Some argue that Father's Day had its origins in Catholic Europe of the Middle Ages with the celebration of Saint Joseph's Day. But, according to the Census Bureau, in 1909, Sonora Dodd listened to a Mother's Day sermon and suggested having a day to honor fathers. Her father was a Civil War veteran who raised six children alone. In 1910, a Father's Day in June was declared by the mayor of Spokane because of her efforts. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared Father's Day to be the third day in June. President Nixon signed the law that made the holiday permanent in 1972.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans were expected to spend $15.5 billion honoring dads on Father's Day—an increase of $1.2 billion from last year's record. Celebrants were expected to spend the most on special outings such as meals totaling $3.3 billion, followed by clothing totaling $2.2 billion, gift certificates/cards totaling $2.2 billion and computer related items totaling $1.8 billion. Most celebrants, 64.3 percent of them, purchased greeting cards. But a significant number of celebrants also spent money on special outings such as 48 percent on meals, 46.1 percent on clothing and 42.6 percent spending money on gift certificates/cards.
A fatherly influence is important. Statistics show that children from father-absent homes are at an increased risk of poverty, drug abuse, obesity and behavioral problems. The efforts of men who diligently seek to fulfill their fatherhood responsibilities are to be applauded.
In addition to earthly fathers, believers should use the holiday and every day to remember the love, faithfulness and kindness of our heavenly Father. He is above all, and His lovingkindness is everlasting. All good things come from Him. He is love, and He loved us enough that He sent His only begotten son to give us eternal life. Eternal life is defined as knowing the Father and Jesus, whom He has sent to reconcile us.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
"And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love" (1 John 4:16).
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
"This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent" (John 17:3).
The only way to come to our heavenly Father is through faith in Jesus. Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior moves us from darkness to light, from death to eternal life and from servants to membership in God's family. We become sons and daughters of God and heirs through Christ.
"I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not remain in darkness" (John 12:46).
"Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has eternal life" (John 6:47).
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
"So when we were children, we were in bondage to the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Gal. 4:3-7).
We are told to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. As we pray in secret, the Father rewards us. When we give in secret, the Father rewards us. As we fast in secret, the Father rewards us.
"Therefore pray in this manner: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name" (Matt. 6:9).
"On that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying to you that I shall ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came from God" (John 16:26-27).
"But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matt. 6:6).
"that your charitable deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (Matt. 6:4).
"so that you will not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matt. 6:18).
We should let our light shine before men so that they may glorify our heavenly Father (Matt. 5:16). We love our enemies so that we act like sons of our Father (Matt. 5:44-45). We forgive the sins of others so that our heavenly Father will forgive us of our sins (Matt. 6:14). Followers of Jesus should demonstrate our discipleship to the Lord by bearing much fruit which glorifies the Father (John 15:8).
We serve one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. During His earthly ministry, Jesus only said what He had heard the Father say and do what He had seen the Father do. We would do well to follow the Lord Jesus with all of our heart and gain the promise that the Father will honor us.
"I know that His command is eternal life. Therefore what I say, I say as the Father tells me" (John 12:50).
"Then Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does" (John 5:19).
"If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him" (John 12:26).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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