Dads Lead, Encourage, and Listen | God’s Word Today

dads lead encourage listen

“For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” – Genesis 18:19

With only hours to live, Guy Duffield, my father-in-law, asked me to turn to Psalm 78 and read where God laid down directives (in the words of the psalmist) “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children” (Psalm 78:5-6).

Then Pop (that’s what my wife and I affectionately called him) turned to me, and in a gesture that was so unlike this man, quietly asked, “Harold, do you think I have done that?”

There were no cracks in his armor.  His integrity was flawless.  He was one of the most godly men I ever knew.  For 72 years he had faithfully preached the Gospel.  Yet, knowing he was about to enter heaven’s portals, he wanted to make sure he had passed the baton of faith to his children and grandchildren.

How important is a dad in the lives of his offspring?  Far more important than we usually acknowledge.  The short list reads that a dad is an emotional stabilizer, a teacher, an example, a leader, a listener, and an encourager.  Dads contribute something unique to their offspring.  While mothers say, “Be careful or you will hurt yourself,” dads say, “Sure you can do it; go ahead and give it a try.”  The world is not always user-friendly, so when a dad has a positive word or an encouraging hug, it means a lot to the development of a son or daughter.  This also means that the deepest wounds a child can sustain can come from a careless, thoughtless dad whose quest for identity is found only in his son’s accomplishment.  Saying, “What’s the matter with you?  You are just no good,” stings for life.  A good dad leads by example rather than as a policeman or a traffic director, enforcing the laws with punishment when they are broken.

Writing to dads in the city of Thessalonica, Paul talked about the contribution that dads can make to their children.  He says they are (1) a source of encouragement, (2) a source of comfort to kids who struggle with their own worth, and (3) a force for good and God which offsets the corruption and depravity of a godless world.  He wrote, “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

When Pop asked if I thought he had done what the psalmist said we ought to do, I replied, “Pop, if anyone ever did that, you have!”  I meant it, too.  Perfect, no.  But consistent and faithful, giving us example that was untarnished.

Forever embedded on my memory is the scene from the Olympics of 1992 when Dereck Redmond pulled a muscle two-thirds of the way through the 400-meter race.  Writhing in pain on the track, Dereck finally pulled himself to his feet and attempted to drag himself towards the finish line.  His father, seeing the pain of his son, jumped over the barricade and made his way to the track.  Embracing him, the son leaned on his dad and the two of them slowly made their way towards the finish.  By the time he got there, all the other runners had long since crossed the finish line, but the pluck of an athlete leaning on his dad allowed him to finish.

Dads come in all kinds and flavors.  Some are good, some by default are not there, but of one thing you can be sure.  Every dad makes a difference.  Every dad – negatively or positively – influences his children.  That is certain.

Resource reading: Psalm 103:13-18

This devotional © by Harold J. Sala.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission from Guidelines International Ministries. Not for sale or profit.

Dr. Harold J. Sala

Dr. Harold J. Sala

Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963.Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is heard the world over in a variety of languages. Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 55 books published in 19 languages.He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children (daughter Bonnie is now Guidelines president) and eight well-loved grandchildren.
Dr. Harold J. Sala

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