There is not a more dreaded sound during a relay race than the clank of a baton hitting the ground after an unsuccessful exchange. Just ask Tyson Gay or Lauryn Williams, both runners on the receiving end of failed exchanges in the 4X100 men’s and women’s relay races respectively during the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing.
The runner with the baton has the eyes and the receiving runner presents the target for the baton. The exchange is simple … until it is not. It was not that August night in Beijing ten years ago. Today, dads have the eyes to see what is ahead and know what needs to be passed on to the next generation. But life – busyness, wrong priorities and divorce have impeded the relationships that are critical for a successful exchange. And the clank of batons is heard throughout society.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:5-9. What is to be passed on? “These commandments” - commandments that define relationship with our God and how we are to relate to others in the world. Jesus summed them up into two – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ … And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Relationship with the Father, through Jesus the Christ, lived in marriage is the baton to be passed successfully to the next generation.
PASS the BATON is Faithful Fathering’s strategy for the local church. PASS is an acronym with the ‘P’ being for Purpose-filled fathering; ‘A’ is Activities for dads & kids; ‘S’ is Studies for dads; and the second ‘S’ is Staying connected as kids mature. Purpose-filled fathering is starting the race well with a focus on relationship with Christ, in marriage and in family. It is surrounding yourself with other Godly men committed to raising the bar for fathering with purpose in the church, in extended family and in the community. It is stepping up to the responsibility that goes with the title of ‘father’. The first leg of the race as a father is to be Purpose-filled with a firm grip on the baton. The subsequent legs of the race and other letters of the PASS acronym will be topics for the weeks ahead.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the blessing of You in my life and the marriage and family You have blessed me with. Too often I get caught up in the rat race of life, drift outside the running lane of right priorities and forget about the baton completely. Forgive me. Keep my eyes focused on You and provide the clarity needed for me and Faithful Fathering to run the race You have marked out for us, to PASS the BATON well to the next generation. Amen.
A faithful father is Purpose-filled out of the starting blocks with baton in hand.