Fathers, The Glory of Children

Prov. 17:6

Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father. (NKJ)

This message was preached June 16, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com  

Mark Twainsaid, "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." Mark Twain (1835-1910) -Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). 3928.

To really know a father, observe his behavior with a lady, a flat tire, and a child. -- Vern McLellan, The Complete Book of Practical Proverbs and Wacky Wit (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996).

  1. What is he speaking of
    1. The word means beauty
    2. It is used of God in several passages in the OT
    3. The instilling in them self worth
    4. For them to be proud
    5. To give them a clear sense of real value
      1. Not in physical beauty
      2. Not in wealth
      3. Not in natural ability
        1. Several years ago, John McKay the great football coach at the University of Southern California was interviewed on television and the subject of his son's athletic talent was raised. John junior was a successful player on his dad's team. Coach McKay was asked to comment on the pride he must feel over his son's accomplishments in the field. His answer was most impressive: "Yes, I'm pleased that John had a good season last year. He does a fine job and I am proud of him. But I would be just as proud if he had never played the game at all."
      4. But in character
      5. Character the one thing that you cannot loose
      6. All else can be lost or taken away
  2. What a grand position
    1. A position assigned by God
      1. God meant for every child to have a mother & father
      2. No one can replace you
      3. A team of researchers wanted to learn how much time middle- class fathers spend playing and interacting with their small children. First, they asked a group of fathers to estimate the time spent with their one-year-old youngsters each day, and received an average reply of fifteen to twenty minutes. To verify these claims, the investigators attached microphones to the shirts of small children for the purpose of recording actual parental verbalization. The results of this study are shocking: The average amount of time spent by these middle-class fathers with their small children was thirty-seven seconds per day! Their direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting ten to fifteen seconds each! That, so it seems, represents the contribution of fatherhood for millions of America's children. (Dr. James Dobson)
      4. Not the school teacher
      5. Not the coach
    2. A coveted position
      1. Many fathers never have the opportunity
      2. Many children long for the relationship
        1. A Quaker family lived in Pennsylvania. Against the father's wishes, the son Jonathan ran off and enlisted in the cause of the North during the Civil War. Time passed and no word from Jonathan. One night the father had a dream that his son had been wounded in action, was in distress, and needed the care of a father.

So the father left the farm, and discovered where the troops might be. He made his way by horse-drawn buggy until he came to the scene of action. He inquired until he found the commander and asked about his son. The commander replied that there had been heavy action earlier in the day and many had fallen wounded. Some had been cared for, but others were still left out in the trenches. But he gave permission to the father to go and try to find his son. He told him where the action had taken place.

It was now about dark, so the father lit a lantern, and the light fell across wounded young men, some calling for help, many too seriously wounded to cry for assistance.

The task seem impossible. How could he find his son among all those wounded and dying? He devised a little plan, methodically he would comb the scene of action with his lantern. But that wasn't fruitful. As he stumbled over body after body he almost despaired.

Then he began calling loudly, "Jonathan Smythe, thy father seeketh after thee." Then he would walk a little ways and call again, 'Jonathan Smythe, thy father seeketh after thee."

  1. The drug dealer would
  2. The child molester would
  3. The people in Hollywood don't mind if your kids know about the movies than they do about you.
  4. The video game makers don't mind if you buy your child another game instead of spending time with them.
  1. A position of heritage
    1. We get the unique opportunity of passing it on to the next generation
    2. We can pass on what we did not receive
  1. What a great responsibility
    1. Greater than the pursuit of any career
    2. Greater than the pursuit of pleasure - sports-fishing-
      1. I read of a man you gave up golf so that he could have a relationship with his son.
      2. One of the best memories I have is my dad taking Howard fishing and watching them catch a fish together.
  2. How to best fulfill this position
    1. Love and respect their mother
    2. Treat them with respect
    3. Remember they are children, not adults, that time will come all too soon.
      1. There is a story about a father who became disturbed about the length of time his six year old son was taking to get home from school. The father decided he would make the trip to discover for himself how long it should take a small boy to cover the distance. The father settled on 20 minutes but his son was still taking an hour. Finally the father decided to make the trip with his son. After the trip, the man said, "The 20 minutes I thought reasonable was right, but I failed to consider such important things as a sidetrip to track down a trail of ants...or an educational stop to watch a man fix a flat...or the time it took to swing around a half dozen telephone poles...or how much time it took for a boy just to get acquainted with two stray dogs and a brown cat. "In short," said the father, "I had forgotten what it is really like to be six years old."
    4. Fulfill your mission as father
      1. If you have doubts, read a book, there are dozens.
      2. Remember, for a father to have a child is not a difficult task, but for a child to have a real father will take some work.
      3. Live the Christian life because they will learn by example better than by lecture.
      4. A father once took his little boy on his lap and described what a Christian was. When he was through, the little boy asked a question that pierced his father's heart: "Daddy, have I ever seen one?" -Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 3912.
      5. Make sure that they know that you know God.
      6. Gospel musician Hilding Halverson told of overhearing a conversation between his son and two other little boys. The youngsters were bragging about their dads. One boy said proudly, "My dad knows the mayor of our town!" Another said, "So, my dad knows the governor of our state!" Halverson's son then came up with this touching comment, "That's nothing - my dad knows God!" Upon hearing this, Halverson quickly slipped away to his room and with tears in his eyes said, "O God, I pray that my boy will always be able to say, `My dad knows God.'" He knew he had been paid the supreme tribute.
    5. Listen to them
      1. A young successful attorney said: "The greatest gift I ever received was a gift I got one Christmas when my dad gave me a small box. Inside was a note saying, 'Son, this year I will give you 365 hours, an hour every day after dinner. It's yours. We'll talk about what you want to talk about, we'll go where you want to go, play what you want to play. It will be your hour!'" "My dad not only kept his promise," he said, "but every year he renewed it - and it's the greatest gift I ever had in my life. I am the result of his time." (Moody Monthly)
    6. Say you're sorry, admit your mistakes.
    7. Value them, their opinions
      1. You will teach them how to treat others by the way that you treat them.
      2. They will have the idea that their family should be like the one they were raised in.

Some men give themselves to their work for the satisfaction that they find there.

Some men give themselves to their gardens for the beauty they can display.

Some men give themselves to the pleasures of this world, to enjoy the life they have.

Some men build great buildings that cause everyone to marvel.

But some men, few men will invest their lives in their children that will become a pleasure to them in later years and a blessing to the next generation.

When West German industrialist Friedrich Flick died, he left a personal fortune estimated at 1.5 billion dollars, a business empire that embraced all or part of some 300 firms and a reputation as perhaps the crustiest, craftiest magnate ever to operate on the German business scene. Flick was dedicated wholly to his work (he buried his wife at 3 p.m. one day in 1966 and was back at his desk two hours later). At his death, the Flick empire generated annual sales in excess of $3 billion. But for all his enormous power and wealth, the old man had one very human shortcoming: he could not control his family. By last week a Flick family fight over der alter Herr's empire had employees, bankers and politicians alike shuddering over the eventual impact it might have on the West Germany economy. As one observer put it: "Flick hit home runs at the office, but he struck out at home!" (Newsweek, Sept. 25, 1972)

Would you abandon your children for a billion dollars then you would abandon them for a lot less.