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July 5, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him." —Psalm 127:3 (NLT)
I’ve always felt that most of the greatest things also require the most work. For instance, marriage is a lot of work. It’s a daily commitment between two unique individuals to become one; two sinners seeking to live in holy matrimony. But being able to share your life with the one you’ve promised to love and cherish is also one of the most fulfilling, amazing, and beautiful things about this life. It’s a gift from the Lord to us (Genesis 2:18–24).
And in today’s verse, we find out that parenthood is a gift, too! In fact, the Hebrew word for gift is nachalah, which is defined as “a heritage, an inheritance assigned by God, a precious heirloom.” I love that. But it goes even further, because not only are our children a precious heirloom that God has entrusted to us, they’re also “a reward (ḵār) from Him." Interestingly, the definition of this word speaks of wages given to a hired hand. It’s used throughout the Old Testament to describe the service of a soldier, servant, and shepherd. It denotes labor and faithful, dedicated work.
As a father of two, I can tell you that this totally speaks to me. Being a dad is a lot of work. Sometimes I feel like a servant, sometimes I feel like a shepherd, and sometimes I feel like a drill sergeant. But I’ve found that the reward for this intensive labor is built in! What do I mean by that? Well, the reward is in the labor, the time spent with my children. Every moment, whether it’s a shepherding or soldiering moment, a time of fun and laughter, or tears and discipline . . . every millisecond I get to spend with my kids is a gift. It’s a joy, a reward, a king’s ransom.
Being a father is the greatest and most godly joy of my life. It makes me love and appreciate my heavenly Father that much more, because in the best of times and the worst of times, I know He still loves me completely, unconditionally, and relentlessly.
So today, Father’s Day, I want to encourage all of you dads to celebrate the great responsibility that’s been entrusted to you. It’s an honor that can’t be expressed in words. Cherish it, cherish every moment, and know that it’s worth all the sweat, blood, and tears you pour into it. Be present; it’s a deep reward unto itself!
Kids, let your dad know just how much you love and appreciate him today. Share memories, laughs, and lots of hugs!
DIG: Read Psalm 127.
DISCOVER: Dads, how has being a father changed you? What are you doing to ensure you’re present and laboring for your children? Kids, how are you honoring your dad today?
DO: Dads, today I encourage you to share with your kids the great honor and reward they are for you. Express your love and gratitude for them. Wives, show your appreciation for your husband by expressing to him your gratitude for his role in the lives of your children; encourage him by sharing what makes him a special dad. Kids, make your dad feel loved, appreciated, and honored today. If they’re no longer with you, how are they living on through you? Celebrate that today, and celebrate with other loved ones in his honor! If you don’t have a good relationship—or any relationship—with your dad, what about your spiritual dads and father-figures? How have those relationships changed you? Make sure they know how much you appreciate them today. Finally, always remember to celebrate, worship, honor, and cherish your Father in heaven, because apart from Him and His great love for us, we are nothing.