“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from
the Father of the heavenly lights.” (James 1:17, NIV)
This passage from the New Testament epistle of James describes our heavenly Father as the source of all the good things we enjoy during the time of grace He grants us on Earth.
If we were to draw up an itemized list of God’s good and perfect gifts, it would overflow onto many pages. For a starter, just think of the “daily bread” items which Dr. Martin Luther enumerates in his explanation to the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Small Catechism, including “Food, drink, clothes, shoes, house, home…” and so forth.
Each year on the third Sunday in June we are reminded of one particular gift which the Father of heavenly lights bestows on us: our fathers!
On this Fathers’ Day take time to consider and praise God for the vast array of blessings He has caused to flow down to you from above through your earthly father.
• The Christian training your father imparted during the hours he spent teaching you Bible stories and helping you grow in the grace and knowledge of your Savior.
• The loving discipline he administers when you misbehave so you will know the meaning of sin, and why the God of holiness needed to send His Son into our world in order to keep the commandments perfectly in our place and then give up His life on the cross to redeem us.
• The application of God’s forgiveness to your repentant heart. The sweet news that, thanks to Jesus, your transgressions have been removed from you as far as the east is from the west.
• The Christian values your father inculcates in you that serve as a guide for your life so that you may glorify your Savior and function as a useful member of society.
• The time your father puts in at a job to earn a paycheck so that you will have food to eat and clothes to wear.
Many more benefits of both body and soul could be mentioned which flow down to children from the Father of heavenly lights through their earthly fathers. As we think on them, we cannot but agree with the Christian man who once said to a friend:
“God has given me one of the greatest gifts ever. I call that
There may be readers of this article whose fathers are absent from their life. If this is true for you, please consider how the God of faithfulness has blessed you in other ways.
Has He provided you with a surrogate father who is offering you guidance, discipline, and support? …Or with a loving grandfather who is “there for you”? …Or with an older sibling, uncle, or family friend who is serving as a positive influence in your life?
Even if there is no father figure in your life, you still have reason to lift up your heart in praise to God. For Jesus’ sake, He gives you assurances such as the following.
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters”
(2 Corinthians 6:19).
“I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13).
And if you have been blessed by the Lord to be a father yourself, it may seem at times that the task God has given you to raise your children for Him is a daunting one. You may wonder how you can do it successfully in the face of the stiff challenges which Christian parents and children face when living in a godless world.
May you also draw encouragement from the promises of God. Know without a doubt that as you look to His Word for direction and strength, He will equip you for the awesome assignment—and privilege—He has given you as a parent. He will equip you so that you can raise your children for Him, leaving them the rich heritage of faith in Jesus, the Savior of all.
May our heavenly Father guide you and your children dependably along life’s path until you arrive safely at the eternal mansions which He, by His Son, has prepared for you!