Sermon for Sunday June 17th, 2012



A Father’s Pride by Steve Shepherd

Job 29:4-29:5

INTRO.- I Peter 5:5 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Pride is not good. Most of the time it is not good because it deals with self and not others.

ILL.- I love the old story about a lady who went to preacher to make a confession. She said to him, “I must confess a great sin in my life.” He said, “What is it?” She said, “It’s the sin of pride. I stand in front of my mirror and admire my beauty for hours on end.” The preacher replied, “Lady, your sin is not the sin of pride. IT’S THE SIN OF THE IMAGINATION!”

Sometimes people imagine themselves as being far greater or far better looking than they really are! And that is a sin, anyway you cut it!

Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”

Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”

ILL.- A news release told of a Charlotte, North Carolina, woman who set a world record while playing a convenience store video game. After standing in front of the game for fourteen hours and scoring an unprecedented seven and a half million points on a game called "Tapper," the woman was pleased to see a TV crew arriving to record her efforts. She continued to play while the crew, alerted by her fiancé, prepared to shoot. However, she was appalled to see the video screen suddenly go blank. While setting up their lights, the camera team had accidentally unplugged the game, thus bringing her bid for ten million points to an untimely end! The effort to publicize her achievement became the agent of her ultimate failure.

When you’re good at something, don’t advertise it. It will be evident. No, if you are good at something and it’s something good, advertise the Lord instead.

I Corinthians 1:30-31 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

I Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Pride in oneself is not good unless we give the Lord the credit for that good and point to Him. Having pride in someone else can be a form of commendation or a compliment.

As in: “I’m proud of you. You did a good job.” I think it’s great when we take some pride in the accomplishments of others and commend them. We humans are often slow to commend others. We are quick to criticize but slow to commend.

What does pride have to do with fatherhood? A lot. I think most fathers have a certain amount of pride in some areas of their lives. And that can be a good type of pride if directed toward the Lord.

PROP.- A father’s pride can be seen in several areas of his life.
1- He has pride in his children
2- He has pride in his work
3- He has pride in his faith

I. HE HAS PRIDE IN HIS CHILDREN

Job 29:4-5 “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me.”

Don’t we all want God’s intimate friendship to bless our homes? That doesn’t just happen when the children are still at home, however. God’s intimate friendship can bless our homes as we make Him our intimate friend by welcoming Him into every area of our lives: marriage, work, socializing, worship, etc.

Psalm 8:2 “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

How can a father or a mother not be proud of their children when they hear their children sing praise to God and pray.

ILL.- On April 9-12 I flew to Richmond, VA, to visit my daughter Holly and her family. When 4 year old Hayden prayed at the table in the past, she prayed fast, “Thank you, God, for this food. Amen. Amen.” This year she prayed, “Thank you, God, for this food and help us to have a good trip to Disneyworld.”

How can a parent not be proud of a small child who is willing and able to pray? Sweet are children’s prayers.

Psalm 34:11 “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

How does a father teach his children the fear of the Lord? By fearing the Lord himself! When a father fears the Lord and shows reverence for the Lord through personal worship and public worship, he has a better chance of teaching his children to fear the Lord. When he makes the Lord a priority his children have a better chance of doing the same.

ILL.- While visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in April I noticed that Chris was reading his Bible. I said something dumb like, “What are doing reading the Bible?” He said he was keeping up with his Bible reading schedule. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD A PREACHER BE READING THE BIBLE? Duh! I would say that Chris is doing what he should do and also, giving his children a good example of Christian living.

ILL.- I know that when son Shane was little I would take him calling with me. I don’t recall if I ever took Holly calling, but I probably did. I do remember, however, taking four-year old Shane on a particular shut-in call one time. We were getting ready to leave their home and Shane said, “Dad, aren’t you going to pray for them?”

I don’t think we parents and fathers ever lose our sense of pride over our children, that is, when they do well in life.

ILL.- I am proud of Holly and Chris’ marriage of nearly 18 years and three sweet children they have brought into this world. And I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law. Holly chose well. I am proud of her choosing to teach kids as a ministry of sorts and her involvement in music and teaching in their church. I am proud of the way she mothers her children and how they have learned to obey.

I am just as proud of Shane and Heather and baby Sophia. I am proud of son Shane’s involvement in the church that he and Heather attends in Cape Girardeau, MO. Shane plays his guitar for their three weekend services. In fact, his great desire is to be a worship leader in a church. He’s not had any traditional training in that realm but that doesn’t mean that his dream won’t come true. Many people are involved in church ministry work who never had any formal training and they do excellent work. I am proud of Shane and Heather’s parenting.

Psalm 115:14-15 “May the LORD make you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” May you and your children be blessed by the Lord. Amen. Should not this be our wish and our prayer?

Proverbs 20:7 “The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.”

II. HE HAS PRIDE IN HIS WORK

Proverbs 12:13-14 “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.”

Do you want the work of your hands to reward you? THEN WORK HARD. Take pride in your work.

Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Ecclesiastes 2:24 “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.”

I think any person can find some satisfaction in their work. It all depends on how they look at it. I think when a person thinks of terms of pleasing God and blessing people, then you can find some satisfaction in your work.

I think it’s wonderful when a dad wants to work and takes a certain amount of pride in his work. I’m glad to see a father who works hard to do his very best and perhaps even goes beyond what most others do.

ILL.- Someone said, “My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.”

ILL.- It is said that each day across the USA 50,000 people quit their jobs. In a survey of workers across the USA, nearly 85% said that they could work harder of the job. And more than half claimed they could double their effectiveness "if (they) wanted to." That leaves a lot of room for improvement!!!

ILL.- I remember something that happened in the first job stocking job I had at the Foodtown grocery store in Webb City, MO. I was probably 18 years old and there was another stock clerk who was probably only 20 years old, but he was newly married and also going to college as well. I remember pushing my cart full of merchandise to the aisle that I was stocking. I had started to stock the shelves when I got called away for some reason. I don’t remember what it was, but they may have needed me to help carry out groceries up front. When I came back to my cart of merchandise that I was stocking, I found it was already done. I had a cart of empty boxes. And I thought, “What in the world is going on?”

It didn’t take long before I found out what happened. While I had gone to the front of the store to help with the customers that married stocker had come to my aisle and completed my job. He did it as a joke on me, but it blew my mind that he was that good and that fast. And he had taught me a lesson about stocking. DON’T WASTE TIME. DO THE BEST YOU CAN!

Normally, haste makes waste, but that guy was fast and good at his work. And he guy didn’t waste time talking. HE WORKED. And even when he talked, he worked. He knew how to do both. And that was a lesson that my manager said that I needed to learn: talk and work at the same time.

Now here’s the reverse of this: I remember a guy who worked part-time as a church janitor. He was a good man but he would never wear out shoe leather walking. And he never knew what it was to sweat when he worked. That’s hard for me to understand, because I think we should always take pride in our work and do the best we can, not the least we can.

Job 1:10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.”

Satan said to God about Job: “You have blessed the work of his hands.” Hey, I want God to bless the work of my hands in everything I do, don’t you want this as well?

I don’t care if it’s when I mow the grass, wash the car or write sermons. I want God to bless my work. This should hold true for every godly father. It should be true for every Christian!

III. HE HAS PRIDE IN HIS FAITH

Psalm 31:23 “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.” Or protects the faithful.

I appreciate Christian fathers who are faithful to the Lord. I think that’s one of the best they can do for their own faith and the faith of their family. BE FAITHFUL and then you’ll experience God’s protection on your life.

Psalm 37:28 “For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;”

ILL.- James Dobson’s “Faith-Full” Parents: Of all the values transmitted to me by my father, none made a more lasting impression than his attitude toward money. As an evangelist, he could never depend on the compensation he would be given. The local church would collect a freewill offering for my father, but many times the gifts were barely sufficient to pay his traveling expenses. Furthermore, he would usually stay with the pastor during a ten-day revival. While there, he often observed that the children needed shoes or books or medication.

On the final night of the meeting when the modest offering was given to him, my dad would take enough money to get home, and then donate the balance to meet the needs of the pastor’s family. Then my dad would return to be greeted by my mother and me. I can still hear the conversations between my good parents.

“Did you have a successful revival?” my mother would ask. “The Lord was with us,” my dad would reply. “How much did they pay you?” “Well, I need to talk to you about that,” my father would say, grinning. “I know,” Mom would say. “You gave it all away, didn’t you?” My mother would invariably sanction his decision, saying if my dad felt that way, it was all right. God had always taken good care of us and would continue to do so. A few days later when the bills began to accumulate, our little family would gather on our knees before the Lord. Dad would pray first.

“Lord, you know we’ve been faithful with the resources you’ve given us. We’ve tried to be responsive to the needs of others when you laid them on our hearts. Now, Lord, my family is in need. You’ve said, ‘Give and it shall be given unto you’ (Luke 6:38). So we bring to you our empty meal barrel and ask you to fill it.”

As a child, I listened intently to these prayers and watched carefully to see how God responded. I tell you without exaggeration that money invariably arrived in the next few days. God did not make us rich, as some ministers promise today. But He never let us go hungry.

On one occasion, $1200 arrived in the mail the day after this hard up family prayer. My childlike faith grew by leaps and bounds at this demonstration of trust and sacrifice by my father and mother.

James Dobson had a father who trusted the Lord and took pride in living a faithful Christian life. And look at how his son turned out! James Dobson of Focus on the Family fame! A great Christian man whose done a great deal of good for the cause of Christ in this world through his ministry of writing and speaking.

Thank God for fathers who take their faith seriously and work hard at living the Christian life!

CONCLUSION------------------------

Fathers, bless you this day from the Father of all Fathers!

Steve Shepherd, Jonesboro Christian Church, AR