June 19 : Father’s Day message
1. MADE IN GOD’S OWN IMAGE: Fathers were created with a purpose by God. As Jehovah made Adam in His own image (Genesis 1:26), His loving and caring nature rubbed off on descendants of Adam who became fathers. Some children compare their dads with others. Some sons wish they had a richer daddy. Some dads may make their families suffer. Yet the universal truth remains that a father was created by the Almighty God to be the head of a family. Some mothers give a counter-claim that ‘they are the neck of the family;’ and that they can turn the ‘head’ towards any direction! But that’s a woman-made story. ‘Ghar ghar ka Kahsni!’
2. HONOUR PARENTS FOR LONG LIFE: Whatever; children were commanded in Exodus 20:12, “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land your God is giving you.” You are to honour your dad not because he gave you education. It has to be a spontaneous and unconditional respect. Attacking a father or mother is the antidote to long life (Exodus 21:15). Their dad may be a fool or an idiot. He may bring the family to near ruinage. But any son who dares to hurt or beat his dad (or mom) would forfeit divine privilege he enjoys. And the Creator’s curse, in addition.
3. THE HEART OF A FATHER: A father deserves to be feted and feathered. Rich or poor, he goes the extra mile in love and sacrifice to see to it that his offspring raise the bar in things they aim for in life. When the child who is groomed on behalf of the family's bread and jam, fails in the exam, it’s daddy who is hit most. The child may be mild or wild, good-natured or crude-natured, brilliant or petulant, a father’s love never descends, nor diminishes, unless he’s a little ‘round the bend.’ Doses of the distilled love of God the Father trickles down on every earthly father.
4. SAD REMINDER: The success of every other son in the same locality or region makes a father question himself, “Why the same couldn’t happen to his own family?” Where did he go wrong? It becomes a reminder of his own, and his family’s failure. Yet the father profusely thanks God for having kept the children healthy and without harm. After all, ‘life ho to hope hai.’ A dad always desires the best for his children. Yet, more often than not, dreams die first.’ . A dad gets sold on his kids, not for what they achieve in life, but for what they are to him, their dad. His emotional battery is ‘recharged’ when his kids do a little good, occasionally.
5. SOFT CORNER FOR THE DAUGHTER: When the daughter makes the wrong choice in life partnership, it’s the father whose world of hopes comes crumbling down. Yet, he’s willing to take additional amends in absorbing the pain on his child’s behalf. It’s the very mind of God planted in a father’s heart. That’s why Proverbs 23:22 reminds, “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” A parent has all the experience in life. Children must value and obey fatherly and motherly counsel.
6. FATHERS ARE RICH IN LOVE: Some kids feel sorry for the parents they were born of, cribbing that ’my dad is poor, a bore and uneducated etc.’ Maybe, but any father in his sane mind, unless he’s a little weird, will sell his pants to see his son equals his betters, if not better his equals. A son who nurses a nagging penchant to run down his dad, will have to swallow his words in full bitterness when he becomes a dad himself. The undisclosed love a father has on his child, itself, is a piece of God’s love on mankind.
7. MY OWN EARTHLY FATHER: My dad was unlettered. He was Class II passed. But he sent me to one of the best schools in my time. When we were having class, my dad would stand near the classroom window and watch me learn. My class-mates made fun of me. I wished the earth would crack up and swallow me. But now that I am a father myself, recollecting how much my dad cared for my studies, I’m not far from tears in my forlorn yearning to have a retake of the ‘classic’ scene. It makes me fully endorse Proverbs 10:1, “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.”
8. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL IN PARENTAL BREAST: A foolish son does not value the toil and sweat of his parents in having worked hard that the inheritor of their legacy may live more comfortably. Some children lay stronger stress on ‘entitlement’ than ‘improvement,’ and soft-pedal responsibilities. Parental hope is shattered to smithereens when there’s jealousy and rivalry among siblings they love dearly and equally. When our children turn taciturn and disobedient, we parents must turn to God and correct ourselves wherever we grieve our Heavenly Father.
9. TAKE PRIDE IN HUMBLE PARENTAL ACHIEVEMENTS: If parents are honoured, their wise counsel on children’s well-being and future life should be given due weightage and adherence. Parental happiness lies in the humble attitude of satisfaction that ‘my parents did so much for me; now it’s my turn to do much more for my family.’ Machiavelli made a revelation when he said, “Those who cannot take pride in the humble achievements of their ancestors will not achieve anything to be remembered with pride by unworthy descendants.” It's a point to be noted by all descendants.
10. WISH OF ZEBEDEE’S WIFE: A son can either take the name of his parents to a police station for crime committed or to a public service commission records for success achieved in competitive exams. The former is a cause for parental early grave but the latter will add years to his old man. But that’s no real joy. Worthy of commend is the highest ambition Zebedee’s wife had for her sons and asked Jesus for in Matthew 20:21, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in Your kingdom.”
11. MOM’S WISH FULFILLED: The sons, James and John, followed Jesus till they breathed last. James who was martyred first (Acts 12:2) would have sat on the Lord’s right, and John who died last among the disciples, at His left in a heavenly semi-circle sitting arrangement. The mother’s tall wish was fulfilled. That’s the stuff that should bring greatest joy to parents.A father desires his children to do well for themselves in life. But, if wishes cannot be horses, he cries his throat hoarse that they accept Jesus as the Lord, so that their ultimate lot may be in heaven.
12. THE GREATEST FATHER: All said and done, I think, next to our Heavenly Father, Abraham was the greatest father on earth. While Prophet Eli was myopic to the misdeeds of his sons in the temple, that brought curse and doom to his family, Abraham obeyed God to the preparedness to sacrifice his son, Issac on the altar as burnt offering (Gen 22:9) when Jehovah commanded. It’s not for nothing that God declared in 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained.” When Abraham gave up all hopes to have a son, God gave him a promise. Issac was born when he attained 99 years of age.
13. GOD’S PROMISES LAST FOR EVER: Eli failed as a father. Abraham honoured God in every step. He earned the title of “the man who walked with God.” God trusted him that he would take good care of his family (Genesis 18:19). God blessed Abraham more than any man. The promise God gave to Abraham in a vision in Genesis 15:1 has been reaped by his descendants throughout the ages: “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield and exceeding great reward.” Abraham’s descendants like Moses, David, and Solomon received the wisdom to lead and shield God’s chosen people. The world has been and is being blessed through the greatest descendant, Lord.