Fathering A City

It’s difficult to read through the Bible and not see the theme of Fathering. When we are introduced to someone throughout Scripture we are usually given the direction of their family line and more specifically who their father was; this was an important point of reference the writer wanted us to know. In those cultures the Father would bestow his blessing on the generation coming after him and that blessing was highly sought after; it contained inheritance both physically and spiritually. The knowledge of who someone’s father was had an indication of who they were. We see the importance of the fathers blessing illustrated in Luke 15 through the story of the prodigal son. The influence that the father has in the story is hard to miss; he was the releaser and the redeemer, the one who sent and the one who received. Unlike the brothers in the story who were looking after their own needs, the fathers desire was to love and bless those around him.

The Father relationship that God shows us in this story is a relationship we can receive, but it is also one we are meant to replicate to those around us. Men, we are called to be fathers in the same way God has fathered us. We are called to be a blessing and release a blessing to those around us; in our own families and in the communities we are a part of. We are called to be Fathers in the City. 

What does that mean practically for us this Father’s Day? I want to suggest three ways we can seek to Father the world around us.

See what’s in the heart not just what’s in the hands
Our Father in heaven looks at what is in our hearts. He is more concerned with who we are becoming than what we can do. Fathers look beyond the acts, the motion, the actions and look into the heart. A Father loves to connect with people's hearts. They love to nurture, protect and grow what they find in the hearts of others. We are called to look beyond what people are showing us on the outside and look inside. 

Champion those around us
Too often Fathers have been known for being hard to please. Many people I talk to will testify to how they rarely received praise from the men in their life and if it ever came it was usually in some off-hand way, with a correction attached of how they could have done better. I want to call us to be champions of others in every sphere. We need to champion others who are stepping out, encourage them and raise them up. Watch how the world will change around us when we begin to champion and encourage the people we meet every day; the person behind the cash register, the colleague in our work, our sons and daughters, the traffic warden, police officer. Fathering is Championing. 

Push others beyond where we’ve been
Men have a reputation for not wanting to ask for help, usually because we believe we can do it all. We want to seem like we are strong and that we can achieve great things. Sometimes that is ok but because of this we often fail to raise others up and push them beyond where, what, and who we have been. I want my 6 year old to experience more, achieve more and see more than what I saw but I don’t just want it for him, I want it for every person I have the chance to interact with, lead or have friendship with. Let’s ensure that alongside the championing we also call people to go beyond what they think is possible and what we know was possible for us. 

There are individuals around us who need fathered. There are institutions around us that need fathered. There is a city around us that needs fathered. As we have been fathered, so we too should father.

Neil Young