Since today is Father’s Day, I would imagine a number of sermons will be preached telling fathers how the Bible wants them to be. I guess that’s OK, except finding a father in the Bible to use as an example isn’t that easy. In fact, finding a family in the Bible to use as an example as a Godly home is just as hard. Of course, the Bible is not primarily about home life.
The idea of the Bible telling us how to have happy moms and dads and kids is interesting, because it seems anyone who is religious claims to know just what the answers are. I’m not saying the Bible doesn’t give sound, spiritual advice on how to live and get along with each other. I’m saying it is next to impossible, or impossible, to find a family unit in the Bible with all the right stuff.
In West Virginia I knew a preacher who preached about how mothers should dress in modest apparel (his view, of course) for his Mother’s Day sermon. A young lady I met in WVA told me her father felt the same way, only not just on Mother’s Day. He refused to let this nineteen year old daughter cut her hair or wear any kind of makeup. His right? Yes, but she sure did it up when she left home, and religion. The Bible talks about being a holy people, we’re just not sure where those families are.
Maybe Job is the only father in the Bible who doesn’t have a bunch of black marks on his permanent record. But I doubt you would hear any sermons on Job this morning. If there is another, make a mental list of fathers and families as they develop in scripture.
Adam? One son kills the other. Noah may not be too bad, if you overlook his drunkenness after getting out of the Ark; and maybe cursing his son, Ham, for whatever it was he did when he saw him. Of course, maybe we’d all get a little drunk after being cooped up for forty days and nights with all those animals and the kids constantly asking, “Are we there yet?!”
Abraham would surely come to mind, with his faith and all. But then he gives his wife away twice to save his own skin. Later, when impatience sets in for an heir, with his wife’s permission, (he should have been smarter than to believe that would work!) he fathers a child by Sara’s servant, Hagar. Then He lets Sara tell him to toss them out to fend for themselves, or die trying. Of course, as the story goes, God told Abraham to send Hagar and her son, Ishmael away, and that God would make him also a great nation. However, Hagar isn’t in on that until later. And we might excuse it because it was way back then, which is my point. So how are we going to find the right example when all that stuff wouldn’t be allowed today as it was then?
Look at Moses. What ever happened to his sons? They never figure in the history of Israel in any way, shape or form. The only time we see them is when they arrive with his mother to visit dad in the wilderness at the foot of “the mountain of God.” In Exodus 18:2 it says, “Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her away, and her two sons….” That’s the last we hear of her or them. However, in I Chron. 23 &26 the sons, Gershom and Eliezer are mentioned and are associated with the tribe of Levi. Did they go with Moses? Maybe, but Moses marries an Ethiopian woman. How’s that for family values?
Even in the New Testament we have the same problem. We know a little about the family in Jesus’ time and what was expected of a father, though it is not spelled out in the NT. We do not know when Jesus’ father, Joseph died. All we know is he is only mentioned in the early life of Jesus. Jesus mother will, at one point, conclude he has lost his mind about being the Messiah. (Mark 3:21) What was a family like which had the right stuff for a sermon in Jesus’ day? We don’t know. Peter seems to leave his wife and mother-in law to follow Jesus. Good? Or bad? In that time, probably OK. Today? Questionable, unless it’s military service. Even then, we don’t know what the family was like.
We might think of the story of the Prodigal son, and if there are sermons on being a good father on Father’s Day, that one would likely be used. However, that one won’t work. The story of the Prodigal is about the nature of God, as Father, not fathers like the rest of us. I don’t mean a good father is not forgiving or offers second chances. I mean that Jesus is describing God, and no father is like God. Godly, yes, but not perfect in love as is God., especially in this story, that in context, was about who Jesus was hanging out with.
If any of us had a son who had done what the prodigal had done, we would expect, as well as “repentance” (a change of direction) a real change in direction. What are the child’s plans and how can we help with them. We want a change of heart. Human fathers have a right to see that a change of life has happened. But only God has the right stuff.
That does not mean that as parents we do not love and support our children as they grow and mature, even with their failings. That’s what parents are to do. But the story of the prodigal is not about a prodigal child, it is about the amazing love of God.
There may be no perfect father in the Bible, however, there are things said that can guide fathers. We can see the life of Jesus and his moral and ethical teaching. We can do our best, “best” is the key word, to live out our lives with honesty and integrity.
That’s a sermon for everyone who follows Jesus.
If a grown child is asked about a childhood memory that best described their parents, you will hear a defining word about their parents. Of course, many fathers and mothers also grow and repent (change) as they age. When the children become parents they will understand how important that is.
CONCERNS: Judy McWhorter is able to be at worship but is still recovering from knee surgery. Teryn Gaynor’s mother’s tumor has enlarged and is being treated. Also: Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers. Mark McRoy is asking for prays for Paul Estette who has a rare form of cancer. Gary Overstreet, Bill Albert, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson. Melanie Gentry. Wayne Phlegar. Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
ROANOKE CHURCH F CHRIST
2606 Brandon Ave SW
Roanoke, Va 24015\
Steering CommitteeDel Bolin Wayne Flora
Mike Branch Susan Jordan
Martha Foy Judy McWhorter
Bible Study: 9:30 AM
Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM
Wednesday Evening: 7:00
FATHER’S DAY Happy Father’s Day to all of our Father’s. Father’s day celebrates the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children’s lives.
SUPER SUNDAY Today (June 16th) is Super Sunday.
It is also Father’s Day. Where could Dad get a better meal than right here. The Fellowship meal will be in the annex following the service. Visitors are considered our honored quests. Please plan to stay.
The Sunday morning class is now in the book of Galatians. Come and join in.
Our thanks to everyone that came out to help on June 1st for the Church Work Day.
NOTICE During the hot weather the dead limbs on the tree near the main entrance to the parking lot dry out and fall off. You can see some residue from recent limbs. Be careful when parking there especially on windy days.
Please come join us on Wednesday for our weekly supper and bible study. Feeds your body and soul at 6:00 pm. We’re studying The Corinthian letters. There’s always room for you.
This is the time of year when our folks are traveling. If you are going to be away let the office know. Please keep our church members that our traveling in you prayers.