This weekend Christians will gather in church’s across the globe and worship Jesus like we did last Sunday and like we will do the Sunday after that. Only this Sunday holds a special honour; Father’s Day. It’s a lovely, government mandated day set apart for the purpose of honoring the Father’s in our lives. And it’s a wonderful thing.
I mostly have the day planned for my husband and look forward to spoiling and celebrating him.
But something I find most churches do on this particular day of the year is beef up the morning with “manly” fodder in order to appeal to the fathers in their midst. What I mean by this is many churches will bring motorcycles on stage or have a BBQ with steak and bacon cooking out back. And there tends to be more grunting from the stage…you know to speak the male language.
It’s a classic case of the church pandering to the cultural view of manhood in an effort to stay relevant. In the world around us what makes a man a man is eating bacon, loving cars, watching football and making caveman sounds.
However these stereotypes do not represent all the men in our congregations. And when these “manly” qualities become highlights to the sermon or service, it leaves out the many men among us who may be vegetarians and love reading, art and live-theater.
Increasingly it is becoming more important for the church to be clear on what the Bible teaches on true femininity and masculinity. In a tirelessly gender-confused world, the church must be a shining light of clarity; defining them not by society-made norms. God’s Word never changes…but culture does.
"In a tirelessly gender-confused world, the church must be a shining light of clarity"
But even this is not my main point. All these attributes may describe your husband or father, but none of them are important qualities of Biblical manhood and fatherhood.
So if these traits are not manhood qualifiers, what are?
A good father loves, leads and serves his family (Ephesians 5:23). He leads by laying down his own life daily for the good of those around him. This makes him a self-sacrificing example to everyone in his family. So the big game will be laid aside by a good man when he is required by his wife and he will give up reading that book to tend to his children’s needs. I Godly man does not rage at the things he doesn’t get for himself, but gladly gives to others.
"A good father loves, leads and serves his family (Ephesians 5:23)"
Men of God are humble, kind and hungry for justice (Micah 6:8). They are providers and protectors and care-takers.
But maybe most importantly, they love the Lord with such unfettered affection that they will speak about him to anyone who wants to hear. They are unashamed at the heart-strings attached to Christ. And they want nothing more than to pass it on to their children. Proverbs 4:10-15 says,
Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many.
I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.
Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
This is such a beautiful example of a father loving his children enough to pass on what is good and wise about life.
And these are the things to encourage and celebrate this Sunday. So please, here is my plea…resist the impulse to indulge cultural “manly” norms, and honor what truly matters in a man.
Loving Jesus above all else.
Jessica Ross is married to Chris (our Children & Family Pastor), and they have two children. This post originally appeared on her blog, hisgracemygrowth: my thoughts and realizations about life as a Christian wife and mother.