The Christian Daddy

Bible Book: Ephesians  6 : 1-4
Subject: Father's Day; Christian Dad; Family; Legacy

There is a vast difference between being a father and being a daddy. Almost any mature male can be a father, but it takes a special man with a lot of love to be a daddy.

See if you can catch the difference reflected in these two references:

"When West German industrialist Friedrich Flick died, he left a personal fortune estimated at $1.5 billion. His business empire embraced all or part of some 300 firms. He was one of the craftiest magnates ever to operate on the German business scene. He was totally devoted to his work, and was successful. At his death, the Flick empire generated sales in excess of $3 billion. But for all of his enormous power and wealth, the Newsweek magazine which reported on his death concluded, "the old man had one very human shortcoming: he could not control his family." He could put companies together, but he could not hold his family together (Newsweek, September 25, 1972).

Consider this contrast to that report in this testimony given by Bill Cosby: "I make a lot of money and I've given a lot of it to charities, but I've given all of myself to my wife and the kids, and that's the best donation I'll ever make" (Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986, P.85).

Almost anybody can be a father, it takes a very special person to be a daddy, and that is what I wish to speak about today. Not just any daddy, I want to speak about the importance of being a Christian dad. We focus our divine calling, our divine-given responsibility and our divine example.

I. Our Divine Calling

Upon the occasion of first awareness that the miracle of conception has taken place, the Christian father realizes that God has richly blessed his life and the time is right to prepare the heart for the great responsibility which is just ahead. The wise father will accept the time of expectancy as a time for spiritual preparation and sharing the joy with his wife. I've seen some fellows who get into this so much that they become ill every morning and put on significant amounts of weight. Surely the husband should view his calling as being as significant as that of the mother. If he does then there will be none of the conflicts over shared responsibility in the home.

I've heard guys say, "I have never changed a diaper." That's deplorable. Every father ought to have the privilege of changing a diaper! Others have said, "I never give our child a bath, " or "I never do any of the feeding or burping of our baby." Listen dad, your calling is as full of responsibility in the raising of that child as the mother's. You're missing out on a lot if you don't get in there with that kid and experience the new things.

We were in the seminary working on my doctorate when we had our first experience as parents. I'll never forget the evening Janice went to a meeting and left Kathy with me. I had no idea what I was in for. Janice left some jars of food on the table for Kathy's supper which was scheduled to begin, conveniently, after Janice had left the apartment. I was totally unaware that one of the items I had there was a jar of beets and that Kathy, sweet thing that she was, couldn't stand beets. Good thing I wasn't wearing a nice shirt for I soon learned what it was like to feed a kid something that he/she does not like. Kathy sprayed red, staining, beet juice all over herself, me and the entire kitchen. I believe I finally had to throw that t-shirt away. I looked like I had been in a war and had lost. What a time, but I'll tell you, it was special enough that I remember it 30 years later and we have laughed about it quite a few times.

Being a daddy is a divine calling. It has everything to do with spending time with your children and letting them know through that that you love them with all of your heart. Children learn very quickly that one of the most valuable things in the life of their dad is time and they are very sensitive to your willingness to share that valuable commodity with them.

Dr. Seymore Diamond recently did a survey regarding family problems and came to some conclusions about the family that were shocking. He said that the average father spends 38 seconds a day giving his child his undivided attention. He went on to say that the average father gives his child approximately 20 minutes a day of his divided attention-that is, the father is reading the newspaper,  or watching TV, or working in the yard, and talks to the child while he is doing another task or job or enjoying some other pleasure.

The problem here is not really a time problem. It is a priority problem. We have never quite learned that the most important thing we do is develop and mold individuals in our families.

A father came home after a difficult day. He sat down in his easy chair. He picked up the newspaper and flipped on the TV, reading the newspaper, watching the TV, he wasn't very interested in his five- year-old son. The little boy came in and said, "Daddy, I skinned my knee today." No response. "Dad, I skinned my knee today and it hurt real bad!" No response. This time: "Dad! Did you hear me? I skinned my knee today." And the father looked at the boy and said, "Well, what do you expect me to do?" And the little boy walked away teary-eyed and said, "You could have at least said, 'Oh'."

Lee Salk, a noted psychologist, has written a book entitled, My Father and My Son in which he reports on interviews he had with a number of young men, not a single one of which wished that his father had been less demonstrative. They said that they wanted love expressed. As daddys in the home we need to be able to say to our children and certainly to their mother, "I love you; I care for you; I appreciate you. This hug demonstrates that I will do anything for you and above all else, I love you."

In my ministry I have never encountered a dad who regretted giving too much time to his son or daughter. I have encountered many who have deeply regretted that they didn't give more! "The children grow up too quickly," they have said, "cherish every moment that you have with them."

I am sure that we would all acknowledge that God, our Heavenly Father is busy. David certainly saw Him as busy and important as reflected in Psalms 8:1, 3, 4 (read). But David had also experienced a loving Heavenly Father who had time to listen to him (Psalm 4:3, read).

