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Father's Day - Breaking or Blessing a Father's Heart

By Delbert Young
(video audio page)

Father's day breaking or blessing a father's heart

Today is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to all our dads.

I had a great dad. My dad died in 1999 and that drama skit makes me think about him. He loved to go fishing with me. He loved to go to city pond and catch those tiny crappie. I think he just loved to be with me. He was not only a good father. He was also a good grandfather. A good father will be a good grandfather.

Father's Day vs. Mother's Day

Have you ever noticed that Father's Day is not as big an event as mother's day? On Mothers' day there is a higher attendance at church, mothers wear corsages, emotions run high, etc. On Father's Day, the church is not full, emotions are not as high, businesses do not profit as much, and the restaurants are not as full.

Fathers' day just doesn't seem as exciting as mother's day. I guess there is a reason. I think it's because dads just don't look at things like moms. I heard a story about a young mother who went down to the hospital nursery and found her young husband peering through the glass. The mother could tell he was captivated by the scene as he stood there looking. She was so touched that finally she tiptoed up behind him and slipped her arm through his and said, "Honey, what are you thinking about?" he said, "I just can't understand how they're able to make a crib like that for $89.95." Dads look at things from a different perspective. Moms look at the baby. Dads look at things around the baby. Dads are in protection mode. Moms are in love mode.

I'm glad there is a Father's Day. Even though it isn't as significant or special as Mother's Day, it still gives us a chance to honor those who really make a home work. I am joking ladies.

Let's read our scriptures for today's lesson. It's a little bit long today. So, hang in here with me.

Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

Luke 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

Luke 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Luke 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Luke 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

Luke 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Of course, this is the passage that we call the 'Prodigal Son.' I want to point out three ways to break a dad's heart and three ways to bless a dad's heart.

A. BREAKING A FATHER'S HEART

1. Attitude

Luke 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

Luke 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country . . .

The younger son said, "Father give me my share." He got it and not long after that he left. There is nothing wrong with a child leaving home. In fact, it can be a blessed event. A child's leaving is expected and natural. However, in this case, the kid had an attitude problem.

a. give me

There was this attitude of "give me." I would think that the child had been a fellow laborer along with his dad and brother. There seemed to be no reluctance from the dad about giving the boy his portion, but it's the attitude that sticks out. Sometimes dads feel used. Dads feel they are not loved or needed, but only necessary to pay the bills and buy the clothes and give their money.

b. I don't need you.

There is this attitude the prodigal had about getting away from his father. The boy is saying, "I don't need you." The Lord's emphasis in the story was that the son wanted to be a long way from his father. It says he "took his journey into a far country." He didn't need his dad. It breaks a dad's heart when his children do not want to hang out with him or be around him and does not need him.

c. not caring about dad's feelings

There was this attitude of not caring how his taking his money and leaving made his father feel. The father would feel rejected. He would think, "Why does my child want to get away from me?"

If you want to break your father's heart, develop a bad attitude. Make your dad feel like he is only there because of his money. If you want to rip his heart out then have an attitude that you don't want him around you. If you want to break his heart, avoid him. Tell your dad to get off your back and give you your space. When you get mad at him, tell him that you hate him. Run away. If you want to break your dad's heart then don't care about his feelings. That will break his heart.

Anyone ever had an attitude toward your dad?

Actually, this parable was told to some Pharisees about how the heavenly father feels toward the lost and toward those who have gotten away from God. So it is really a parable about father God and you and me. Often we have an attitude toward father God. I watch believers constantly want their inheritance and want it now. They only want father God for what he can give them. They get it and then they split. Many believers don't want to be around father God. Sometimes it seems they want to be as far from him as they can get. They spend little time, if any, with him. When it's prayer night, or time to praise him during the service, or Bible study night, we often find ourselves far from God. We can find time for ball games and gardening and shopping, fishing, golfing, and all sorts of other things. There is nothing wrong with ball games, gardening, shopping, fishing, golfing, and all sorts of other things. That is unless when it's time to spend time with father God, we withdraw. Amazingly, they don't care how this makes father God feel. So, if we want to break father God's heart then develop an attitude.

2. Wasteful

....and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

The prodigal wasted what his father gave him. The child was not a good steward of what his father had given.

Fathers love to do things for and give things to their children when they know the children appreciate the gifts. It's like giving candy to a baby when what was given, or done, is appreciated by the child. We gobble it up because we want to see the child do well. However, when what we give is not appreciated, we shut down. It breaks our hearts. Fathers work hard to provide food and clothes and housing and school and nice things. When these things are not appreciated, it breaks our hearts.

I have watched parents try desperately to give their children what they did not have as children. The sad thing is that in their attempt to give what they did not have they neglect giving what they did have. They neglect teaching appreciation and stewardship.

If you want to break your dad's heart, then don't appreciate what he has worked hard to provide for you. Don't take care of those clothes or perhaps that car. Don't appreciate all that money paid for your college education. I mean, after all, he owed you, right? Be a poor steward of what he has given you. That will break his heart.

Do we believers do this to our father God? Oh yes we do. I watch God heal and fix and provide and give and give and give only to see people so unappreciative. I watch them squander away the precious things that father God has provided them. Honestly, many Christians are very poor stewards and that breaks the father God's heart. How much do we actually appreciate God's greatest gift to us? How much do we actually appreciate the fact that God sent his son to die that we can live?

