I recently met with a small group of fathers and their teen sons for the first of three scheduled times together. The heart of these fathers is to prepare their sons to be “real” men in the “real world.” Realistically though, the fathers themselves struggle with just what that means; not only for their sons but for themselves as well.
My hope was to move us away from the concept of a meeting and move into an open discussion among men, both young and older. To break the ice I posed a simple question to the fathers. “When you first became a father, did anyone want to fail at that task? The answer was a unanimous no. Then I asked if any of them had ever felt as though they had failed in some way as a father. That answer was a unanimous yes. It was good for each son to realize that his father regularly struggles with his role as father.
One of the names that God allows us to use when referring to him is Father. God identifies with the name and concept of being a father, and I suggest that he is the fulfillment of whatever being a Father is. He is certainly more than just a Father, but his fatherhood is expressed through certain character traits that we refer to as attributes. For the open discussion that I was trying to start, I chose these three attributes of God as Father: Provider, Protector, and Priest/Prophet. During this initial discussion our attention was focused on the attribute of Father as Provider.
It is interesting to discover how differently men look at the idea of being a provider. But for the sake of this discussion we focused our attention on how our heavenly Father provides for his children. By studying and experiencing how Father provides for us and declares His provision through his Word, we have the true example to follow. Just as with counterfeit money, when we study the real thing closely and attentively, we are able to spot the counterfeit when it is presented. Our enemy is constantly presenting counterfeits for us to fall for and the concept of God as Provider is one that is counterfeited by him frequently.
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that our Father provides for us more lavishly than he does the birds and the flowers. He admonishes us to focus our efforts on the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God rather than being anxious and distracted by the cares of the world; what we will eat and wear and how we will be sheltered. When we begin to really see how God provides for us as our Father, then and only then will we begin to provide for our families the way he intends.
If you have a heart for fathers and could see a benefit to encouraging them to walk in the truth of God’s provision as our Father, I would love to help you in that endeavor. Please feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.