We’re looking at the subject of men/manhood/fatherhood NOT through the lens of culture or opinion polls or what the guys down at the corner bar might think. We’re looking through the lens of the Scriptures and the Christian faith.
Christian manhood isn’t about the size of your biceps, the size of your paycheck, or the size of your pickup truck. Christian manhood isn’t about the size of your temper or the size of your (fragile) ego.
Christian manhood and fatherhood are about taking seriously the responsibility of spiritual leadership in both home and church. It’s about taking seriously Luther’s directive in the Small Catechism, “As the head of the family should teach in all simplicity in his household.”
Dads, fathers, grandfathers: it boils down to this. If we don’t teach our children the right things, the things of God…someone/something else will teach them the wrong things.
Sure, teach them how to fish and hunt. Teach them technology. Teach them to read and learn and study. Teach them about cars and trucks and heavy machinery. Teach them to build and construct. Teach them about nature and the way the world works.
However, fail to teach them about Jesus and his love and forgiveness, and nothing else matters.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1) “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
Your children and grandchildren need Jesus. More. Than. Anything. They need his love and forgiveness. They need to know that they are held and hugged and claimed by arms with nail-scarred hands.
You’ve been there, by God’s grace. You’ve been wrapped in the forgiving arms of your heavenly Father. And, I pray, you still run to him every day. I’ve always envisioned arriving in heaven and being swallowed up in a tremendous bear hug by Jesus my Savior. There’s no Scripture to suggest this; but it’s a popular, pleasing picture. It comforts me. I’ve always envisioned that the thing I will notice most in that hug will be his nail-scarred hands, hand that were pierced for my sins, hands that are still full of life because Jesus rose from the dead.
Dads, run to the arms with nail-scarred hands. Run to Jesus. Thus reassured and forgiven, bring your children and grandchildren to Jesus by bringing them to the Word in worship and by bringing the Word to them in your everyday conversations. Reflect the Savior’s love. Be for them the arms with nail-scarred hands; they’ll know who’s really holding them – Jesus their Savior, sent by their heavenly Father.
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand