As I right this, it is Father’s Day evening. It has been a special day with my family and of getting to preach in the pulpit of Westlake Baptist Church. One thing that those who regularly worship with us at WBC are familiar with now is the fact that I don’t preach the typical holiday messages. The two “holiday” messages that I preach are Christmas and Easter. Is there anything wrong with preaching a special Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, or 4th of July message? I would say no. In fact, I can remember growing up and going to church and hearing those special messages on those days. One question I have been asked for the past several years is why I do not preach such messages. While claiming no moral authority or superiority over those who choose to preach such messages, I want to present the three reasons why I don’t.
- No other name. There is no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved we are told in Acts 4:12. Of course that name Peter is speaking of is the name of Jesus. He is the Savior of the world, and the only hope for the world. Therefore, I want to make sure that every week I get the privilege of preaching, I exalt the name of Jesus and point others to Him. Can you do that while preaching about moms and dads? Yes, but I have often found in the times I have tried, that the sermons were a struggle for me to preach. Trying to find the right balance between exalting Jesus and praising moms and dads became very difficult for me.
- The purpose of the corporate gathering. When we gather weekly for worship, it is to honor, glorify, and praise the name of God. When we spend an entire service or at least a sermon speaking about moms or dads, we pull people’s focus away from God. And while we may be able to make mom or dad feel good, we are not fulfilling the purpose of the corporate worship service. Another aspect of this is that not everyone had a good relationship with their mother or father. While praising godly moms or dads, we may increase the guilt of those moms and dads who feel like they are failing at being a godly parent. We may create hard feelings in those who didn’t grow up with a godly mom or dad. In either case, again it is pulling our mind, heart, and focus off the real reason we have gathered in the church building that day. This doesn’t mean that we should acknowledge moms and dads. Rather, it means that we need to keep the main thing, the main thing. We need to encourage moms and dads to have their identity in Christ, not in being the best parent. And we need to point those who have had a difficult upbringing to look to Christ, and not their earthly parents who are fallen and sinful.
- Leading from God through prayer. It’s not that I don’t want to preach about moms and dads. I like to be able to encourage people. But my calling as a pastor is to pray and see what God says the people need to hear, not what would make me popular with them. Should call ever impress on me that I need to preach on one of the non-biblical holidays, I pray that I will listen and be lead of the Spirit and be obedient to the prompting. But week after week, I seek to glorify God in my life and in my preaching. For those preachers who preach the special holiday messages, as long as God leads you to do it, be faithful to Him. But for those who do it because that is what the people expect, let us remember that we will give an account for how we shepherded the souls of those under our care (Heb. 10:38).
I want to close this blog by saying that I thank God for godly moms and dads. When you focus your life on pleasing and living for God, and being obedient to Him; you will teach a better sermon with your life than I could ever preach. To those who are struggling under guilt and frustration because they are living up to the standard that God calls you to; confess it to God and seek His direction. We are all fallen sinners in need of a Savior. Rest and trust in Him, and seek to be obedient to Him in all you do, and God will be pleased. To those who didn’t have a great relationship with a parent growing up; allow your pain and their imperfections as a parent to point you to the all-sufficient, perfect God. Your earthly parents may let you down, but our Heavenly Father never will!
God bless you, happy Father’s day to all the dads.