Leading By Example
Date Preached: June 18, 2017
Text: & 35-43
The following story is taken from a book concerning "Fatherhood." Bill writes:
AM Service – Corner Brook Temple
The following story is taken from a book concerning "Fatherhood." Bill writes:
Now that my father is a grandfather, he just can't wait to give money to my kids. But when I was a child, Bill says, and I asked my father for fifty cents, he would tell me his life’s story. How he got up at 5 A.M. when he was seven years old and walked twenty-three miles to milk ninety cows. And the farmer for whom he worked had no bucket, so he had to squirt the milk into his little hand and then walk eight miles to the nearest can. All for 5 cents a month. The result was that Bill never got the 50 cents.
But now, Bill says, his father tells his children every time they come into the house: "Well, let's see how much money old Granddad has got for his wonderful grandkids." And the minute they take money out of his hands Bill calls them over and snatch it away from them - because it is his money.
Many of us older folk certainly can relate to that story.
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father if they could discuss his use of the family car.
His father took him into his study and said, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study the Bible a little, get your hair cut, and then we'll talk about it."
After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. They again went into the father's study where the father said, "Son, I've been very proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied the Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut."
The young man replied, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that. Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair."
"Yes," his father said, "and everywhere they went, they walked."
Fathers are certainly a special breed for sure but there is a lot of responsibility that we carry in the raising of our children and we are not to negate this responsibility.
These two stories point to the challenges and joys of fatherhood/parenting and the wonderful legacy that we can pass on to our children. Let me add something, at this point, that I heard from another Christian some time ago how he dreaded attending Church on Father’s Day because he felt that the preacher would place an extra burden on him for his failures rather than celebrating and encouraging him as he tried to assume His fatherly responsibilities but that is not my intent this AM. Being a Father, a parent, is challenging and I applaud fathers who try to shape the lives of their children - I say thank you to those who have accepted their spiritual responsibility as a Father. To those who may be struggling in this role I would like to encourage you to allow the Spirit of God to help you in your role as a dad. Because even though we may be looked upon as the strong leader of the home, we have to admit that we too need help. We too are like children before our Heavenly Father.
In Mark’s gospel, we are introduced to a certain dad. Jairus is desperately looking for help for his daughter. His human capacity to care for her had found its limit. We as parents have all been there, haven’t we? When we felt burdened for our children, limited in our ability to fix everything. This is Jairus’ plight and we see that he realizes he needs to seek Jesus for help. Therefore, to help us understand a little more of how we are to act as a parent (Christians), we are going to look at the life of Jairus for there we will find three characteristics that we should incorporate into our parenting and into our Christian living.
(Pt. 1) Firstly, we are to be men of humility.
(Explanation) In we read “When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” One can easily see that Jairus had exhausted all of his resources and now was left to humble himself, moving from his Jewish roots, and humbly throw himself at the mercy of Jesus – the one whom his people rejected. Mark in his writing includes the name of the father (Jairus) because he wanted to show his readers (who were mainly Gentiles) how the Jewish people had to humble themselves and call on Jesus for help. Humility is certainly a hard characteristic to embrace but one that is needed in life of men, and women, if we are to be what God wants us to be.
(Illustration) Three ministers' sons were discussing their fathers.
"My Dad is so frustrating," said the first. "He comes into the pulpit with a big wad of notes in his hand, and you have to wait until he's turned each page before he finishes."
"That's nothing," said the second. "MY Dad comes into the pulpit with a big wad of notes in his hand, and each time he finishes a sheet he slips it under the others in his hand. You never know WHEN he'll be finished!"
"That's NOTHING," said the third. "My Dad comes into the pulpit with a big wad of notes in his hand. He puts each sheet down on the pulpit after he's read it - then when he's finished; he turns over the whole pile and starts again on the other side!"
(Argumentation) That’s why I used an IPad because one will never know when I going to be finished. But children certainly have a way to keep us humble. If I had a dime for every time one of my children asked me this question “dad what do you do all week, you can’t be very busy?” I would have enough to buy a few coffees for sure. My answer is usually this - I just go to church - sit and wait for next Sunday to come so I can have something to do again. Sometimes I struggle with humility because I want to be self-sufficient. I do not like asking for help or for things and I much would prefer not to have to depend on others but God has humbled me many times and I realized that humility is an important characteristic to teach my children. reads “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honour.” instructs “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Fathers, parents, people - if we are to be what God desires us to be then we are going to walk and live lives displaying humility.
(Pt. 2) Secondly, we are to be men of prayer.
