill Cosby’s book, Fatherhood. He writes: Now that my father is a grandfather, he just can’t wait to give money to my kids. But when I was his kid and I asked him for fifty cents, he would tell me the story of his life. How he got up at 5 A.M. when he was seven years old and walked twenty-three miles to milk ninety cows. And the farmer for whom he worked had no bucket, so he had to squirt the milk into his little hand and then walk eight miles to the nearest can. All for 5 cents a month. The result was that I never got my 50 cents.
But now he tells my children every time he comes into the house: “Well, lets see how much money old Granddad has got for his wonderful kids.” And the minute they take money out of his hands I call them over to me and I snatch it away from them. Because that is MY money.
US News Magazine reporting on America's crime problem wrote, "The greatest need for America's is not more wealth, or a better education; but men willing to be responsible fathers."
A survey conducted by California Consulting Center reports, "Businessmen say lives are 'empty': The study of 4,126 male business executives revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the corporate experience. Forty-eight percent of all middle managers said that despite years spent striving to achieve their professional goals, their lives seemed 'empty and meaningless.' 68% of senior executives said that they had neglected their family lives to pursue professional goals, and half said they would spend less time working and more time with their wives and children if they could start over again."
In the Sep. 25, 1972 issue of Newsweek Magazine.
"When West German industrialist Friedrich Flick died, he left a personal fortune estimated at 1.5 billion dollars, a business empire that embraced all or part of some 300 firms and a reputation as perhaps the crustiest, craftiest magnate ever to operate on the German business scene.
Flick was dedicated wholly to his work (he buried his wife at 3 p.m. one day in 1966 and was back at his desk two hours later). At his death, the Flick Empire generated annual sales in excess of $3 billion. But for all his enormous power and wealth, the old man had one very human shortcoming: he could not control his family. The week following his death, a Flick family fight over Flick's empire had employees, bankers and politicians alike shuddering over the eventual impact it might have on the West Germany economy.
As one observer put it: “Flick hit ‘home runs’ at the office, but he struck out at home!”
§ One NT verse--giving guidance needed by fathers today. Containing both positive and negative instruction.
§ Still, nearly 2,000 years after it was written the counsel remains unchanged; it is still fresh and needed for fathers today. It tells us what a Father is, and what he should never be!
(Eph 6:4 NIV) "Fathers, [not that Mothers are capable, but that Fathers have the primary influence], do not exasperate [provoke, make them angry] your children; instead, bring them up [Nurture, care for] in the training and instruction of the Lord."
We could spend a lot of time on what "A Father is not"-- but we already know that--it is easy to think of the negative. Instead I chose to deal with "What a Father is"; what it means to "nurture and train our children in the instruction of the Lord."
The Greatest Gifts a Father can give to their children:
§ PATIENCE & UNDERSTANDING -- seeing life through the eyes of his children.
ILLUS: Babies are really great. Someone has described a baby as a digestive apparatus with a loud noise at one end and no responsibility at the other.
“do not exasperate…bring them up” Each implies great patience and understanding
§ INFLUENCE—They Influence both a child’s Belief & Hope – Beliefs about the promises of God and their hope in God
(Prov 22:6 NRSV) "Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray."
"We will not influence our children in making choices and decisions in matters of religion!" But why not?
· The ads will! The press will! The movies will! The neighbors will! The forces of sin will! The politicians will!
· We use our influence over flowers, vegetables, cattle, etc. Shall we ignore our own children?
I took a piece of plastic clay, and idly fashioned it one day,
And as my fingers pressed it still, It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past -- The bit of clay was hard at last;
The form I gave it, it still bore, but I could change that form no more.
I took a piece of living clay and gently formed it day by day,
And molded with my power and art a young child's soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone -- it was a man I looked upon;
He still that early impress wore, and I could change him nevermore.
§ TIME—Investing time in God, witnessed by their children. Teaching them how to have a vital relationship with their Creator, also instructs them in how to relate to people.
· Children remember their early years—Religious Cults proclaim, “Give us your child for the first two of life, and we will have them forever!”
My hands were busy through the day, I didn't have much time to play
The little games you asked me to, I didn't have much time for you.
I worked all day, I'm tired and spent, then you would bring your toys on in,
You'd ask me please to share your fun, I'd always say, "Later, son!"
I'd tuck you in safe at night, hear your prayers, turn out the light
Then tiptoe softly to the door, I wish I'd stayed a minute more.
For life is short, the years rush past, Our children grow up far too fast
No longer are they at your side, their precious secrets to confide.
Now all toys are put away, There are no more games to play
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear -- That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands once busy now lie still, The days are long and hard to fill
I wish I might go back and do, The little things you asked me to.
The Greatest Gifts a Father can give to their children:
- PATIENCE— Seeing life through the eyes of his children.
- INFLUENCE—About the promises of God and their hope in God
- TIME—Teaching them how to have a vital relationship with their Creator, also instructs them in how to relate to people.
The Greatest Gifts a Father can give to themselves—to BE A REAL MAN—what is a REAL MAN?
Malachi 4:4-6 NLT
The Lord Almighty says, 4 “Remember to obey the instructions of my servant Moses, all the laws and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel. 5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
WORSHIP GOD ONLY! (2nd Command)
Exodus 20:1-17 NLT
4 “Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. 5 You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god! I do not leave unpunished the sins of those who hate me, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations. 6 But I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.
- Failure brings two severe consequences
1. Hearts of the children will turn away from their parents.
2. God will strike the land with a curse!
- The emphasis of the commandment is relationship!
REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS! (4th Command)
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, 10 but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; then he rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
- Without God—you are nothing! He is the root of every good gift you enjoy.
- Make Him the center of your life.
- Thank Him often for your blessings—seek Him often during your struggles! And let your children witness your relationship.
- Acknowledging God’s authority over all life!
RESPECT GOD ORDAINED AUTHORITY! (5th Command)
12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God will give you.
- Five times Jesus quoted this command…each time as a verb, indicating action is necessary to fulfill the requirement. It is not enough to have it in the head—it must be lived!
- The requirement is not mentioned as one earned by the parent—rather it is given by the children, but it is learned by observation! The instruction is commanded, but also modeled!
1. If you want to be honored by your children, you must honor your parents!
2. Example of honor is given by the Lord in Matthew 15:
4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘You don’t need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.’ 6 And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said,
8‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away.
9Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.’ ”
Cats In The Cradle Lyrics A child arrived just the other day, came to the world in the usual way, But there were planes to catch and bills to pay, he learned to walk while I was away He was talking before I knew it and as he grew he said I'm going to be like you Dad, you know I'm going to be like you. Chorus : And the cat's in the cradle, and the silver spoon, Little Boy Blue, and the Man in the Moon, When you coming home son, I don't know when We'll get together then, you know we'll have a good time then. My son turned 10 just the other day, Said thanks for the ball now c'mon let's play Will you teach me to throw, I said not today, I've got a lot to do, he said that's ok And he walked away and he smiled and he said You know I'm going to be like you, Dad, you know I'm going to be like you. Chorus. He came from college just the other day, so much like a man I just had to say, I'm proud of you, won't you sit for a while He shook his head and said with a smile, What I'm feeling like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys See you later can I have them please. Chorus. I've long since retired and my son's moved away I called him up just the other day I'd like to see you, if you don't mind He said I'd love to Dad, if I could find the time You see my new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu But it's sure nice talking you Dad, it's been real nice talking to you. And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me He'd grown up just like me; my boy was just like me. Chorus twice.