On Fathers and Gifts
ON FATHERS AND GIFTS
Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / June 21, 2015
Have you noticed that Father’s Day is a bit more laid back than Mother’s Day.
Perhaps one child encapsulated the difference when he or she said,
“Father’s Day is just like mother’s day, only you don’t spend as much on the present.”
When I think back over the years of some of the gifts I had given my dad on father’s day, nothing really stands out.
I think I gave him a wall clock once. He had built a small chalet in the back yard, overlooking a little pond.
It was actually pretty cool. He built it out of mostly scrap materials - - and he seemed delighted with the overall price tag.
It had windows on both sides (that had been discarded by others) and even had a fireplace that someone had given him.
Anyway, I remember giving him a few things for the cabin - - it was his home away from home.
I gave him some neat calendars - - wildlife … covered-bridges ... etc.
I once gave him a really beautiful book of Ashtabula County photography authored by a noted Conneaut physician.
I gave him a wall clock of bird’s chirping - - each hour a different bird sings.
After my parents passed away, I re-claimed some of my gifts.
That clock hangs in my study. It hangs on the side of a wooden file cabinet and is a bit hidden behind a potted plant.
A while back we were meeting with the elders and a bird began chirping. The elders all looked at each other funny.
What’s one of your most memorable father’s day gifts?
(Seek feedback from dads and from children who gave the gifts).
I want to speak this morning about fathers and gifts.
However, my aim is not so much on what you dads have received as on what you have given.
Gale Wheeler often forwards books and magazines to Jeannie & me and Mark and others from the Kingsville library.
In the current issue (June 2015) of the magazine, Real Simple, there’s a monthly feedback section.
“Your Words” - - What is the greatest gift your father ever gave you?
T.B. Campbell/San Diego: “he read aloud to me all the way through high school, creating voices for each character.”
Alison Gorman/Portland: “my dad began compiling little bits of wisdom”,
Things like, bend at the knees and save your back … and don’t eat powdered donuts in dress clothes.
Lisa Weber/Kansas: “his complete and utter devotion to my mom” (she was stricken with Alzheimer’s).
Quyen Ly/Brooklyn: “he first real hug”. Asian men aren’t raised to show their emotional side.
Kim Biehl/Tampa: “My laugh” - - it’s loud and hardy, just like his, which used to embarrass me.
Teresa Fallin/Alabama: “My husband” - - her dad actually set her up on a blind date with one of his employees.
Ellen Klesta/Illinois: “he chose me as his date to a Stanley Cup playoff game.”
So, I want to speak this morning about some SIMPLE GIFTS that you fathers can give you children.
Since you are men, I figure that you should be able to handle a challenge on father’s day.
This sermon is not just mushy applause for what you’ve done thus far, but a call to excel as a spiritual leader in your home.
So dads, “gird up your loins”!
THE GIFT OF PARTICIPATION
We live in an age when the number of “absentee fathers” is skyrocketing.
It’s not just a problem that strikes the inner cities of our nation, it has also impacted life in the “burbs”.
Jeannie works in a rural school district that in days past was pretty much idyllic: every child with a mom and a dad.
But divorce had taken a toll and she’s currently treating a growing number of kids living in single-parent households.
Having parents who are stand together hand in hand through thick and thin is a wonderful gift for any child.
But God calls us to do more than just survive - - our homes need to thrive.
And in order for your homes to truly prosper and flourish, you dads will need to really participate.
Your children need your participation in their curricular activities - - their school studies and educational pursuits.
Your children also need your participation in their extra-curricular activities - - their fun & games & hobbies & amusements.
But these alone are not enough to develop a well-rounded child who loves God and Christ and the church.
If we are to raise children who grow up to be like Jesus, they will need to spiritual growth and maturation.
David begins the 122nd Psalm by writing, “I was GLAD when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’.
Other than a couple of rare occasions when my father was out of town for a
work-related assignment (seminar), my father was ALWAYS IN WORSHIP WITH US.
