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"I Get No Respect"

…You teach him all that and then he's bigger and stronger and he can hit you and you don't want him to hit you anymore. You say "alright son!" and you turn him loose on high school and he's running up and down the field, high school, touchdown! 800 touchdowns per game and you say 'Yeah that's my son'. And he goes to a big college and he's playing for a big school. 3 million students and 800 hundred thousand people in the stands 'Raw, raw, raw, raw,'. National TV and he catches the winning touchdown and he doesn't even bother to get out of the way, he just runs over everybody... zhoooooom! And for TV he turns around and the camera's on him and your looking at him and he says 'Hi mom!' …… Well you don't mind that! You know who taught him."

- Bill Cosby

As eloquently stated by the famous Rodney Dangerfield "I get no respect" is the lot for dad. Yes, while mom did birth the offspring's giant melon heads out of a ridiculously small area, dad is also the one who has similar pain in the same area when standing too close behind little Timmy's bat during baseball practice. All kidding aside, I believe dad is often person in the family who we have all taken for granted. He's like the little creature we let out of the closet when we need a light bulb changed or need a pickle jar opened. How often as a kid have I said "Oops I broke the lamp, but no worries dad will fix that." Or "Leftovers! Don't think so! Dad will eat it, he's the human equivalent of a garbage disposal!" Oh.. you mean you've never said that? Just me? Well…. The point is that we have all taken pops for granted, but more importantly I want to make the case that when we have this attitude we also take God for granted.

If you heard Stan McGehee Jr's, AKA my dad, message on Father's Day you know that he made a very good point. Titled "Honor the Father God Gave You" he gave biblical precedent why we should honor our father whether or not we think he's a good father. And no, the standard of whether he's a good father doesn't include whether he mows the lawn in his white undershirt, knee-high black dress socks and sandals. No the standard for whether he has fulfilled his duty as the family's figure head can be listed as follows:

  1. Leads his family in worship and in the ways of the Lord.
  2. Provides for his family.
  3. Provides a vacation deemed appropriate by his family (No dads! A trip to world's largest toilet bowl doesn't count).

Oh…. You mean the vacation is not a criterion? Well I guess I'm alone on that one. Everyone knows that a dad needs to provide the physical needs for his family. I want to focus on the spiritual aspect.

An often forgetten aspect of a dad's responsibility is that of leading his family in worship and in spiritual life. I remember waking up on Sunday mornings as a child at approximately 7:29 AM. I had a sense of dread because I knew that exactly 7:30 AM, just as certain as the sun would rise, dad would come into my room and say "Time for church boys! Get up so we can praise the Lord!" So like any child who thinks they are being forced into involuntary servitude, I dragged my limp body out of bed and thought "Must we go to church EVERY Sunday?" Then suddenly my dad, the clairvoyant, replied, "Yes we must go to church EVERY Sunday!" So I crawled into the bathroom and got ready to "worship the Lord" (said with a sarcastic tone). But what I failed to see is what most of America takes for granted, we GET to worship the Lord. As many of you know the Western world is in a unique position, we get to do what we want, when we want, for the most part. This includes when and where we worship. However, in many parts of the world there is not a comfortable or safe place to worship. In America where there is a church within a 1-mile radius of everyone (Just like Starbucks), we assume God will understand if I don't make it this week. Sound familiar? In Joshua 24:15 the nation of Israel is told, as they were struggling with pagan influences, something all fathers should strive to:

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

Godly fathers should indeed take this stand that whatever may come. "Hell or high water" we will serve the Lord. So when our earthly fathers try to emulate the wishes of the heavenly father we should dutifully obey, especially when it comes to worship.

Godly instruction is something we also take for granted. However, God doesn't take it so lightly. God gave this charge to fathers in Deuteronomy 11:9 "You shall teach them (scriptures) to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." In this passage he commands fathers to teach the Word of God to their children, not when it's convenient or when they feel like it, but all the time! When our fathers lead us in worship they are instilling the laws of the Lord in our hearts so we do not forget them. When fathers fail to do so, it is reflected in their children and they start to take the Lord for granted. So being a "Bible-Thumper" is not such a bad thing after all!

So next time your father tries to tell you a thing or two about the Lord, even though he might cause you think "Gosh dad!", take what he says to heart and remember that he is fulfilling his calling.

- Jordan McGehee