“Being a daddy will change your life.”
When I heard this phrase years ago I chalked it up as a “No-Duh” kind of statement. In my early twenties I figured the life change centered around changing diapers, buying baby food and watching Blue’s Clues. I had no idea of the life change that was in store for me. My wife and I had our first child in April of last year and God began to change so much of how I viewed Him, the way I lived my life and the way I served as a youth pastor.
The most immediate impact in my life was the instant love a father has for his son. As soon as Teague was born, I loved him immediately, wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I loved him simply for who he was. He was my son. In being absolutely overwhelmed with love for my son, I felt I got the smallest glimpse of God’s love for us as His children. Romans 8 goes deep into the picture of God’s love for us. He adopted us as sons and daughters. He chose us in spite of our failings, blemishes, sins, weakness, insecurities and worries. He disarmed all those things through the cross and will work all things, good or bad, for His good. His love conquers. His love is unfailing. His love cannot be ripped away from us. The love of the Father is on a scale that I do not think can ever be fully depicted in the words of man.
My love for my son immediately began to shift the priorities in my life. My window of time with my son everyday is somewhat short when you factor in my time at work and his nap time. I want to make the most of every little bit I can get with my son. I want to play with him, teach him and talk to him. Yet, I know that like most things, familiarity will soon begin to breed complacency in how I lead and shepherd my son. For so many men who are dads, that is the danger we have to guard against. We cannot become lazy dads. Our child’s first and deepest understanding of the word “father” will come from how we love and shepherd them. As we look at the character of the heavenly Father, we must not dare tarnish our child’s understanding of God the Father because we were fathers who were too lazy, too distant and too passive.
The day I became a dad shifted the way I see youth ministry. When it comes to my son, I am Biblically responsible to lead him spiritually. Scan Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4) and we can clearly see that the burden of spiritual responsibility lies on parents, and specifically men as the shepherd of the family. We have to pursue our children with the gospel. We must have the Word of God flow from our mouth on a daily basis in the walls of our homes. May we never depend on the church to be the sole source for our child to hear of the character of God and the hope of His gospel.
May you be men who fiercely pursue your children. Live the love of the Father before their very eyes. Point them to the Father who loves your children more than you ever can. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “ Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
So go and be a dad that’s worthy of the calling that the Father has laid on us as fathers.