What Is A Father?
By bro Cornelius Lee
Let me start with a short anecdote. It was a usual weekday morning and my father went out for his daily run. Usually, he will message us to ask what we want to eat and buy back food for us. On this particular morning, I had asked for chicken rice but when he came back, I was greeted with duck rice in the kitchen. Well, I was mad about the fact that although I had asked for chicken rice from my father, I got duck rice which I did not want to eat. At that time, I made a comment, “If your son asks for chicken rice, would you give him duck rice?” to my mother as a joke. This comment was a reference to a passage in Luke 11:11 which reads, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” As it turns out, he had already bought duck rice before my mother sent him our orders. My mother had missed his message and when she sent him our orders, it was too late; my father had already bought the duck rice. This incident made me reflect on the role of a father.
Just like how the word ‘father’ starts with the letter ‘F’, the word ‘Family’ starts with the letter ‘F’ too, so the first point I would like to make is that the father is the head of the family. Eph 5:23 states “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” As the head of the family, fathers have an important role to play in the family. The responsibility as the head is to lead the family. Children have a role to “obey their parents” (Eph 6:1), so the father must lead his family in the correct path, if not, he will be a detriment to his children’s lives. I don’t think any father will want his child to live a bad life. Fathers want their children to be successful, to be happy, to enjoy their life with loved ones on this earth. Hence, fathers must lead the family on the right path to ensure a good life for their families. However, what is the correct way? Jesus has said that he is the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). Matt 7:13-14 reads “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Fathers need to lead their family on the strait and narrow way, which is the way of Jesus Christ, so that the family can enjoy life in Christ.
The word ‘father’ has the word ‘fat’ in it – what makes you fat? Food! Food fills our stomachs and when food is in excess, it will make you fat. The point here is, fathers provide necessities for the family, be it food, shelter, paying bills etc. We look back to the anecdote in which my father bought me duck rice instead of chicken rice. After his morning run, he would have been tired. He could have just not buy anything back and gone home straight to rest since he did not get my mother’s reply on time, but he still bought food for us, at home, even though the food was not what I wanted to eat. In fact, not only did he buy duck rice for us, he also bought additional egg tarts! 1 Tim 5:8 reads, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Fathers are to work to provide for their families. This is common sense whether you are a Christian or not. Isn’t it great that as a child, your father provides everything for you? Not only does your father provide the basic necessities, he sometimes provides excess even when you do not ask for it.
Finally, the last part of ‘father’ is ‘her’ and who else can it refer to than his wife, the mother? Eph 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”. Here we can see the parallel between fathers and Christ. In Jn 3:16, we know that God loves the world so much that he sent Christ to die for us. Similarly, husbands should love their families that they are willing to do anything for them. We as Christians are the children of God and He is our heavenly Father. As our Father in Heaven, God has other roles that a father should have. He leads us through his word (Psa 119:105), he also provides for us richly that our cup overflows (Psa 23:5), and of course, as mentioned earlier, he loves us very much (Jn 3:16).
In conclusion, a father is someone who will be able to lead the family on the right path, who will provide for the family, and will love his family so much that he will do anything to provide them with the best possible life on this earth. Similarly, our Father in Heaven leads us on the path of righteousness through his word, always provide for us when we are in need, and loves us so much that through his sacrifice we might have eternal life with him in Heaven. Let us be grateful to both our earthly father and our heavenly Father. Happy Father’s Day!