Dad's our calling is a divine calling. It deserves the very best effort that we have to offer. Don't let any of the childrearing experience pass you by. Be determined to experience everything that being a father has to offer.

II. Our Divine-Given Responsibility

Dads, the Scripture admonishes that we are to raise our children to know the Lord. Notice that the text is directed to us. As the father in the home you are to be the spiritual leader for your family. There is no finer method of teaching than by example.

Bob Stamps is a member of the faculty of Oral Roberts University. He and his wife went out for dinner one evening and they had a babysitter come in and sit with their son and daughter. Upon their return, they walked in the front door and were greeted by Peter Andrew, their little son. He had gotten hold of his father's shaver and he had shaved right down the middle of his head a landing strip. Now, Bob Stamps is a man with a good sense of humor, and he is also bald-headed, but he saw nothing  funny about that. He grabbed his son and said, "Peter Andrew, I am going to teach you a lesson you will never forget. I told you never to touch my electric razor!" And as he was leading his son into the bedroom to administer discipline, Peter Andrew looked up at his father and said, "If you think I look bad, you ought to see sister!" They found the three-year-old daughter; her head was shaved clean as a peach-not one shred of hair was left! Once again, Bob Stamps said, "Peter Andrew, I am going to spank you. You shouldn't have done that." As the boy was led to the bedroom, he looked up at his father and said, "Dad, we just wanted to look like you."

Either Peter Andrew was the greatest con artist in the world or else he was expressing a truth that many of us have felt. We want to be like daddy.

I am reminded of the powerful scripture found in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. Notice that the truth of God's Word must first dwell in your own heart (verse 6) before you can teach it to your children (verse 7).

Dr. Bill Hendricks responding to the question: "When are children confronted with Christ?" answered by saying:

1. Children are confronted by Christ when they receive Christly actions and attitudes from those about them.
2. Children are confronted by Christ when they are taught and nurtured by the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Children are confronted by Christ when the values and shape of their environment are formed by Christian insight.

If you want your children to come to Christ, surround them with people who love and serve the Lord, and that begins with you! Bring them to church, don't send them. Let them sit with you in church, sing with you from the hymn book, pray with you, give with you, listen to the Gospel with you. Teach them diligently. The rewards are the greatest!

Our supreme example is God the Father. Above all things, He desires that His children would come to Him and trust in His Son, Jesus. This is to be our greatest desire for our children. Nothing is so thrilling, and I am confident, nothing so pleases God as a father who is an evangelist in his own home. Dads, you don't rest until you see every one of your children come to Christ and follow Him in believer's baptism. Be a real evangelist - "Good News teller," - for your family! Be careful not to impose your own experience on your child. I have seen some parents who felt that since they came to Christ late in life, their children should come late as well-that they could not possibly understand at an early age. There are other considerations, perhaps your child will come to the Lord sooner than you did because he/she is exposed to so much more of the Gospel than you were that same age. On the other hand, don't panic and push your child to an early decision. In a fairly recent year, Southern Baptists baptized 1,146 children who were age 5 or younger. In that same year, we baptized 34,026 children ages 6 to 8, and 139,211 children ages 9 to 12.

There is some real tension between our historic principle of believer's baptism and the radical lowering of the age of those baptized. Many of the youngest ones will come for re-baptism in their later years of life because they simply will not be able to remember the experience. Pastors are sometimes placed under tremendous pressure by some parents to insure the spiritual birth of their children. How is a pastor to respond to a parent who says: "I live with Johnny. I know him well. He is an unusually bright boy. In fact, he is the smartest child I have ever seen. I know he is ready for salvation, but I wish you would have a little talk with him." If the pastor is hesitant about the child's experience, the parent is outraged. If the pastor confirms the experience, it is taken as an external assurance for the parent's own feelings.

On the other hand are those parents who are unknowingly requiring that their children reach the level of their own understanding of Christ before they will allow them to take the first step and to begin their Christian walk. We are all "babes" when we begin with the Lord. We do well to remember that fact.

Dads, I am convinced that you will not need to fret about the salvation of your children if you will so live that they will see more of Christ in you. I am forever thankful for a Christian dad who taught me all about the Lord, not so much through words, though he did that, as through the example of his own life. Whether we were fishing together on the lake, just the two of us, knocking a ball around the golf course, working shoulder to shoulder in the yard or just around the house in the evening, my dad showed me the love of the Lord. There is no greater gift that a father could give his son or daughter than this.


A man had a friend who died in a small town. He knew the friend's son who was living there, so he went by to see Tom's son. He knocked on the door. Tom's son came to the door and the man stood there and looked at him for just a minute and the son looked at the older man and said, "Sir, I don't believe that I know you." And the man said, "No, you don't know me. But I knew your father and I just came by because I wondered if I could see any of your father in you."

When your children look at you do they see any of the Father in you?