When you hear the word purposeful, what comes to mind? Not just ‘with purpose’, go deeper. Our astute dictionarians (my word) would tell us it is: ‘having or showing determination or resolve; intentional, full of determination, meaningful’. I love these: ‘bent on, bound, decisive, determined, do-or-die, firm, hell-bent on, intent, resolute, resolve, set, single-minded.’ I think they get the message across. People follow others that have purpose in their lives. Most are servant-leaders.
When I consider the family and fatherhood, it would seem that for centuries his role has been diminished, knowingly and unknowingly. Maybe it is from lack of understanding his purpose. I like the two words—resolve and intentional. When Abiding Fathers ministry was first formed, we were discussing what short phrase would be appropriate that would get the message across in five words or less. Viola! Be the dad…on purpose! It’s one thing to be a biological or adopted father, it’s much more than that.
But most fathers actually don’t understand the depth and breadth of the responsibility and opportunity. It’s truly—discipleship of the highest order. Jesus said as he was departing back to his Father’s side; “Go make disciples”. Make disciples of what? His disciples, followers of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father, have eternal salvation, except through him. Just having babies, going to work and coming home just falls so short of discipleship. The first time I met my friend, Scot, he said to me: “I raised my children, but I did not disciple them”. I’ve never forgotten that. I believe it sums up the vast majority of fathers as they see their position in the family.
Biblical discipleship, true fatherhood, includes being present, loving, praying, mentoring, modeling, teaching, listening, disciplining, blessing, and yes, even providing and protecting. And it does not require doing it perfectly because you can’t as fallen sinners, but it’s the pursuit. That’s why I believe the two words, resolve and intentional, are so critical for being the dad…on purpose. What man is his right man would not want to fulfill this very important privilege?
So, Bill, how can I start and pursue this high calling for my immediate family and generations later? Pray for guidance, seek counsel and associate with other purposeful dads. And go online to Abiding Fathers and join Bethedadmovement. We’ll walk with you. And as you are resolving and intentionally pursuing being that special dad, reflect on what you want your family and extended family to say at your funeral.
A dear friend of mine and countless others, a Christian brother, recently went to be with his Lord at 93. Ed Yates was that kind of dad. A husband for 66 years, dad of three, grandad of eleven and great granddad of one. As I was reading his glowing obituary today, written by his loving family, I saw a life lived that we would all want to emulate. Ed lived a purposeful life! Men, don’t wait; resolve, be intentional about your discipleship. God ordained marriage from the very beginning. He has provided you, in Christ, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, with everything necessary to succeed. In fact, Jesus is interceding on your behalf to the Father.
The only way you can fail is to not try. Show the Lord, and your family, that, with his divine help, you want to be and can be the dad…on purpose. There is no greater joy than to live a ‘purpose driven life’. “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose” (Psa. 20.4).