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a generous father

By James Ray | 11 June 2014

Generous fathers - a blog by James Ray for Stewardship

It’s often said that 'It’s easy to be a father, but hard to be a dad'. But what does it actually mean to be a dad? Is it even possible for us to ever clearly define the role of dad? Each of us has a unique viewpoint. Personal experience plays a significant role and it's surprising how much we end up becoming like our parents – even the stuff we don’t like, for some strange reason, we naturally imitate. 

I recently spoke to a father who was complaining that his dad NEVER read him bedtime stories. He was upset and hurt by this and had held it against his father as a huge and damaging failing. 

‘So do you often engage with the bedtime routine with your own children?’ I asked. 

‘No.’ he said flatly, without much thought. And then, after a pause, a look of revelation and horror passed over his face. He hadn’t made the connection. He hadn’t realised that the very wound he had suffered he was now potentially perpetuating. 

As dads, I think it's important to see where we are making the same mistakes.  We dads need to explore together how we can still be fantastic fathers even in the areas in which our own dads were lacking or absent. 

I’m so grateful for all the positive role models in my personal life and in the history books – and even the ones in the Bible stories – but it’s important to remember that no earthly father has everything figured out. Many people today struggle as a result of a lack of love from their parents – especially their fathers.  

Yet the Bible does point to one perfect model and that’s the model of God the Father. He is called 'Abba' which means Daddy. 

So no matter what your relationship with your parents is like, you can still begin to picture what a relationship with a perfect father would look like. 

A Father whose faithfulness is without question, whose generosity is unlimited, whose affection is tender and loving, whose presence is permanent, whose acceptance is unconditional, whose communication with us is constructive, and whose authority is right and true.  Father God is not going to fail us, especially when we are struggling.  Some earthly parents only provide love when they feel their children deserve it.  Not God.  The amazing truth is that our Father is merciful and gives us love and protection, even when we don’t deserve it…and that’s a great help to me! 

So, this Father's Day, I recommend that you determine to get to know your Heavenly Father better and allow him to shape your relationship with your parents, your children and those you look after and influence.  Everyone needs a dad, and we are called to serve the widows and orphans. We have a responsibility to be dads, even to those who aren’t our biological children. Choose to be a daddy (Abba), and draw on the strength and the example of Father God, because the impact of healthy fathering is massively far reaching.

Posted by James Ray

A former House Parent in a British boarding school, where, with his wife, he looked after 50 teenage boys. He now runs Restore Hope, a charity dedicated to inspiring hope and helping those in need. James is also a founder of the Me & My Dad series - designed to support, encourage and inspire fathers. He lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife and their two boys (Arthur, 4yrs & Samson, 8yrs). They also have an adopted son who's just turned 19yrs.


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