Honor your Father

“The simplest definition of a Christian is someone who has come to know the Father.”

                                             James I. Packer, theologian

Gone are the days when we can enjoy clean air and potable water direct from the faucets.  The “fish kill” scare and the smoke belching buses are evidences that our waters and air are polluted and our environment is in a state of decay. 

I still remember when my father and I can spend some time together on the roof of our house to find some comfort from hot summer nights (we don’t have air conditioning unit then).  We watch the stars and identify together the constellations on a clear night sky while lying comfortably on a mat, enjoying the evening’s gentle breeze. “Study well and complete your studies, son.  We have nothing to bequest to you other than providing for you and your siblings a decent education.”  I took this advice to heart and saw to it that I complete my studies and get a college degree.

My parents kept their promise and really worked hard to send me to school and my six siblings.  When I got a job, I had to support some of my siblings so they can also complete their studies.  All seven of us got the degree we pursued.  I am grateful to my father (and our mother who supported him) for this legacy (providing us a decent education) and I honor him and all the fathers in the world.  All over the world people celebrate this special day every June as Father’s Day.  Isn’t it more appropriate to celebrate and honor our father and most especially, our Father in Heaven everyday rather than only on a day in June every year?  Isn’t this how the Lord Jesus taught us how to pray?

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘ Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’   (Matthew 6: 9 – 10)

I remember talking about the topic of honoring fathers on a Sunday service to a small Christian community.  I opened my talk with a question, “what day are we celebrating today?” and in unison they answered, “Father’s Day!”  I reminded them then that we were also celebrating on that day the 150th birthday of our national hero, Jose Rizal. But even this sesquicentennial and milestone event in our history should not overshadow the honor we give the fathers, and most of all our Father in heaven, not only today but everyday! 

Why should we honor our father (and mother too)?  Because it is not just a good idea, it is a commandment.   And as the Jews were commanded then to “honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20: 12), we must also honor our parents.  This is more necessary now that we live in a post-modern world when we have more choices and distractions that can draw us away from spending time with our family.  This commandment meant that for the Jews to live in peace for generations in the land promised to them by God they must respect authority and build strong families.

But what does it mean for us to honor our parents?  We can honor them by speaking well of and being polite to them.   We show them honor by respecting and obeying them, following their teachings and example of putting God first.  Parents, especially fathers, have a special place in God’s sight.  Even those of us who find it difficult to get along with our parents will be blessed when we honor them.

I always believed that fathers represent God in their homes.  The children learn and begin to know God as their Father in heaven through the example and role modeling of their father.  I remember a story of a Sunday school class teacher who asked the students, “How many gospels do you know and can you enumerate them?”  One of the students answered, “Five, and they are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and my father’s”.  His father must have really been living the good news.

Not a few poems were published as Father’s Day celebration drew near.  As one of the fathers richly blessed by our Father in heaven with a loving earthly father and the honor and respect of my children I thought it wise to share with you these two poems. 

The first was anonymously written while the second was especially written.

What Makes a Dad?

God took the strength of a mountain,

The majesty of a tree,

The warmth of a summer sun,

The calmness of the a quiet sea,

The generous soul of a nature,

The comforting arm of night,

The wisdom of the ages,

The power of the eagle’s flight

The joy of the morning in spring,

The faith of a mustard seed,

The patience of eternity,

The depth of family need,

Then God combined these qualities,

When there was nothing more to add,

He knew His masterpiece was complete,

And so, He called it…Dad

Here is the second poem,

A father’s love is…

…waking up early to drop his daughter off to school

…not driving off until he’s waved good-bye

…staying up late to pick up his kids from social gatherings

…firing up the vacuum cleaner to keep the house clean

…finding the time to crack jokes and make his family laugh

…working really hard to provide for his family’s needs

…giving up his comfort for the comfort of his family

…passing on helpful knowledge to his children

…living out the wisdom he teaches his children

…teaching his children to be like Jesus

…being just like Jesus

This poem was especially written because my youngest daughter gave it to me as a Christmas present with the following sweet and thank you note:

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for loving me just as our Heavenly Father loves us.  You have been and will always be a BIG influence in my life.

Thank you for letting me feel A Father’s Love.

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