The Readings (1 Sam. 15.34-16.7; Mark 4.26-33; and 2 Cor. 4.6-15) give us good teaching on the role of Fathers as co-creators with God, wives and friends, of the Kingdom of God on Earth. This is a spiritual kingdom based on love and faith where men are judged by what is in their heart, not by outward appearances. The two agricultural images of reaping what we sow and taking responsibility for sheep, help us understand what God expects men to do in our time.
1. Many men have lost their identity and authority in our time
Men and women were given their identity and authority by God. In Genesis 1.28 we are taught they are to ‘fill the earth and subdue it’.
The rest of the Bible is the story of how men and women have struggled to fill the earth and subdue it over the last 4,000 years. In our time there has been a serious loss of male identity and authority:
· Many men have not had fathers who taught them how to be a man and a father
· Many men have not read, been taught or studied the Bible
· Many men have either lost their faith or never had a faith
· Separated from God they have lost their identity & direction
· Separated from God they have lost their authority as priests to the family and become self-centred and isolated
· Women have shamed men and often replaced them as the spiritual authority in the family in our time
· Good news is that many men are now beginning to realize that they need to attend a church and join a Bible Study group to re-discover their identity
The story of Samuel anointing David as the future King of Israel teaches us what God wants to see in our lives. What God wants to see is a growth in love. The Parable of the Mustard seed reminds us that love can start as something very small – a boy tending sheep, and grow into something very big – a God-loving King of Israel. The shepherd is the model God teaches us for how to be a man:
· Reliability – the shepherd is alone with the sheep
· Responsibility – he has to solve any problems
· Protector – sheep get lost, attacked by predators
· Provider – sheep need to be moved to food and water
· Self-sacrificial love – life based on the needs of others
3. Fathers are co-creators of the Kingdom of God
The Mark Readings are called “kingdom Parables” because Jesus is teaching us what the Kingdom of God is like. This is an invisible, spiritual kingdom that we are part of through our love of God and each other. Our acts of love, worship and prayer are outward visible signs of this Kingdom. Fathers are co-creators of this Kingdom when they work with God, their wives and other people to increase love.
a. Co-creators with God:
i. God provides direction, teaching, wisdom and strength – tells Samuel where to go, what to do
ii. Fathers get this through Bible reading, prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.- need to stay connected
b. Co-creators with wives:
i. Wives give birth and provide the nurture, physical, emotional and spiritual help needed to grow love
ii. Fathers provide the material and emotional support wives need to nurture this growth in love
iii. Fathers, like shepherds, provide the security and protection needed to enable this growth of love
c. Co-creators with others:
i. Fathers need to work with other people in a community to develop the Kingdom of God
ii. Samuel visits Jesse to anoint David
iii. Fathers do works of love to help others and create a community based on love relationships
Father’s Day is a celebration of the self-sacrificial love of fathers in co-creating the Kingdom of God
If we sow a little love - we reap a great deal of love.