I’m a father of two boys, but I still feel like a kid. The only way I know I’m not is because I’ve got bills and I have to go to work to pay for them. I know that the legal age for adulthood is 18. But for me, when my boys stop bringing bills home for me to pay and start paying for them themselves, I’ll call them men…
Traditionally fathers were the providers and protectors of the family. Now I’m not trying to make a statement of how you should live. I know today many mothers bring in the main income and many don’t have a father in the household. But, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was ultimately the father’s responsibility to provide and protect the family. The father was a symbol of security, safety, reliability, strength, and discipline. Now this in no way downplays the roles of mothers… where would we be without our mums? … Hi Mum!! Now I know there are some people who may read this and say, “That hasn’t been my experience.” It’s ok. I’ll get to that, but stay with me here.
There were many things astonishing about Jesus’ life on earth, but I truly believe the most amazing thing was what He taught us God was like. The disciples were dumbfounded that Jesus would dare to refer to God as His father. And what’s more, He introduced them as sons as well! Pray like this, He said, “Our Father, in heaven…” Now remember traditionally what a father represented. In that culture, at that time, it was all that and more. It represented identity, an inheritance, a place in society, help when needed. You can see why, when Jesus’ listeners heard Him call God His Father, they listened closely – and why they sat up when He called them sons and daughters of God. Imagine if you could really go to God for all that a father was meant to be, even if you weren’t a child. Even when you are meant to have it together, but don’t.
Jesus could have introduced God as King or Master and He wouldn’t have been wrong. But the overriding analogy of God’s relationship with humanity in Jesus’ message was one of a good father to his children gathered into one family. Jesus took our abstract understanding of God and made it personal by using a relationship that has impacted us more than we can imagine.
I don’t know if Father’s Day is a time of celebration or pain for you. But at the risk of being corny, I want you to know there’s a Father and a family to whom you belong.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121 :1-2
Kim Anthony is the Pastor of Life&Legacy Church in Hillcrest – lifeandlegacy.church