When my youngest daughter was around 2 years old, one of her favorite games was sometimes to pretend she’d seen a “monster” and run over so I or her mom could protect her. Actually she did this from time to time with her big brother and sister too, which was quite funny. She wasn’t really scared, she had a half-smile on her face the whole time. It was a big game to her. Needless to say we all loved playing along. I loved to see her run to her big brother (who was 6) for protection from imaginary monsters. I seize every opportunity to teach him that God has given him a baby sister to love and protect. I believe that God has given each of us the other to love and protect, but I especially love the chance to train my son in this way.
I believe that God gives us strength and influence for two primary purposes. One is so that we can spread the Good News of God’s great Gospel. The second is so that we can demonstrate God’s character and the spirit of His Gospel to the world by rescuing those who cannot rescue themselves.
So when I teach my son that he has a responsibility to see the world through the eyes of a compassionate protector, I am teaching him to see the world through the eyes of God. These are the principles that will guide him as he learns to be a man, to be a son, a friend, husband, and father.
When a man leads the church with compassionate protection, he models Christ as the Head of the church, and presents the world with a right view of Jesus’ authority and the Gospel.
When a husband sacrificially leads his wife by being a compassionate protector, he loves her as Christ loves the church, and he models the Gospel faithfully.
When a man leads his family as a compassionate protector, he models the Gospel faithfully to a world that longs for compassion and protection.
When a man lives a missional lifestyle by compassionately protecting and rescuing those who are weak or poor, he lives out the Gospel for the world to see. This is what we mean by encouraging people not simply to go to church, but to BE the church.
These are the biblical values and principles that I pray characterize my life. These are the biblical values and principles that I want to shape my son’s character. Of course I want my girls to be leaders, to be compassionate, and use their strength and influence to share the gospel and minister to the weak. They too have unique opportunities to reveal God’s love in ways that are strong and bold. But on Father’s Day weekend I am thinking particularly of my own life, the path before my son, and the opportunity we have as men to be faithful.
This morning as my little girl ran playfully into my arms I was overwhelmed with gratitude to God that He has revealed Himself to us as Father. Any good impulse I have as a dad is a shadow and reminder of what God offers each of us. Unconditional love, protection, His presence, belonging, joy, providing for our needs and wants, etc. Even my own shortcomings are a reminder that God has provided something for my children that I could not…a Heavenly Father who would never let them down or disappoint them.
Happy Fathers Day.