I have a great dad. I know I am fortunate, not everyone has a good relationship with their father. Not everyone has present fathers or loving and caring fathers, but I am happy that I do. I have fond memories of my childhood. We would take trips up to the lake where my dad would take me fishing, pull me behind the boat on the tube trying to ruthlessly throw me off into the abyss, and sit around the fire making s’mores. He attended every sporting event that he could, it was rare for me to look to the stands and see him absent. If he was it was for good reason. He played catch with me and taught me how to throw a knuckleball. He taught me how to properly cook food on a charcoal grill and that garlic and onions go with everything. He is a great dad, and to this day continues to teach me things I don’t know.
My dad did everything to provide for us as a family when we were younger. Worked long hours, protected us from whatever struggles they were navigating, and gave me and my siblings an amazing childhood. Our house was filled with joy, while it wasn’t a mansion, it was plenty. I could go on and on about all the great things my dad did for me when I was a young boy that formed me into the man I am today. Yet only one thing sticks out. The rest is trivial in comparison. My dad, week in and week out, brought me to church.
My dad did what every father ought to be doing, and I can not thank him enough. No fishing lesson, no trip to the lake, no round of playing catch compares to the simple act of a father leading his family in the way they ought to go. Nothing compares to the father who brings their family to the place where God’s Word is proclaimed, where the forgiveness of sins is given, and where the Sacraments are administered. Nothing compares to the father who reflects the love of God to his children in the home. It is because of my dad that I am who I am today. It is because of my dad that I now bring my children to the place where the means of grace are given. It is because of my dad that I know Jesus.
So, to all the fathers, expectant, new and old, play catch, teach your children to fish, hunt, cook, and whatever else you can think of that will benefit them. But above all else, take them to church. Get involved in the body of Christ. If you haven’t been taking them, start. If you don’t know where to go, find a Lutheran church (preferably LCMS) close to home. If you don’t want to take them, get over it. Sing the hymns, pray the prayers, speak the responses, discuss the sermon with them after worship, read your children the Scriptures every night. It is your God-given responsibility to raise your children in the faith. It is the best thing you can do for them.
I thank God for my dad who taught me the faith, who showed me the love of Christ, who sang alongside me in the pew, and who brought me to church even when I didn’t want to go. It is because of you that I am the man I am today.
So, cheers to the good dads. To the ones who forgive. To the ones who are present. To the ones who teach. And to the ones who take their family to church. This one is for you.