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  • Garth Leno

How do you measure up?

WINDSOR, ONTARIO – We often measure success by how popular or by how famous someone is. We measure success by our position in the office, by the size of a home, the cost of a car, or the length of a boat.

But God uses a very different standard when he measures success. When God measures a man, he doesn’t put the tape measure around his head or his wallet, but around his heart.

In 1 Samuel 16 God sends Samuel to Bethlehem to find a king, and this is where we read the familiar statement, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

You cannot measure a man’s effectiveness by the standards of the world. God has different measurements in mind for fathers and grandfathers.

There are several measurements we need to consider. 


Effective fathers are committed first to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to living their lives for his honor and glory. Don’t be pressed or pressured into the world’s mold (Romans 12:1-2). Be transformed in your heart and mind. Follow Jesus and obey his Word. Your spiritual commitment to Jesus will lead you into a deeper commitment to your wife and your family!

Oliver DeVinck was just three months developed in his mother’s womb when his mother had an accident. Gas leaked from the stove in the kitchen, and Catherine lost consciousness. She was rescued a short while later, but when Oliver was born six months later, they discovered he was blind. Eventually the doctors would tell the DeVincks that Oliver not only couldn’t see, but he also had severe brain damage. The gas that Catherine inhaled early in her pregnancy had affected Oliver’s development.

The DeVincks asked the examining physician what they might do for their son. The doctor suggested they place him in a group home where he’d be comfortable. Jose and Catherine refused to consider such a possibility. “He is our son,” Jose said. “We will take Oliver home.”

“Then take him home and love him,” the doctor replied. They did. For thirty-three years. They had a different definition of commitment.


The second measurement God uses is appreciation. Effective fathers express their appreciation for their children and to their children often.

The Apostle Paul told the church at Philippi that he loved them and longed for them. He said they were his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1).

Can you imagine what those same words might do in the heart of your son or your daughter? You are my joy and my crown! You are stinking delightful! You’ve got what it takes! Your children, and your spiritual children, need plenty of encouragement and appreciation.

One young man said, “Growing up, I remember my dad coming into my room every night after I had slipped under the covers. He would kneel beside my bed and stroke my hair back and then he would tell me something specific that he appreciated about me. 

“Sometimes my father would focus his comments on my schoolwork or my sports. Often, he would comment on the way I cared for my siblings or helped my mother. But every night I went to sleep knowing that my father loves me and appreciates me.”

Time Together

Effective fathers also spend time with their families, and they communicate when they are together.  In a survey conducted several years ago, 1500 schoolchildren were asked one simple question: “What do you think makes a happy family?” They didn’t list money, cars, large houses, or computers. The answer they gave most frequently was “doing things together.”

What makes a happy family? Doing things together!

A debate has raged for years over whether dads need quality time or quantity of time with their children. But you can’t have quality without quantity! You must spend time together for your words of encouragement and advice to find their way into the hearts of your kids and your grandkids.

Spiritual coaching

Paul specifically addresses fathers in Ephesians 6:4 where he says, “Dads, you need to bring up your children in the training and instruction of the Lord.” We cannot delegate or neglect that assignment. Our first disciple-making responsibility is at home. It’s easy to be intimidated by this, but we need to embrace our role as spiritual leaders in the home.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 tells us to teach God’s Word to our children diligently and talk about the Word when we sit at the dinner table, and when we go for a walk; when we lie down, and when we rise. In other words, dads, take every advantage of every opportunity every day to encourage every one of your children to walk with God.

When God measures a man,

he doesn’t put the tape measure around

his head or his wallet,

but around his heart.


I believe with all my heart, that in Christ Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in you, you have what it takes to be an effective father or grandfather. With the resurrection power of Jesus Christ working in you and through you, you will measure up, and you can do this!

Happy Father’s Day!




Dr. Garth Leno is the Pastor/Planter Care Specialist with the BSCM. He serves in a similar role with the Canadian National Baptist Convention, and he is the founding pastor of The Gathering Church in Windsor, Ontario, a church he planted with his wife, Patty, and a few of their friends.


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