Thursday, June 15, 2017

A [Spiritual] Father's Day Note

I wrote this post for my church, where part of my work is to emphasize the ministry of families-- namely, fathers and mothers-- to those inside but also outside their home. The family is such a beautiful gift, and it is meant to be given to the world! Part of why I am so passionate about this ministry is because I am the result of it. At no time of year does this ring more true than Father's Day. I hope it encourages you! 

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate the ministry of fatherhood. It is a day of cute crafts gifted from sticky fingered-kids and notes of appreciation from their mothers. It is a day for dads to hear “thank you.” However, the gospel brings to bear a few important reminders for us on Father’s Day: first, that our call to fatherhood (and motherhood) is not merely biological, but also spiritual; and second, that His plan for the world is that everyone would come to know Him as Father.

I grew up in a fatherless home from the time I was fourteen. For many years, Father’s Day was a painful reminder to me of what I longed for but didn’t have. But the grace of God in my life was to put a number of men around me who fathered me in the absence of my biological dad. Men who remembered my name, took an interest in my life, prayed for me, discipled me, helped me with my car or college applications; men whose ministry of fatherhood dramatically changed the course of my life. By the time I was eighteen, I had a short list of these “dads” that I called, texted, or sent a card on Father’s Day. Their spiritual fatherhood filled the gap in ways I can’t even begin to express.

What’s more, the ministry of these men in my life filled the gaps in my picture of God the Father. They demonstrated by His Spirit the love, tenderness, patience, kindness, and strength of the One who knit me together in my mother’s womb. They ministered to me in ordinary, earthly ways but in doing so, they helped me understand and receive the gospel: they taught me the Fatherhood of God.

On this Father’s Day, I want to say thank you to all the men who have embraced their calling as spiritual fathers. And I want to challenge all men everywhere to know that your ministry as father is not limited by your ability to produce biological children. You have a unique and powerful opportunity to partner with God in showing the world what it means that He is Father: that He reaches out to those who might otherwise only know themselves as “orphan”-- and calls them sons and daughters. 

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