All of us are familiar with the upcoming holiday Father’s Day. A day when we celebrate a masculine role model. Often, the role is filled by a paternal figure. Fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers have traditionally held the position. For some of us, women have stepped up and stepped into the vacant roles in many children’s lives. But we would be remiss if we didn’t look at the ultimate depiction of fatherhood.
Our heavenly Father.
So carefully set the daddy-sized coffee cup filled with scalding lava java down.
Step away from the arts and craft project with so many exposed nails in it that it could pass for a famous horror movie character (don’t pretend you have no idea who I’m talking about. The one we promised not to tell mommy I let you watch).
Do not touch anything with those paint-smeared fingers and I pray to high heaven that your canvas isn’t sitting in a puddle of paint while resting on the dining room table (your mother will kill me).
Slowly back away from the homemade card you’re coloring … you know, the one you have braced against the wall. The card will be cherished. Even if you color outside the lines. And outside the card. The purple really pops on the eggshell-hued bedroom wall. Repainting the bedroom is now on my to-do list for the weekend.
Now that the destructive possibilities of the future, pending Father’s Day gifts are momentarily laid aside we can talk about our Creator. Heavenly Pops.
How, exactly, do we celebrate this particular holiday with God? I’m glad you asked. Oh, you didn’t? Don’t worry, I asked myself for you. Here are 4 ways to celebrate Father’s Day with God.
#1: Thank You
Obviously, without Dad, we wouldn’t exist. How much more true is it for God? As a father, I have memories and memories and even more memories of my 5 children. I was there during the pregnancies and was (woefully unprepared) there for their birth. I snipped the umbilical cords (sorry to my firstborn son. I’m kidding of course …), endured the tar they excreted, and the old man hands. Seriously, the wrinkles on that kid meant he needed another spin cycle in the dryer (Again a joke).
As much as I love my kids and was there for them through their beginnings, I can not compare to our heavenly Father.
I brushed their tawny fluff ball hair but God knows the number of hairs on their head. I told jokes and sang (in tune of course) to my children while they were still in their mother’s belly. But God knew my kids before the world even began. I want the best for my kids but the Bible says God wants even greater good for us than our parents.
One of the biggest things done for dads on Father’s Day is saying “Thank You”. Hallmark cards, homemade cards, singing cards, and tiny handwritten notes are left for a dad to find. Some people write little poems while others will make a photo collage. A few adventurous and talented people make commemorative videos.
Why don’t we express our feeling of thanks and love to our heavenly Father?
This Father’s Day, as we prepare our cards or notes to our pops, why don’t we do the same to God? Remember all the times He has watched over us, even when we didn’t deserve it or want it. The blessings God has bestowed on us when we were in need and undeserving. What about the fact God has us on the unlimited heavenly family phone plan where we can talk to him whenever and wherever. And there are no international calling fees.
Father’s Day is a day of thanksgiving and remembrance. I can think of no one who deserves this more than God.
#2: BBQ Cookout
If cards are the visual gift to dads worldwide, then the grilling of meat is the all-inclusive gift of taste. You know exactly what I’m talking about. The perfect steak is a juicy, mouth-watering staple of the grill. Chicken with sizzling, crispy skin next to a rack of ribs basted with bbq sauce. Don’t forget grill-marked burgers dripping with melted cheese.
We all have these memories. A haze of smoke wafting from the grill as the old man stood there tongs in one hand and a pan in the other. Were there sides made to eat? Yes. Do sides matter when the meat is grilled? Never!
Many fathers are treated by their kids manning the grill on Father’s Day. We want to give back a portion, a snapshot, of what we received over the many, many years. Growing up, we watched how our dad prepped the meat, prepared the grill, then handled the cooking like a master artist at the canvas.
Over the years we learned from our father, even when we didn’t realize it. Pink is great for steak, but not so much for chicken. Ribs can cook and smoke for hours however never do that to a burger.
And so, on Father’s Day, we return the favor by utilizing everything we learned from our pops and giving back.
Why not do the same for our heavenly Father?
There are times when the Lord literally feeds us, sustaining our physical bodies. Food donations can occur for summertime with kids, with sickness or death in the family, for large get-togethers, or for no other reason than He can.
