Last week, the frequently funny Trey Morgan said: “This Sunday is Father’s Day, and it’s still not fair that mothers and fathers only get one day a year… while sharks get a whole week.”
Fathers (and mothers, of course) certainly deserve their special day — especially those who have taken it upon themselves to not only provide for their children’s physical well-being, but also for their spiritual well-being.
With this in mind, think with me about a couple of “parenting passages” from the Bible — one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.
First, think with me about an Old Testament parenting passage — Proverbs 22:6 — which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it” (NASB).
When I talk about Proverbs 22:6, I like to share this quote from the NIV Student Bible: “An individual proverb shouldn’t be read as either an invariable rule or a binding promise from God. Proverbs 10:4 generalizes truthfully, ‘diligent hands bring wealth,’ but you would not have to look too far to find an exception to the rule.
“[Proverbs 22:6], a famous proverb, reinforces the importance of early training in forming a person’s lifelong character. But you can find individuals who, though well brought up, choose to reject their training.
“Proverbs studies the way it normally works. The general rule is this: Good parents raise good children.”
Even you and I sometimes state general rules that have exceptions.
For example, we say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But we realize when we say that that other factors might lead to a visit with the doctor.
However, let’s not let the exceptions to Proverbs 22:6 keep us from obeying the rule. After all, a “general rule” will generally hold true.
The statement is sad but true, that, “Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Second, think with me about a New Testament parenting passage — Ephesians 6:4 — which says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (NASB).
Martin Luther could tell you about those words, “do not provoke your children to anger.” Luther’s father was so severe with him, that he had difficulty calling God “Father” in prayer. Luther’s advice was, “Beside the rod keep an apple.”
Finally, think about those words, “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Speaking of “discipline,” it also says in Proverbs: “the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24 NIV).
And speaking of “instruction,” consider this passage from Deuteronomy: “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” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV).
(Jake King is the preacher at Seneca Church of Christ. He can be reached at (417) 776-3077.)