CHRISTMAS…is a time of giving. Jesus personified this as he gave his life so that those who believe the gospel will have life, abundant and eternal. That gospel is “Christ died for my sins and rose from the dead.” (I Cor. 15.1-5) It was freely given. As a fact of matter, he was present with us, with his creation. That’s what makes it so special and believable. He didn’t just speak from long distance; he condescended from his throne in heaven and lived among us.
Dads, there is a saying I like—“your kids want your presence more than your presents”. But if you take that to heart, you will actually be present in their lives. As I was focusing on gifts this season, the impact of being present in our family overtook my thoughts. This is what the Lord seemed to lay on my heart. I’ll share it with you.
Praying with and for your family
Reading scripture with them daily
Encouraging them to dream big
Standing with them in their trials
Equipping them with the gospel
Nurturing their gifts
Telling and showing them your love
That’s my take on being a dad who is present in his kids’ lives. Pray about it and send me yours. Just like Jesus, you cannot disciple from afar. He engaged us, and left one overriding command. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28.18-20 ESV). A command and a promise! As you go, I will be present. Through his Holy Spirit; abiding in you.
The design for discipleship
I find it more than intriguing the way that Jesus spoke and the Spirit recorded through Luke in Acts 1.8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” These are some of his very last words. I don’t think it is a mistake, but the design for discipleship.
Notice the order—Jerusalem (home); Judea…(circle of influence)…Samaria (different culture)…end of the earth…(wherever God might send you). Could this be saying to dads, discipleship starts at home? You bet it does!!
The greatest gift you can give them is yourself, by being present in their lives. That’s how God designed discipleship, and he demonstrated it well. Jesus left no stone unturned in his pattern for discipleship. Look at the PRESENT outline above. Can you see anything in it that Jesus didn’t do with his disciples, and much more?
Quality time matters
As you approach the end of 2018, and make plans for the new year, I would challenge you to make it a priority to spend quality and quantity of time with your family. If the kids have moved away, it will involve working with their life schedules, but it is still important. You never stop being their dad, or granddad. You already know that time is the most precious commodity God has given each of us. And it is fleeting. Take it as truth from this 81 year old!
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psa. 90.12 ESV). Dads, the best way is to make a plan and then dedicate it to the Lord who alone is able to fulfill them. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Prov. 16.9 ESV). You plan in your mind what is dear to your heart. Let him know just how much you want to be present. Challenge him. Jesus spoke and it is recorded in Mark 10.27. “With God, all things are possible.”
By faith, you plan, God equips and he empowers. It’s a winner every time. Watch him open up your schedule in ways you won’t believe. You’ll be present and thanked by your family; then God will be praised and receive the glory. That’s just how it works in the Kingdom. MERRY CHRISTMAS!