“As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
– Psalm 103:13 (ESV)

I wouldn’t call my father a sport’s dad, but he was certainly attentive to and supportive of my interests in sports. As one of five children, every day was an adventure growing up on a busy dairy farm. Dad taught his children the value of hard work. On the few occasions we complained out loud, he would teach us about responsibility. While Dad worked hard to provide for us, he also allowed us to have a childhood. In my case, he always allowed me to play sports. I tell the story that Dad once told me he wouldn’t make me work on the farm as long as I was participating in sports. With that bit of information, I signed up for every sport available. Football, basketball, and baseball made me a year-round athlete. But he got plenty of my sweat during the hot, humid summers filled with cutting hay and corn to feed the herd. As a teenager, Dad would arrange for us to take a pilgrimage to Atlanta to see the Braves play a weekend series against the Dodgers or Cardinals. The memories of those special times always brings a smile to my face. As a veteran of World War II, Dad had seen things that a 20-year old shouldn’t have seen. I’m convinced that’s why he took delight in seeing us play and enjoy our childhood activities so much.

Through the love and compassion of my earthly father, I learned a great deal about my Heavenly Father. Dad set a high standard when teaching his children the value of hard work and taking responsibility for our words and actions. It wasn’t all about being the judge and lawgiver even though he usually was. Dad loved us and he cared about our present and our future. Our Heavenly Father is a lot like that too. God sets a very high standard as well. He values hard work and taking personal responsibility. He will judge us in the end, however His commandments are there to protect us and guide us as His children. His love and compassion for us is never-ending. God has a birds-eye view of our world and He sees a great deal of ugliness. I’m convinced however, that He smiles a Father’s smile when He sees His children listening to and following His instruction. Thank you Dad for giving me a glimpse of what it will be like to spend eternity with my Heavenly Father.

Thank You Lord for the gift of Dads as well as the men who take on that responsibility. Thank you for their love, their time and the difference they make in our lives. Amen.