This is retitled and republished from June 2006 because I had few readers then and consider it one of my most helpful early entries for Dads and Fathers. I also included links to the publications I mentioned back then.
Given the cultural view that any combination of adults and kids makes a family, just how important are fathers anymore? The older I get, the more convinced I am that Fathers stand in a place of tremendous authority and responsibility. This authority is power to bless or to curse. We have a huge assignment from God. Our words, our actions create or destroy . . . And God will hold us accountable for the use or misuse of this high calling–Father.
I have come to believe from having Fathered young people who were not my birth children, that spiritual fathers have a similar role and impact upon lives. God has not given me birth children of my own. Yet, he has kept his promise to give me many spiritual children. Some I have led to Him. Some have come to me sent by Him. In every case, I have sought to be a blessing–to be protective, instructive and generous. I have felt His empowering and have known something of His longing for His own children.
I have also learned the secret of boys and girls. I recently read a little booklet,You Have What It Takes which we gave out to all the men in our congregation. It was written by the author of Wild at Heart, John Eldredge. I agree with Eldridge that the key questions our sons and daughters are asking are:
Do you resepct me? Am I powerful? Can I get the Job Done? Am I worthy to be held in honor?
Do you treasure me? Am I worth your time and care? Am I lovely? Am I valuable enough for you to protect and die for?
The wise Father/Dad recognizes these questions being asked in different actions and ways all the time. The wisest Fathers answer them when they hear or see the questions arising.
I believe that Fathers have the highest calling on the planet. I believe that Fathers are stand-ins for The FATHER–God. When your children, young or old, see you–they see the Father. You are the adverb pointing to the Verb. Whether we believe this or not does not make it any less true or valid. We fathers will be held accountable for how we stand in our authority. Jesus taught that we are not to use authority to “Lord it over” others. We use it to BLESS!! That is, we use it to build up, to provide, protect, and promote the welfare of our children, wives, and households. We use it to point them to God–the Father of their souls. We show them what He is like by our fathering.
QUESTION: How important do YOU think fathers are? What about “spiritual fathers”?