3. Riotous living (life style)

Luke 15:13 . . . and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

We are not told exactly what is included in the thought of "riotous living." It can mean all sorts of things from boozing to over spending to immorality. We can be certain he did much. It breaks a dad's heart when a child goes the way of "riotous living." It breaks a dad's heart when a child he raised turns out immoral.

I know a young woman. She and her husband had divorced after having two beautiful children. She became very immoral. She was constantly running off with men leaving her children with her parents. She became an alcoholic and was constantly doing drugs. It broke her dad's heart. She was not raised that way. She decided to go that way. Her father constantly asked, "Where did I go wrong? What should I have done differently?"

I remember a time in my B. C. days (before Christ). My wife and I were having some marital problems. As usual, I was the one causing the problems. I remember my dad being so heart broken with me as he told me to get my (blank) straightened out and get back home where I belonged.

How does our father God feel when we do crazy and even immoral things? How does God feel when we take what he has given us and we waste it on riotous living? It breaks his heart.

B. BLESSING A FATHER'S HEART

Let's talk about the way a father's heart is blessed.

1. Came to himself (attitude)

Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

Nothing could have made my dad's heart happier than when I came to myself and went home. My dad could not imagine me away from my family. Nothing will bless a father more than when a child will come to himself.

Perhaps some of you have gotten away from the father, but today you are coming to yourself. Perhaps some of you have never labored with the father and invited Christ into your hearts as Lord, but today you are coming to yourself. I hope so. I hope at the end of the service that you will come home. Remember that the parable is actually a story about father God. This is exactly how father God feels when a person comes home to him. It will always bless father God's heart when one of his children comes home.

Things will not go well

The child in the parable wanted away from his father. The money was gone. He lived a riotous life. The child found himself in a bad place feeding hogs. It's not good to break your father's heart. Things will not go well with you if you do this. The Bible says,

Ephesians 6:2 "Honor your father and mother" - which is the first commandment with a promise -

Ephesians 6:3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

Things will not go well with a child that has an attitude toward his or her father. They will not go well if the child wastes what is given them. Things will not go well if they do not care if they hurt their father. Perhaps you are there now. Perhaps things are not going well with you. Could it be because you have not honored your father? The Lord said in the story that "he came to himself." The child said, "I have blown it. I messed up big time. I'm going home." Come home today. Things can go well for you.

It has always blessed me to see the father's response. A great father never says, "I told you so." The father's heart was so blessed that he said, "Let's have a party! My child has come home." Father God is a party person. Every time a person comes home, he has a party.

2. Respect

Luke 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Good dad's don't ask for much. Good dad's don't need much. They are very self sufficient. However, what good dad's do need is respect. The child went away with an attitude, wasteful, and uncaring. He came back with a servant's heart. He said, "Dad, let me serve you."

If you want to bless your dad then respect him. Serve your dad. It will bless his heart.

My dad only had a fifth grade education. I can remember a time in my late teen years or early twenties thinking that I was so much smarter than my dad. I remember becoming defiant and rebellious. Things did not go well for me back then. Though he didn't have a lot of "education," he did have a lot of intelligence. I came to a place of respecting the man and not his education.

How does father God feel when we respect and honor him? If we say, "I don't need you God," how does he feel? However, when we come home and lift our hands in praise and recognize how wonderful he is, does that not bless his heart? When we worship and honor him because of who he is and not because of what he can do for us, does that not bless his heart?

3. Hang Out

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Children can have a blast with their friends. They can talk for hours on the telephone with a friend. They can stay out all night with a friend. However, when it comes to having fun with dad, they would often rather hibernate in their room and never talk to dad. Fathers really want to have fun with their children. The prodigal's father said, "Let's have some fun. Let's have a party!" The child said, "Great. Let's hang out."

My children have always done well with this. I have so many memories of so many times my children just seemed to want to hang out with me. Bonnie's gone fishing with me when I knew she would have rather played with a frog. Lance really doesn't like getting up early in the morning. I remember him as a little fellow getting up and going deer hunting with me. Those kinds of things bless a dad's heart.

This past September on our vacation in Florida, Bonnie (my daughter) knew how badly I want to take Jack, my grandson, boat riding and fishing. One day Bonnie made it possible. Bonnie, Jack, and I went out in my boat. Bonnie brought the camera and made certain that the moment was captured. Bonnie knew how much it meant to me to hang out with her and with Jack. If you want to bless your father's heart, realize how desperately he wants to hang out with you.

How do you suppose father God feels about our wanting to hang out with him? Have I given you a glimpse of what he feels? How does he feel when we really desire to hang out with him? How does he feel when you come to church, praise and worship, read his word, pray, and experience his presence? Father God is always saying, "Let's hang out. Let's have a party." Do we hibernate in our little lives, or do we do as the prodigal? Our heavenly father is always looking at the crib and not only the baby. He is always looking at protecting the well being of the child and not only the child.

Thank God for dads. Also, be thankful for your father God. He is the greatest of all dads.

Some here have broken father God's heart. We have developed this stinking attitude. We want our inheritance and we want it now. We want to get away from father God. We haven't cared that we have broken his heart. We have not taken care of what he has given us and we are not appreciative of his gift of Christ's salvation. We have wanted our riotous living more than we have wanted to him. Today he is asking us to come to ourselves. He wants us to honor him and respect him. He wants us to hang out with him.

Some here do not know father God. The father really wants you to come home. You really matter to God. If you will come home, he will pitch a party for you. All of heaven will rejoice. Let's pray.

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