Summary: Earthly father’s and our heavenly father have simular desires.

Father’s Day

Luke 15:11-32

Let’s start with a little trivia this morning. What day of the year are the most phone calls made???…… Mother’s day! It seems that on mother’s day everyone wants to call home and check in.

What do you think happens on father’s day? Any one want to make a Guess?

Fathers day it known for the most ….. Collect Calls.

A small boy said, "Father’s Day is just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the gift."

For the most part, Mom’s are blessed with the special ability of nurture and healing. They can often heal the body and soul of life’s hurts.

Father’s day seems like a day set aside as someone’s attempt of giving dads equal time. I know it was done with the right heart. But, it has never had the draw and impact that mother’s day has enjoyed.

--Two children came home from school and started begging their mother to allow them to take ownership of the classroom pet. This wonderful creature that the children wanted so much was a hamster named Davie.

Mom kept saying no and had plenty of good reason why the children could not bring Davie home.

It finally came down to an explanation that a pet is a lot of responsibility and work. As children do, they both promised to do everything to take care of Davie. And after hours of begging and promises Mom said, yes.

But she made it very clear that if the children stopped taking proper care that she would quickly make arrangements to find Davie a new home.

It had only been a couple of weeks when Mom had to constantly remind the children about feeding and watering and cleaning up. About two more weeks passed and mom started making calls and found a home for Davie.

She went into the living room to tell the children about her decision. She told them that Davie had become a lot of work for just one person. That they had not been much of help and that she found him a new home.

She was surprised when the children did not seem bothered by her announcement.

Then her daughter said, is it because he eats too much? Maybe they could find a way to help him eat less.

Mom said, that it was not the eating so much as the mess and the smell. And then there was all the extra work that she had to do cleaning up. The children seemed to understand and nodded in a sort of agreement and turned back toward their TV program. Mom went and picked up Davies’s cage and assorted supplies and headed back through the living room.

The kids saw her carrying the cage and started shouting, hey, what are you doing with Davie?

Mom responded, We just talked about this. Because of all the extra work and having to do it all by herself she had found Davie a new home.

The children said, “No not Davie, we thought you said daddy.”

Dads are different, Dads just seen to be like some of the tools in the garage that are just sitting there until you need them.

The current culture likes to laugh at dads and poke fun in all kinds of ways at the dads that are involved with their children. A bit different from the TV shows form the 50s and 60s where dad was a guide and had wisdom and reason.

We have gone from a time of TV character dads like Ward Cleaver, Ozzie Nelson, Howard Cunningham, and Mike Brady to Archie bunker, Al Bundy, and Homer Simpson.

I wonder how that has directly affected many young men’s view of fatherhood.

To modify a common phrase, “Dad’s don’t get no respect.”

We are not really talking about the ills of TV and culture today. We are here to consider our dads.

Dads are normally very different than moms and tend to be the one to fix broken stuff, solve certain logical problems, act as the provider and defender of the family, especially daughters.

I believe that most of us use our own fathers as a guide on what we believe God is like. If your father was distant or not there you probably feel that God is the same way.

Some of us have a real fear of our fathers. We fear punishment and rejection.

(Wait until your daddy Gets Home!) Dad was often used as the ultimate punishment machine. Some believe God is just waiting us for all of our mistakes.

OR for some, we may have found that we could not be good enough.

Perhaps it was grades, or friends and or any choices in your life that were judged harshly. And you just can’t see how you can satisfy your dad. We feel like God is disappointed in us.

Perhaps it was or is some combination of good and bad traits that you think of when you think about your dad.

Let me just say that it is unfair to God to use an earthly standard to judge what he is like and that the bible is our best source of insight into what our heavenly father is like.

- But I do believe that scripture suggest what an earthly father should be like.

In our scripture today, we have the story of a dad and two sons. It is a parable told by Jesus to illustrate what God was like when his children stray. It is about what God wants.

It describes family relationships and how different members act.

If we think about it, you can probably find your place in the story.

- Some of us may look at our life right now and realize that we thought we were grownup and we moved out to make our own mistakes.

- Others may feel that we have stayed with the family and have done the best we can with all kinds of limits on our lives.

- Some of us loosely see ourselves in the dad position and we are doing the best we know how.

