This Sunday is Father’s Day. You remembered, right? If you believe the ads, we’re all supposed to run out and buy our dads a tie / polo shirt / hand tool / golf club and wrap it up in manly paper. Along with that, we’re to buy a card thanking him for fixing everything / providing money / putting up with our youthful selves, and promising him a day in the hammock / on the golf course / at the BBQ.
You’ve made your gift list… something for your dad: check. Your father-in-law: check. If you’re a mom, the father of your children: check. If you have grandchildren, don’t forget to include your son or son-in-law. Now you can relax and look forward to the big day!
Well, there’s someone you forgot. Or should I say Someone. Ohhh, right, God is our Father too. Good grief, what do we give God for Father’s Day?
I’ve wracked my brain and come up with a few suggestions. First, what not to give God:
Don’t give God…
Lip service. “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13) and in Luke 6:46 Jesus asks, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” I believe the term for one who says one thing and does another is “hypocrite.” Ouch.
We need to put feet to our beliefs. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21).
Good deeds instead of quality time. Think of Mary and Martha. Martha was so busy serving Jesus that she never had a chance to sit down. Who gets praised? Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Or consider what I believe to be the scariest verse in the Bible: Matthew 7:22-23.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
It’s interesting that this follows immediately after verse 21, above. Yes, we do God’s will, but we also need to make sure we know him! Good deeds should never take the place of our relationship with God.
A tie. He already has all that he can use, trust me.
So, what gifts does God really want?
We can show mercy. In Hosea 6:6, God proclaims, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Is there someone who has wronged you, who needs your forgiveness? Is there someone you can show love to, who doesn’t deserve it?
We can care for widows and/or orphans. James 1:26 states that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress….” You can give money, but you will find it far more rewarding to give yourself. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, even for a day. Give a single parent a break and babysit their kids. Do some home repairs for an elderly widow.
We can give him ourselves. Think of the price God has paid for us. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1). Do what he says. Go where he sends. Let him work in your heart. The rewards are out of this world.
What other gifts can we give the Father? What are you getting him this year?