(Explanation) Again let’s look to we read “When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” This morning, I want to draw your attention to the action of Jairus as recorded at the end of verse 22 and beginning of verse 23 for it says “he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him…” This is important because it highlights the actions of the Father (Jairus) for he didn’t care who was around but publicly presented and pleaded his concerns before God – he didn’t call Jesus aside and whisper his concern but fell at the Master’s feet and cried out to Him in prayer.
(Illustration) Tommy had been sent to bed by his mother for using colorful/bad language. As soon as his father came home, she sent him upstairs to talk to their child.
"I'll teach that young fellow to swear!" roared his father, and started up the stairs.
Unfortunately, the dad fell heavily on the top step, and he too began shouting some colourful/bad language.
"You'd better come down now!" his wife called after him. "I think Tommy's had enough for his first lesson!"
(Argumentation) Dads, and I include myself, what do our children hear coming out of our mouths – words of prayer/praise/adoration or words of condemnation, sarcasm, and or cursing. Dads, men, parents we have a spiritual responsibility to raise our children and may when our children look over our lives see that we were/are a people of prayer. The Psalmist gives us some wonderful advice to live by and reads “May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. 170May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.” My desire and my prayer, which may be yours as well, is that my words reflect the beauty of the One whom I serve!
(Pt. 3) Finally, we are to be men of faith.
(Explanation) Beginning at verse 36 we read “36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.” Notice what transpires here – there was a lot of commotion because they thought this girl was dead, there was laughter from the crowd yet in all of that Jairus still trusted in Jesus to restore life into his daughter. Jesus’ simple instructed in verse 36 to believe and exercising a simple faith, both the disciples and Jairus never did doubt but showed an unwavering faith in Jesus. How is your faith? Does your faith remain firm in the midst of what seems to be impossible challenges? Is your faith able to withstand the laughter of society? Do you believe in the power of God to keep his promises? God is faithful, may we be faithful.
(Illustration) Ray Ortlund speaks of his dad and his dad’s faith and influence on his life. Ray recounts that Fifty years ago his dad and mom gave him a new Bible. It was his senior year in high school, the first week of two-a-day football practices, and he had crawled home that day, bone tired. His Mom made a special dinner since it was his birthday, and dad gave him a Bible with the following inscription:
Bud, nothing could be greater than to have a son — a son who loves the Lord and walks with him. Your mother and I have found this Book our dearest treasure. We give it to you and doing so can give nothing greater. Be a student of the Bible and your life will be full of blessing. We love you. Dad
As Ray read those wonderful words from fifty years ago, it never occurred to him to think, "Dad doesn't really believe that. It's just religious talk." He says, I knew he meant it, because I watched him live it. He was a student of the Bible, and his life was full of blessing, and Ray wanted what he had. It took him a few more years to get clarity in some ways, not surprisingly. But on this day so long ago his dad said something to him that left a deep impression. It moved him then, and it moves him now.
(Argumentation) My friends that would be the legacy that I would like to leave to my children but I know that I still have a way to go before I get there – each day I thank God for His faithfulness in my life and my desire is to live faithfully for Him. The Psalmists reminds us that we serve a God that never sleeps nor slumbers in . He is the only perfect Father and as earthly fathers today, we look to him for what we need. Like Jairus we are to exercise trust as we live out our faith. As Father’s, parents or individuals - can people see that our faith is constant, our faith is strong when confronted with what seems to be insurmountable obstacles – lack of finances, sickness, lack of respect from children? Sometimes I hear and see parents wonder why their children’s faith seems weaker than theirs but sometimes it is because they are demonstrating the same faith that their parents demonstrated when confronted by challenges. Jairus faced many challenges, getting the attention of Jesus, humbly requesting that Jesus would come to his home, getting Jesus through the crowd, overcoming the fact the his daughter has been pronounced to be dead, and overcoming the mocking of his friends, yet despite the obstacles his faith continued to be strong – may we do likewise.
(Conclusion) This morning, I would like to conclude with a prayer that I found for Father’s and I pray it is one that we will strive to live by and it reads:
Thank you for this child that I call mine; not my possession but my sacred charge. Teach me patience and humility so that the best I know may flow in its being. Let me always remember, parental love is my natural instinct but my child's love must ever be deserved and earned; That for love I must give love, That for understanding I must give understanding, That for respect, I must give respect; That as I was the giver of life, so must I be the giver always. Help me to share my child with life and not to clutch at it for my own sake. Give courage to do my share to make this world a better place for all children and my own.
Good, Good Father
He Knows my name
It’s amazing how He loves me
Make me more like thee Jesus
Faith in God can move a mighty mountain