A disciple is a follower who in turn has a following. A personal follower of Jesus the Christ was called a disciple and he in turn had a following as he carried forward all that had been learned from the Teacher. Dads are disciples. We typically follow our dad or father-figure’s example and carry forward what has been learned into our own fathering journey.
The difference between the original disciples and dads is that Jesus was the perfect Teacher. He was the Word in the flesh with the disciples every day. Dads are not perfect. If we simply follow our dad’s example it is likely that we will carry forward some traits that reflect him instead of the Father. It is important to reference the Word of God, especially the gospel of John where Jesus talks a lot about His Dad, as we navigate through this journey called fathering. A generation is watching us.
“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” – John 14:6-7. The disciples knew the Father because they knew Jesus. A question us dads must keep in front of us is, “Do my kids know Jesus the Christ because they know me?” Nominalization, the drive to be successful and even for our kids to be successful, conveys a confusing message. When dads prioritize work, $’s and activities the kids get to know the world pretty well. If the emphasis is on relationship with Christ, marriage and family they will get to know the Father.
Several years ago a dad met with the youth director at his church about an upcoming retreat. The retreat weekend conflicted with one of his son’s football games and he was the team’s coach. The youth director was used to parents and kids choosing sports over retreats so he knew what was coming. He was stunned to hear the dad say, “Football is only going to last another year or two. What you are doing lasts for eternity. My son will be attending the retreat.” Nominalization got knocked down and the Kingdom lifted up!
Prayer guide: My Father, thank You for sharing the moniker of “father” with me. It is an honor to be Your representative in the home. Of course with that honor comes the responsibility to be Your disciple in my family. I have fallen short in that role. In fact, with the priorities I have set I have been a better disciple for the world than I have for You. Forgive me. I want my family to know You because they know me. Help me push back nominalization and live under the right priorities, to be a disciple that glorifies You in family and beyond. Amen
A faithful father is a disciple of Christ in family and beyond.