Some Father’s Day Reflections on Fathers

Shelburne Portrait

Well, here comes Father’s Day. Honestly, I don’t much need a calendar, a card company, and a proclamation or a few for me to wax reflective about fathers and fatherhood.

I’m a fellow who thinks that perhaps the most poignant verse in all of Scripture is the heart-rending cry of the great king who was also a father and would have cast aside a thousand crowns to save his son: “O Absalom! My son, my son!”

For that matter, I’ll even admit to leaking a quiet tear or two toward the end of more than a few episodes of my favorite TV show Blue Bloods. Why? Because this “police show” actually centers on family, is bold enough to portray a family’s Christian faith respectfully, and, most of all, focuses on a father’s relationship with his kids. That’ll get me every time. Besides that, Tom Selleck and I are obviously peas in a pod.

The special day for fathers is fine, but I rarely take a breath on any day without realizing that way up high on the short list of the best blessings the Father put into my life is my father. That I would be the son of the finest man I have ever known is a gift of pure grace. I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t, and don’t, and couldn’t, deserve it in the least.

If you’ve had that same kind of blessing, and I hope you have, then you know the proper response for that kind of father is humility and eternal gratitude to the Father of us all. You had a giant step forward from the moment of your birth in experiencing and learning about the love of your heavenly Father. No small blessing, that.

But I hope you know that you DO have the best Father of all, no matter the quality of your earthly one. And, if you’re part of Christ’s Body, the church, the blessing is multiplied as he has promised “fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters” far beyond our merely human allotment! What an amazing family! All because of our amazing Father.

Fathers, and all of us, hear a lot these days about teaching kids to believe in themselves. I know what folks mean, and, yes, low self-esteem can cause a wad of problems. But I wonder if we’re not coming at this, as usual, from the wrong way around.

G. K. Chesterton was right when he said that if you want to find someone who completely and absolutely believes in himself, all you have to do is find the craziest inmate in the asylum. Truly sane people believe in Someone much bigger than themselves.

My father took care of my “self-esteem” issues by getting the focus right himself. It would never have occurred to Dad to waste time navel-gazing, agonizing about whether or not he believed in himself. My father was far too busy helping his family, and many others, believe in the Father of us all, the One who absolutely loves, values, and counts each child as precious. “Self” esteem is pretty thin stuff compared to knowing for sure that your Father esteems and delights in you.


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Copyright 2013 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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