The Day After…

Today is the day after Father’s Day and to be honest, it’s where I live most of the time. Yesterday was great. I heard from both of my sons, and we were able to celebrate our relationship. No one has had more fun being a dad than me. I even heard from my daughters-in-law. Our boys married well, and Jeannie and I are very grateful for the love Nan and Deb have brought to our families.

Both Jeannie and I spent time yesterday missing our dads. Both of our fathers played major roles in our lives, and we miss them every day. There’s always something we wish would could tell them, ask their advice on, or most days, just hear their voices. Jeannie and I were very blessed to have our dads.

But now, it’s Monday—the day after Father’s Day. This is the day when the work is done that makes Father’s Day worth celebrating. This is the day when fathers do the dirty work of being a dad. For some of us, that means changing diapers and rocking babies to sleep. For others, that means countless trips around the block strolling with toddlers, playing catch, having tea parties, going to ball games or movies, or driving to vacation spots while everyone else sleeps in the car.

Being a dad is tough. It costs something to be a good dad. Your golf game may suffer. You may not be able to ride your Harley as much. You may miss a few things on TV, but that’s because you’ll be spending time doing what dads do.

Being a father may be an accident of biology, but being a “dad” is a title you have to earn. And when you get it, it’s the trophy you’ll be most proud of.

Because it will have been earned every day after Father’s Day, in one way or the other.

The First Seminary Was A Home

The First Seminary Was A Home

It’s one of those stories we run past on our way to another story. The ministry of Paul is in full bloom. After hearing the Macedonian call, Paul and his traveling companions have moved from Philippi to Athens to Corinth. Now, on their way home, they stop in Ephesus (Acts 18:24). Here they are introduced to a preacher named Apollos. From the accounts, we’re told Apollos was a gifted and inspiring preacher.

He just didn’t have the whole story. After hearing him preach, Priscilla and Aquila, supporters of Paul’s ministry, take Apollos into their home and begin to instruct him in the full story of Jesus. We’re never told what Apollos was missing. We’re just told he didn’t quite have it all together.

Instead of condemning him, Priscilla and Aquila take him under their wings and teach him what is lacking from his gospel message. Their home was the first Christian seminary. The first place a preacher was prepared to preach was a Christian home.

Early in their journey with God, the Israelites are told the home is to be the place of religious instruction. The things of God—His commandments, His story, how God had dealt with His people—these were to be the things parents talked about with their children. The parents, not pastors, not youth ministers, but the parents are to be the main disciple makers of their children. Fathers and mothers are to model faith in real life terms every day in front of their children and then, when asked, be able to give meaning to their actions. Let’s face it. There’s no way a church student or children’s ministry can undo in a few hours a week what parents do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In the middle of everyday life, parents have a myriad of moments to explain the person of Christ and His teachings to their children. Most of the time, these moments aren’t planned and in fact, they can’t be. They just happen. The wise and discerning parent can seize these moments and give them meaning that the child will carry with them for the rest of his or her life.

No one else can do that. Only the parents can speak the truth of Christ and then, live the truth of Christ in front of their child moment by moment. The truth of Christ will be tested and proven in the crucible of real life. The child won’t forget this.

As parents, we may not be raising the next great preacher like Apollos. Maybe we’re raising a Christ-following young man who becomes an attorney, teacher, or engineer. Maybe all we do as parents is raise a Christ-centered young woman who becomes a pilot, accountant, or entrepreneur. If we as parents do that, we will have been very successful indeed.