Being a Good Father Amidst Economic Fears
The fathers of the Bible are flawed, except our Father who is in heaven; therefore, Jesus directs our attention past our earthly father (also: leaders, teachers), “And do not call anyone on earth, your father; One is your Father, He who is in heaven (Mt 23:9).”
With a perfect Father waiting to welcome us home at the end of our pilgrimage, we know our earthly fathers serve as mere types of the real relationship. This perspective allows us to forgive the flaws of our dads, which are many.
It also allows dads to point their children past themselves, “Child, I am sorry I could not be more to you on your way through this life but follow my example and look to our adoptive Father in heaven. He is everything we long for in our relationships. As I point you to the Son of God, He will show you God our Father (Jn 14:9).”
If you have a flawed dad, forgive him; and if you are a flawed dad, make sure your children know that you know that fact, and help them to fix their eyes on the one and only faithful Father and His obedient Son (Heb 12:2). In this, you will be manifesting the fruit of His faithfulness (Gal 5:22). It is the work God’s Word calls for you to do (1 Cor 2:2, 4), and it is the Holy Spirit in you who will accomplish it (Ps 57:2; 138:8; Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11, 15, 23; Phil 2:13).
Be a good father and look to Jesus, and then turn to your children and say, “follow me as I follow Christ.”
Often, the most fearful aspect of one’s life is material provision. There is comfort for the child of God that her Father in heaven knows she has needs (Lk 12:30) and promises His care-filled provision (Phil 4:6; Heb 13:5).
One mark of the child of God is the loss of the world. Sanctification invariably includes the putting off of the old man and the denial of self (Mt 16:24; Eph 4:22). The habits and ways of the world diminish as Christian affections incline toward God (Col 3:2). He that is spiritual will invest time, talents, and treasures in the kingdom of God (Lk 16:9; Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 5:16; Col 4:5), which is located here and now in the Spirit (Rom 14:17; Col 1:13).
Keeping one’s eyes focused on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) proves a challenge when the lust of the eyes, for the things of the world, conflicts (Romans 7). We must have the mind of Christ in these matters (1 Cor 2:16).
The disciples left everything to follow Jesus. Learning that God’s grace is sufficient for life and ministry is integral to the test of faith, especially an increasing faith. Christians lose the world but gain Christ, who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36).
The potential for fear and the tendency toward hoarding resources increases with age. Faith is threatened, and greed, which is idolatry, can subtly prevail (Mt 6:30; 16:8; Lk 12:32; Col 3:5). One must resist devil-induced fear by remembering that one cannot serve God and mammon (Mt 6:24).
The repeated warnings in Scripture against becoming and being rich are ignored by so many (Mt 19:16–24; Lk 6:24; 12:8–34; 1 Tim 6:10; Jas 2:6; 5:1–2). “What is your goal? What is your plan? How are you preparing for the future?” predominate worldly wisdom and practice. The child of God replies, “My goal is to do the will of my Father. My plan is to submit to His plan. I prepare for the future by praying, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’”
Carnality scoffs, “Be practical, man!”
Can God actually be trusted to answer this daily prayer of His children? O ye of little faith! God is not worse than an infidel! He cares for those who cast their cares upon Him (Jer 30:17; 1 Pet 5:7). The widow and the orphan are especially in His view, for He is a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5–6; 1 Thess 2:7; Jas 1:27). Our Father is the provider for His people (Heb 13:5), those who trust in His providential care, and who give no thought for the morrow (Mt 6:34).
Examine yourself and your ways. Is your life represented by a loss in the world, and a gain in faith, and trust in God’s daily provision? Are you storing up treasure on earth or in heaven? Are those around you glorifying your Father in heaven because of the hilarity in your generosity?
When we come to the end of our hoarded resources, then we know, daily, that our Father knows we have needs — although with food and clothing we should be content — and He proves Himself faithful in meeting the needs of His children…every day. He is a good, good Father.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 17, 2022