Written by my own father, Rick Varnum
More about the author at the end
When I sit down to write a Father’s Day sermon, I’m torn between either preaching to the sons and daughters and how they should honor their father, or preaching directly to dads. When I was younger, it was much easier to preach to the children than to fathers simply because I felt I didn’t have a vast amount of experience as a dad. I was sure the older men would look at me and smirk, knowing that one day I’d see things differently.
But now that I’m old and have raised (yes, I know the word is “reared,” but nobody uses that word so get over it) my share of children, I look back and realize that I should have preached more to dads. The Biblical message to dads is pretty clear cut, and I don’t need a lot of space. God commands us to be good dads, and though I do see quite a few good dads out there, I’m saddened by how many men stink at Fatherhood.
Let’s be honest. This is a short piece about how to be a good dad, and we all know what we would like to see in a man who has that title. Here, let’s list a few:
We’d all like to see dads spend more time with their children, live moral lives, be good providers, be good role models, and be more responsible. I’m not going to harp on these because these are the easy ones. If a father can’t do the things that come naturally even to an unsaved man, how is he going to do the difficult stuff?
When my first child was born, no one had to tell me to be more responsible. As a matter of fact, a huge sense of Fatherhood came over me when I saw that mean old nurse trying to brush my newborn daughter’s hair, making my little girl cry.
At that moment I realized two things: 1) I was a Father, responsible for that little baby, and 2) that nurse unknowingly brushed elbows with death.
Most dads, whether a Christian or not, would, without hesitation, run into a burning house to rescue one of his children. Most of us would gladly give our lives to help a son or a daughter. I guess what I’m saying is, these natural manifestations of Fatherhood don’t really define us as a good dad.
So, what makes a good dad? Here it is: A good dad is a godly dad.
That’s basically it.
It’s a choice that needs to be made. It’s neither a natural phenomena, nor is it an inherited disposition. When you look closely at a man, and see him for who he is, you realize that the things that define him are really about the choices he has made, and, more importantly, the choices he is making right now. Is he gracious? Is he a slob? Is he kind? Is he thankless? Is he a good father?
When I’m dead and everyone’s sitting around talking about me, what is it that I want them to say about me? What do you want others to say about you? Whatever they talk about, unless it’s about how bald you were, it will probably be about your choices in life.
I want to be a godly dad. That means I have to make the choice to take God’s Word and to saturate my children in it.
Do we take the Bible and read it to our kids? (I know, a kid is baby goat, but look, you’re really getting on my nerves) Do we live it before them? Do our children (happy now?) see us make godly choices based on the Word of God?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Dads, we are called to make the right choice. We are called by God Himself to take the Word of God and to represent it to our children. We are to see that they know it and they are to see that we live it.
So far, you may have failed in this. You may very well be a bad dad. This can change. Repent and make the choice to live life such that when you’re dead and everyone is talking about you, they’ll say, “He was a man of God. He was a good dad.”
Rick Varnum, a father to 9 daughters ranging in age from 6 to 25 years old, now lives in Montana as Pastor of Wibaux Bible Church. He successfully taught us the importance of working hard, keeping oil in our cars, a neatly mowed lawn, and fishing with weights instead of bobbers.
He is the example of a godly dad. He never lets us make mistakes without first giving us fair warning. He is giving, he is kind, he is humble. He always provided everything we ever needed, worked hard and never let us quit.
He is a man of God, and most certainly, a good dad.