In our scripture, the father, gives his younger son, what the asked. He hands over his share of what would one day be his inheritance.

I am not sure that it is the giving of the inheritance that is the point. It is the gift of freedom and the ability to go that is the action.

Dads want to give their kids the things they want. They want their children to be happy. They want their children to become independent.

-- Dads will let you make a mistake and hope you will learn from it.

Dads will love you through your pain and suffering, many times never saying a word, perhaps not knowing what to say.

I believe that the story indicates that our heavenly father fives us free will. He allows us the freedom to choose. He could control us, and make the path easy to choose Him but, he keeps just enough distance that we had a choice…..

So if we are to be like our heavenly father we should do the same thing.

Dads should to allow us to make choices for ourselves. Humm that is not at all easy….

In Jesus’ story the son comes running back home, but only after messing up royally.

In the story, the father is looking down the road, almost as if he expected or longing for the son to come home.

And when it happens, he meets him down the road. And is happy to see him and accept him back as a son.

Let me remind you that Jesus is talking about his/our heavenly father and not an earthly one. He is talking about a perfect father and not an earthly one.

I know more than one father that has accepted their children back home in this way. Sometimes they come home with Grandchildren in tow. …… and a lot of emotional baggage that everyone involved would prefer to ignore.

My thought this morning is that ….as an earthly dad my goal is to be like our heavenly father.

----Man what big shoes to try to slip my feet into.

I don’t know if I can come anywhere close to the father in this story. I don’t know that I can be like the men I know that have already lived a similar story in real life.

I fear that as my children grow up and if they make some big mistakes in their lives I am going to be tempted to say I TOLD you SO!

What scares me most, I Fear I will make it hard for my kids to come home after they make a big mistake.

As a dad I am also likely to choose a favorite. I might say something like why can’t you be like your brother. Stay here near home, work hard, make a life for yourself.

As the earthly dad, it is really easy to try to make a comparison between the kids. Use one against the other to try to influence and control.

But, even the kids at home can have problems with dad.

Perhaps we kept them from becoming independent. We sheltered them and did not prepare them for the real world, maybe we were over protective.

Maybe we should have encouraged some independence and just a little risk taking.

-- Maybe this is just something I hope is true…but, I don’t think that there are any perfect earthly dads.

However, I still think God wants me to be like the father in the story.

In my heart I want to be like the dad in this story, to be a perfect dad.

But I know I am human.

But what is the difference between God and myself. In this parable we see a father that has a divine love.

I see a father that can always do the right thing because He is God. He, as my father, and I know I am not like that. I know I am making mistakes and getting deeper and deeper into trouble.

Mark Twain said, "When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man learned in 7 years."

For us being a father is a learning process. We get help from scripture and other men we know. In the process me may feel like some of the dads we see on today TV shows.

And then we come to father’s day and our families want to offer us acknowledgement and even some kind of a simple reward.

The family worries about what to get for father’s day….They wonder

Are we looking for a special Tie, chosen by our children, something that represents their love for us or some aspect of our personality?

Do we want a new multifunction remote control that will operate every appliance in our house?

Do we want breakfast in bed or to go out to lunch?

Maybe it is Sports illustrated Magazine or some special power tool?

I guess I should make this a personal answer and unfortunately It is not something that the family can give me. ….

I want to be a better father. I would like to be a perfect father like I see God being. Wisdom, vision, perfect love and know just what to say and do in any situation.

What does the story suggest that a dad wants?

They want to know their children are doing well and are not suffering.

They want their children to know that that can come home.

The want their children to we wise and equipped to face the world.

-- God has the wisdom to let us learn the hard way, and the love to welcome us back anytime we goof up, no matter how bad.

God never sez I told you so.

God is God, and God is the perfect father.

When we go off to a far country, never expecting to return, he waits, Not patiently but anxiously for our return.

What an earthly father wants is the same as the heavenly father.

But they are at a disadvantage, we love to be perfect, but most know they aren’t.

Just like the heavenly father they wait anxiously for the phone to ring, and are more than willing to accept the charges to hear from their children.

Because, you know your mom worries, if we don’t hear from you……

Our God would love to hear from all of you on this father’s Day!

Call… call collect and often; because, you know he worries.

There is nothing He likes more that to hear from you!

All Glory be to God!