“The Vocation of Fathers”
The Vocation of Fathers
Every year, our country honors fathers on Father’s Day. Now it does not matter whether you are a father or not, what we will discuss today is very important and useful to all of us. The Fourth Commandment teaches us to honor our fathers, as well as our mothers. That applies to both young and old. Even if your father is no longer living, you can still honor what he taught you.
Today our world has lost the understanding of fatherhood. Some men push to have their unborn children aborted because they don’t want the responsibility of raising children. Some fathers leave the mothers to raise the children without them. Now, by in vitro fertilization, some dads don’t even know they have children! Some dads are workaholics and avoid their kids. Some dads are destructive to their families.
Fathers also have a spiritual role in their families, as the Bible, and the Large Catechism say fathers are to be spiritual leaders at home. But this, too, is under attack by the world. Our world thinks that manly men are not spiritual, and our world says a real man is not what Scripture teaches about fatherhood. It’s evident that the idea of biblical fatherhood today is under attack. So today, Our Lord Say We Should Hear What He Says about Fathers and Receive the Grace He Gives for Fathers to Do These Important Acts.
Research shows that when fathers actively lead their families to church, their kids are more than 90 percent likely to be active, faithful Christians as adults. But if fathers stay home from church, even if Mom goes, the children have only a fifty percent chance of staying Christian later in life. For whatever reason, the faith of children seems to be directly related to the spiritual guidance of their fathers. Now, there are exceptions, of course. But the research shows how important the father’s spiritual role is.
Many dads teach their kids how to work and support themselves in life. They teach them how to have fun, to fish, to drive, to play sports. This is all fine and good. I am trying to teach my boys how to play golf….with mixed success. Fathers should do these things. But how many dads are also spiritual leaders for their kids? How many dads speak to their children at home about Jesus? Teach them to pray in all circumstances? How many dads lead their families to church, instead of sending the wife and kids and staying home?
In today’s Gospel, Mk 4:35–41, our Lord Jesus does a miracle by turning off a mighty storm. That’s obvious. But Jesus does something else that isn’t so obvious. Jesus teaches the vocation of fatherhood, teaching by doing what a father should do. It’s like Jesus is the ultimate Father, a spiritual Father, and the apostles are His spiritual children.
The storm hit those folks in the boat. And we in Oklahoma know all about storms, right? The disciples were afraid. What was Jesus doing? He was sleeping, curled up, oblivious to what was going on. That doesn’t sound like a good example for fathers, does it? Sleeping on the job….It sounds common for fathers. As a dad I know the value of a good nap. But it looks like Jesus was looking after His own interests and not helping His frightened children. That’s not what fathers should do!
The apostles’ faith was shaken. The storm was scaring them. Like children sometimes do, the twelve got upset at Jesus, their spiritual father. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (v 38). Like some children, the apostles didn’t think their spiritual father, Jesus, was taking care of them.
Are you like this sometimes? When times of trouble come, do you doubt that Jesus is acting for your sake? Do you ever think that Jesus is clueless as to what’s happening to you? In times of trouble, do you get upset at Jesus and think His Word doesn’t really apply to you?
Of course, Jesus wasn’t forgetting about His children. Jesus was teaching them that when trouble comes, they, you, can keep trusting in God your loving Father, to fear, love, and trust in God above all things. He teaches the disciples that faith in God leads to a peaceful heart. The storm threatens, but Jesus’ heart is set on His Father, God, so He sleeps through it. And so, our Lord sets a powerful example for the apostles to trust in God, just as fathers also are called to do for their children.
The second way that Jesus teaches the role of fathers is by protecting the family. After Jesus woke up, He commanded the storm to be still in order to protect His apostles. “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (v 39). This also applies to human fathers. Jesus teaches human fathers to protect their families from outside dangers.
My children have a real fear of storms. Whenever it thunders, they ask me if we need to take shelter. I always tell them we have a deal, “If it is time to be worried, I will let you know.”
The words of human fathers do powerful things. A fathers’ words protect their families from outside dangers. They comfort and give good advice. But even more powerful are the divine words of Jesus. He speaks to protect you, for you belong to Him. The Gospel you hear protects you from every false and dangerous teaching that would hurt you.
Jesus is our Savior. He died and rose for us. With Him, we feel safe. When He promises to be with us, He takes away fear. And where He promises to be with us is particularly in the Means of Grace. By preaching, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, He comes to be with us and for us, and therefore, we are safe.
The third way Jesus teaches the role of fathers is by bringing peace. Again we read in the Gospel, “ ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Jesus brought peace to the storm and peace for the twelve.
Jesus teaches here that human fathers are to bring peace. Children simply feel safe just being with their dad. It makes sense. When our earthly fathers show us the same selfless love and compassion in their fatherly duties as Jesus does, it shouldn’t surprise us that we feel safer with them. Just think how many ways human fathers bring peace. Earthly fathers help resolve arguments. Earthly fathers help us figure out life’s problems. Fathers help raise us to live the right way, showing kindness and respect. Christian fathers also model what it means for their children to be sinners forgiven by Christ and faithful to Jesus.
Now think about that peace that Jesus brings to you by His forgiveness. It is God’s peace that passes all understanding. It is a powerful peace that faith alone knows, a peace won by Christ’s blood and sealed for immortality. Through faith in His Word, you have God’s peace. Jesus’ Word calms every troubled conscience, making it calmer than the sea was after He stilled the storm.
My brothers and sisters–trust in Jesus. The only reason He slept in the storm was to show you that faith in God brings peace, even in times of trouble. No matter if it’s a howling storm, a shaky economy, family problems, a guilty conscience, or an uncertain future—faith in your loving God brings peace. For Jesus Christ was crucified for your sins! His blood was shed for your forgiveness. He rose again! Through faith in Him, you are at peace before God. Here (communion) is your peace and comfort.
Let’s end with this: Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: “Went fishing with my son today–a day wasted.” His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: “Went fishing with my father–the most wonderful day of my life!” The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. Dads, Moms, time spent with kids is never wasted. Brothers, sisters, time spent with God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, is NEVER wasted. Jesus showed us, because He always wants to be with us. Happy Father’s Day.