But how often does our heavenly Father feed us spiritually? Sermons from the pastor, lessons from church teachers, and even testimonies can uplift and sustain us. Yet God doesn’t stop there. Personal prayers and study open us to a Word from the Lord. Edification in our personal walk strengthens and feeds our spirit.
As we prepare to feed our earthly fathers with literal food we should find a way to share what our heavenly Father has taught us and reach out to feed those that are spiritually hungry. Just as the older generation feeds, raises up, and teaches the next generation of people Christians should also feed, raise up, and teach others.
But how does this ‘feed’ our heavenly Father? Easy. Jesus said that what we do to others, it is as if we do it to Him. The only question we should ask ourselves is, do we treat others as we would treat God, or do we behave in such a way that we would be ashamed for the Lord to see how we act?
#3: Gone Fishing
If grilling is a typical stereotype of dads then fishing is a typical character trait alongside Old Spice. The stories of fish being this big (hands stretched wide) and coolers full of fish are nearly mandatory requirements for a dad. And somewhere on a wall is a dancing, singing fish.
Fish stories and dads go hand in hand.
Taking the old man deep-sea fishing, maybe loading up the boat to head out onto the water, or grabbing the rods and reels and hitting the lake are often ideas for Father’s Day. Fish stories are the central aspect of these outings but the experience with pops is what really counts.
We already know that the Lord is familiar with fishing. How many disciples made a living this way? And we have the wonderful verse to remind us that God wants us to be fishers of men. Now I’m not advocating grabbing a speargun and chasing people nor am I recommending setting human-sized netting around walkways. No fishing for humans in the traditional sense.
How many people have we netted for the Kingdom of Heaven? When we have good news we want everyone to know. Something wonderful and out of the norm happened? Let’s toss it onto every multimedia platform available. And tag everyone!
Did you see that perfect sunny-side-up egg Peggy made and posted to Instagram? What about that selfie Derek shared on the pier? And Oh Em Gee (OMG for us old people… Oh my gosh for the really advanced aged) did you, like, totally see that Tom and Geri are back together?
Where is our zeal for promoting what our heavenly Father has done in our lives? The more we show the world that God is real and wants the best for us the more of an impact we make in their everyday lives. And I know this is a cliche, but it is absolutely true. For some people, the only time they see God is when He is reflected in us.
So, I guess, in this instance we are the bait. We should be excited by what God is doing in our lives and share Him at every opportunity. And yes, I’m talking to myself here as well. Time to go fishing!
#4: I Love You
I still think it is amazing that three little words hold so much power. Love brings two people together. Love creates new people. Love unites us for occasions and events. Wars are even fought for love. I’m looking at you Paris and Helen of Troy.
Love gives us the strength to continue. Love can keep us up at night worrying about those kids that are all grown up. Love encourages us to talk to that special someone before falling asleep. Sometimes while still on the phone with them. Love makes anything possible.
On Father’s Day, those three little words are usually the first gift given to dads worldwide. And it is the most overlooked gift of the greatest importance. As a child and as a father, I love you are the most important gift we can give. By speaking the words we reaffirm the importance of the individual.
Cards, cakes, banners, text messages, social media, the list goes on and on for the varying ways we can tell someone we love you. But when was the last time we told our heavenly Father, “I love you”, in any form? Why don’t we?
This Father’s Day I propose we all find a way to tell God we love Him. It doesn’t need to be a certain way or a certain type. This isn’t a test that you will be graded on. All this should be is a moment of unguarded, vulnerable truth between us and the Lord. Why do we love Him? And how important is He in our life? It can all start with three tiny words that carry the greatest significance in any language.
This Father’s Day I think we should celebrate the holiday, not only with our earthly father figures but, with our heavenly Father. A moment of honest reflection and simple truths. Each celebration reminds us of what is important and, for that day or days, we remember and share our heartfelt words and emotions.
But why stop with a single day or weekend?
Maybe this holiday we determine within our hearts to extend our gratitude and demonstrations of love into a lifestyle instead of a yearly anniversary. Because any relationship worth anything is grounded in love and shared. Make a statement. Tell our heavenly Father how much we love, appreciate, and need Him in our lives.
Never postpone the chance to say I love you.