Father's Day

Carl E. McNair (1937–2004)
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As a father, I appreciate the honor given to me by my children. Each year, it is the custom across the length and breadth of our land to honor mothers and fathers on “their day.” Mothers are honored on “Mother’s Day,” and fathers are honored on “Father’s Day.” Do we appreciate that the basis for honoring our fathers and mothers stems from an ancient teaching that was given to our forefathers almost 3,500 years ago?

My Dad, Mr. Carl McNair, died seven years ago after a lifetime devoted to his family and to his calling as a minister of Jesus Christ.  In remembrance, we are re-running the commentary below during this Father’s Day season when we honor all our fathers—especially our Father in Heaven, the One Who gives us life and breath.—Rod McNair

As a father, I appreciate the honor given to me by my children. Each year, it is the custom across the length and breadth of our land to honor mothers and fathers on “their day.” Mothers are honored on “Mother’s Day,” and fathers are honored on “Father’s Day.” Do we appreciate that the basis for honoring our fathers and mothers stems from an ancient teaching that was given to our forefathers almost 3,500 years ago?

Do we understand, today, that there is a commandment that is the under-girding of this modern custom? In the fifteenth century before the birth of Christ, our forefathers were liberated from harsh bondage in Egypt. At the time of their liberation, Almighty God gave them His law—as a guide for each citizen and for the nation at large. That law contained the basis of the “Judeo-Christian” culture we have inherited.

Contained in that law was a commandment:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

The commandment contained an implicit promise of reward for the obedient—long days on the land given by God. Some today, claiming a false sense of self-righteousness, have forgotten to teach this fundamental truth. Their error is a repetition of the folly of the Scribes and Pharisees that was seen in the days of Jesus Christ. Jesus was constantly opposed by the religious leaders of His day. In Mark’s gospel, we read:

“Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

“Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, ‘Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?’ He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

 

“This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.’ He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban’—(that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do” (Mark 7:1–13).

Are you a parent? The greatest gift you can give your son or daughter is instruction from the Word of God—His law.

Are you a young man or woman? The greatest gift you can give your father or mother is the honor that the Word of God has declared is due them.

In so doing, we honor the Eternal God, Father of all, and we receive the promise of long life on the land He has given.

God ‘s word contains important information about the vital role parents play in the lives of their children. To learn more, read our articles “Fatherless Families?” and “Motherhood in Crisis?