I begin with a true story. It was Easter Sunday now many years ago. I wanted my message to go straight to the heart of the glorious proclamation of the festival day. I wanted my message to have a “hook” to give my people a way to remember it and take it home with them.
So I began by saying, “I want to use a word that is vitally important to Easter as a way for us to remember the message and take it home with us. I’m going to use this key word of Easter and use each letter of this word to bring forth the great truths of our day.”
I continued by saying, “This key word is LIFE.” From there I preached on four great truths of Easter. I said something like the “L” declares that the Light has conquered the darkness. The “I” encourages us that the Impossible now becomes the possible. The “F” reminds us that Fear gives way to love. And the “E” proclaims that our Eternity will be spent in the perfection of our heavenly home. To which all God’s people said, “Amen!”
When greeting the congregation following the service, a friend of mine from the community and not actually a member of the congregation, came through the line, shook my hand, and said this, “Boy! I’m sure glad your word today was LIFE. When you said you were going to use each letter I was afraid it was going to be “RESURRECTION!” I burst into laughter.
I say all of that to say this. One of the often used quotes for Father’s Day is “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.”
So our question today is this, “Dad, what makes you so special?”
To answer this I say almost the same words I said back on that Easter Sunday many years ago. “I want to use a word that is vitally important to this day as a way for us to remember the message and take it home with us. I’m going to use this key word of Father’s Day and use each letter of this word to answer our question.”
My friend would now be thinking, “Boy! I sure hope it is not FATHERHOOD!” Laugh. Laugh. And no, fortunately, it is not.
That word for us today is simply DAD. What makes Dad so special?
Dad, I believe what makes you special is, using the first “D,” that you are Dialed into God. Dialed in. Dialed all in. The first relationship a special Dad has is with God.
The special Dad believes, as he says in the Apostles’ Creed, that all things are created by God the Father. He believes he has been made for this time in this place. He believes his family is a gift from God.
The special Dad believes that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son, and that He suffered and died on the cross so that, because of His sacrifice, God the Father now forgives his sins and the sins of all those who repent and believe in Him.
The special Dad believes that the Holy Spirit has come to him, has given him faith, and leads and guides him now in God’s way of living and being the Dad he wants to be.
And the special Dad lives his faith in a church, being faithful in worship and service, and showing his family how important his faith and church life are.
Dad, we move on. What makes you special is that you, “A,” Adore your wife. The Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
I do not have a specific citation here, but in article after article which I’ve read on the subject of Fathers, it is repeated over and over that the best thing a dad can do for his children is to love their mother. It does not take a family therapist to recognize and admit that when there is love in the home, children thrive and succeed and contribute to society for years to come.
Dads, you are special when you show honor and respect and admiration and appreciation for your wife, the mother of your children, in their presence. To withhold these verbal and visible actions, or to show quite the opposite, totally diminishes your respect and authority with your children, making you quite less than “special.” Take this to heart.
And finally, Dads, you are special when you, using the second “D,” Devote yourself to your children. Again, the Bible says, “A father has compassion on his children.” Psalm 103:13
So often dads are devoted to their careers, to their status in their profession, to making ends meet, devoted to improving yourself, to getting better at your hobby, to climbing the ladder. Dads, these are all admirable attributes, but not the true definition of your special nature.
Dads, you are special when you are devoted to your children, when you make them your priority, when you put them first (right behind their mother), when you put your other passions, desires, and interests into “second place” and let your children feel your full presence with them in their formative years and beyond.
This is huge. This is it. Dads, go be “special.”
So, it’s D.A.D. Short and sweet. Well, kinda.
As most all preachers do, just when you thought they were going to quit, they keep going. “Forgive us, Lord.”
What if our word were “DADDY?”
The extra “D” would be for Discipline with love. One Scripture reference is Proverbs 13:24, “The one (Daddy) who loves his children is careful to discipline them.” Oh yes, discipline is key to the role of the special Daddy. However, please remember that discipline comes from the same root word as disciple. Discipline is not just punishment. Discipline is the Teacher forming those who will follow in his footsteps.
Think of a world, our world, where a special Daddy would be forming his children into adults who will follow in his good footsteps, his God-fearing, Bible-believing, Christ-centered, purpose-fulfilling footsteps. This is what will change the world, our world, into what we all want it to be. Amen.
And finally, and every parishioner would also say, “Finally! Amen!” Finally, using the “Y,” the special Daddy Yearns to say to his children, “I’m going to heaven! And I’m taking you with me!” The special Daddy acknowledges the need for Jesus as his Savior, teaches this need to his children and grandchildren from the beginning of their lives and every day thereafter until his last breath is drawn.
O.K. “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad… a Daddy!”
Dads, Daddys, go be special!
And Happy Father’s Day!
[Kollmeyer, a Fayette County resident for 36 years, is Pastor Emeritus at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. Follow Pastor Scott Ness and this great church at www.princeofpeacefayette.org. Kollmeyer until recently was Interim Pastor at Word of God Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg. Find some of his video recorded sermons at http://www.woglutheran.org and follow Pastor Jason Dampier and this great church on this site.]