Fatherlessness has become all too common in our generation. The results have led to a deconstruction of the family God intended. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “between 1991 and 2009, children living with only their mother increased from 21 percent to 24 percent.”1 That’s almost one out of every four! Saying that’s not good would be an understatement. Although this crisis is relatively new to the U.S., it’s not new historically. It was a problem in Bible times too:
“You may have ten thousand teachers in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers.”
1 Corinthians 4:15a, Easy-to-Read Version
Well, what, really, is a father?
Taking the above verse in context, Paul wasn’t necessarily talking about dads abandoning their posts. Essentially he was talking about spiritual fatherhood:
“For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”1 Corinthians 4:15b, New King James Version
Paul seemed to be indicating that there was an epidemic of men who were not part of raising up the next generation; that is, making disciples. Whether it was a matter of these men being unwilling or uninterested is not known. What is known today is that an entire family’s faith is in jeopardy when a father isn’t present. The Baptist Press, in its article entitled “Want your church to grow? Then bring in the men,” reports that if a father is the first to become a believer in his family, there is a 93 percent probability that everyone else in the household will follow.2 Wow! As a dad goes, so goes a family, and so goes a society. This tells me that if a society is going to be godly, dads must be a part of it, whether they are biological dads or spiritual dads.
Now, what is needed to remedy the problem of fatherlessness? I would venture to say it’s not a what that’s needed, but a who! Read this verse:
“[John the Baptist] will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”Luke 1:17, NKJV (brackets mine)
If John the Baptist was the cure for fatherlessness in his day, what would it be like to have a reemergence of people like him today? I believe it’s something that needs to happen.
I am thankful that God has sent men to be fathers in my life. They have raised me up to take my place in raising up the next generation. This Father’s Day, I’m going to honor them in the way the Lord says:
“Children honor their fathers.”Malachi 1:6, ERV
I encourage you to honor the men in your life who have been fathers to you. They were used of God to help make you who you are. And, of course, make sure you honor the Father of all fathers, God Himself!
“You may have ten thousand teachers in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers.”1 Corinthians 4:15a, Easy-to-Read Version
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