Father’s Day is always special to me because it inevitably reminds me of my Father in Heaven. Our fathers are asked to fulfill a holy capacity on earth by representing fatherhood to God’s children and showing them, to the best of their ability, who God is and what our relationships with Him should look like. Every father does this differently, and no father does it perfectly. And, of course, every family has a different situation with their fathers, and that can make it difficult to understand or relate to the “father-child relationship.”
But whether you’ve learned from your own father or from other father figures, this fact remains the same – there is at least one lesson you can take away from your relationship with him. In my life, I’ve been blessed with wonderful father figures who represented Christ in beautiful, meaningful ways. Here are just a few lessons/examples from fathers in my life who have taught me more about Jesus Christ.
My mom’s dad died about 12 years ago, but there are some key lessons I remember learning from him. Something everyone always told me about Grampa was that he was always serving people. He was a quiet man, and I don’t remember him talking about it much himself, but anytime I’ve met someone who knew him, that’s what they tell me. He was always willing to help.
This ranged from helping farmers with their tractors at all hours (Grampa was a mechanic) to showing up at a family member’s house ready to help when he knew there was a need. Whether people asked for help or not, Grampa was ready and willing to step up and help. This is something that Christ was really good at too. It didn’t matter if He was interrupted or busy, Jesus always took a moment to stop and serve however He could.
As I mentioned, Grampa was a quiet man. But one thing I remember that he always did was to check the honor roll in the newspaper to see if his grandkids were on it. It was a small thing that motivated me to make sure I would be on the honor roll, but more than that, it was one of those things he did that showed me he loved me and cared about what was happening in my life.
Love doesn’t always have to be shown in big ways. Often, these small acts of love are more meaningful than big gifts and such. Christ did show love in big ways, but He never underestimated the power of just a few words. Words like “thy sins are forgiven thee” and “my little ones” told the people around Him and tell us how much He loves us and wants us with Him. And often, these small acts of love are what help us want to be better as well.
My dad’s dad has always set an important example to me of which priorities are most important. Without a doubt, God and family (past and present) are Grandpa’s top priorities, and it’s because they are the eternal priorities. There are other things to do in life, of course, but putting these two priorities first has shaped Grandpa’s life to focus on what’s essential. His example helps me want to be better about focusing on the eternal priorities first in my life.
Christ is the perfect example of choosing eternal priorities first, and it’s clear that Grandpa has learned from Christ’s example. Jesus always focused on doing the work of God. Nothing ever came before that. But He always paid special care to His mother and other loved ones. Jesus knew that all of us are God’s children, so in His eyes, we are all family – brothers and sisters. Aligning His will with the Father’s is Christ’s first priority, but as His family, all people (including us) are His next most important priority.
Grandpa has always been straightforward with me. He’s always eager to encourage me, but he will also help me see ways I need to improve. This kind of encouragement and feedback has helped me grow in ways I couldn’t have otherwise. As nice as validation is, true encouragement supports what I’m doing well and points out where I can still improve. It uncovers blind spots I might have about myself.
Christ gave this kind of encouragement too. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to be saved, Jesus told him that he was doing well living the ten commandments, but that he now needed to focus more on personal sacrifice and serving others around him. This encouragement showed the man what he was doing well and how he could continue improving.
One thing that has always impressed me about my dad is his persistence and work. He’s done so much to support our family, build a company, serve others, and make a difference in the world. None of it really came easy, and it took constant effort for years to accomplish all of it to the point it’s all at today. He’s never made a big deal about it, but his example has shown me what it really takes to accomplish great things.
This is something I think Jesus did as well. He worked hard to learn and prepare Himself for the mission our Father had given Him, and when the time came to fulfill His ministry and mission, Christ put everything He had into it. He worked hard, and His work brought about the greatest accomplishments in the world’s history. His work saved every one of us.
Dedication to God
My dad has also set an incredible example of dedication to God. He’s been asked to do a lot of things in God’s service, and much of it has required that he spend time away from family to serve God. Never once has our family felt neglected or like we didn’t matter. But we recognized, from dad’s example, that serving God was the best thing any of us could do with our lives.
Christ was the ultimate example of this. Every moment of His life was dedicated to serving God and building His kingdom on the earth. Even now, Christ is working with and through us to dedicate all things to our Father.