What a gift!! To have your children look back on their childhood and be able to say, “Dad was always in church with us.”
The apostle Paul charges fathers to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.6:4b).
What’s really interesting about this verse is when it is read in its entirety.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
In a parallel passage in Col.3:21, Paul writes, Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that nothing exasperates a child more than to say one thing and do another.
Children seem to have a real knack for detecting impostors.
If you want to really damage your child’s spirit, tell him or her to seek God, but don’t be serious about it yourself.
Such duplicity will not only EXASPERATE them, it will work to EXPLODE and EXTINGUISH their faith.
THE GIFT OF SONG
I don’t mean by this that you have to be a song-writer like Moses or King David or King Solomon.
In Deut.31:19f, God tells Moses,
write this song for yourselve,s and teach it to the sons of Israel; Put it on their lips, in order that it may be a witness for Me…
So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the sons of Israel.
2Sam.23:1 refers to David as, “the sweet psalmist of Israel”.
In Ps.32:7 David states, “YOU have surrounded me with songs of deliverance.”
1Kgs.4:32 states that Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs.
Being a good spiritual father does not require that you be a song-writer. Neither does it require that you be a song-leader.
I’ve told you about my father’s singing in the past. He didn’t really know music very well.
He was not a gifted singer in any way, but he nevertheless gifted us children by his singing.
His simple act of SINGING IN WORSHIP TO GOD has left me and my siblings with a rich legacy.
I want to urge you dads to SING.
Just the act of singing (not song-writing, not song-leading – just singing) will etch a blessing in the hearts of your children.
And, if Sunday after Sunday after Sunday they see and hear you singing to the Lord,
such a simple gift will be embossed upon their hearts & minds that nothing will be able to rob them of that blessing.
THE GIFT OF PRAYER
This may be a case of saving the hardest for last.
Many of our men are intimidated by public prayer.
Not just leading a prayer in a worship assembly; Not even just praying in a small L.I.F.E. group setting;
Many are frighten and flummoxed by the idea of praying out loud at all - - even at home.
I don’t know exactly why this is so.
Perhaps, they themselves were never given a role model by a father who prayed out loud.
It’s true that prayer is often a very private and personal matter.
But it is also true that group prayer is also important and quite Biblical.
The title of last Sunday’s sermon was, “Joined Together In Prayer”, right out of the text of Acts 2:42.
President Lincoln is noted for having said,
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
What about Abraham Lincoln’s father’s prayers?
If you google, “Thomas Lincoln” his wikopedia biographical sketch begins this way:
“Thomas Lincoln (1778-1851) was an American farmer, carpenter and father of President Abraham Lincoln.
Although Thomas descended from colonial Puritans and Quakers, he was a staunch member of the church of Christ.
Unlike some of his ancestors, Thomas could not write, but he was a well-respected
community leader and church member, known for his honesty.”
I am glad that Lincoln cherished his mother’s prayer (or mothers’ prayers).
His birth mother mother, Mary Hanks Lincoln died when he was nine years old.
His step-mother, Sarah Bush Lincoln married his father a year later.
But I suspect quite strongly that Abraham Lincoln was also blessed by remembering the prayers of his FATHER.
I do not me to chide or deride you dads, but rather to challenge and stretch you dads.
Give your children this simple but priceless gift - - LET THEM HEAR YOU PRAY.
It need not be polished or profound, but it ought to be pure and heart-felt.
The apostle Paul tells Timothy (1Tim.2:8), “I want the men in every place to pray”.
Our Heavenly Father,
We come before Your throne today, seeking Your blessings on our earthly fathers.
We thank You for them.
We pray for them, that you would help them to grow in godliness.
In particular, we pray for them that they might grow in their desire to participate in spiritual endeavors.
Bless them that they might bless us by speaking to us in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
And last, but not least, may You grant our fathers the courage and wisdom to become men of prayer.
Through Christ we pray, Amen.