by Jim Stolt
PLYMOUTH, MI – Last Father’s Day my college-aged son had a friend over after church. He attends our church as well, and he said something to me that has stuck with me since that day. “Pastor Jim,” he said, “I noticed that on Mother’s Day the moms are encouraged and celebrated, but on Father’s Day you always challenge them and beat on them a bit.” He then laughed nervously, unsure if he had crossed a line.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I wanted to respond with a retort, but found that I couldn’t. He was right and I let him know it. We definitely celebrate our dads as well, but I have been harder on our men than I have on our women.
Allow me to illustrate. This past Mother’s Day, my main point was, “Even though I’m a hot mess, God can still use me.” The main point for the Father’s Day sermon my son’s friend referenced, based in 1 Kings 2:1-4, was, “Be strong, show yourself a man and keep the Lord’s charge.” Notice the difference? Why is that? I must say that I prefaced the Mother’s Day sermon with the intimidation that the Proverbs 31 woman causes every woman and tried to encourage them with the fact that they didn’t have to compete with the Proverbs 31 woman to be used of God—God used women that were a complete hot mess, too. But that compassion is glaringly absent when it comes to the men. Should I change and ease up a bit on the guys?
Men are called to serve their families as the head of the household.
As I began to prepare for Father’s Day and I began to write this article, I tried to bang two brain cells together, and I asked the Lord for help in answering that question. As a result, I came up with a few thoughts and the Holy Spirit reminded me of some key Scriptures. Men are called to serve their families as the head of the household.
Headship is about responsibility and accountability to God, not power or control. As the firstborn of God’s creation, Adam was the original model of headship. Though it was Eve who initiated the Fall, it was Adam who was held accountable, “The Lord God called to the man” (Genesis 3:9-10, emphasis mine).
As Christ is the head of the church, His body, the husband is called to serve his family by sacrificially leading them (Ephesians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 11:3). As sinful, selfish creatures, men need to be reminded of this responsibility. There is no greater day to drive that home than on Father’s Day.
Men need to be challenged.
There is a reason that there is an expression of “deadbeat dads” and not “moocher moms.” Most moms take care of business and provide for their children, no matter what it costs them and without being asked to do so. Moms don’t need a kick in the pants, they need a pat on the back. Guys often are the opposite. Too many dads are willing to walk away from their families and the responsibility that God has placed on them. Even if they don’t walk away, guys tend to get distracted and forget what is truly important—myself included. We need to be reminded and refocused. Perhaps that is one reason why there are so many challenges in the Bible that are addressed to men. Besides, men love a good challenge, and often rise to the occasion when the challenge is placed in front of them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Stolt has been in full-time ministry for over twenty years in youth ministry, music ministry and pastoral ministry. He has been the Senior Pastor at Praise Community Church in Plymouth, MI for four years. He and his beautiful wife, Karyn, have two incredible college-aged children, Jacob and Sarah, and two adorable dogs, Scout and Ender.