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The Father to the fatherless

Snowden G. Sims

Being fatherless is a reality in our world today. Serving in a midwestern urban setting, I encounter single mothers with children who may not see their fathers on a regular basis—if ever. Having grown up in Milwaukee’s inner city, I played with neighborhood children who were fatherless as the result of their mother’s one-night stand, their parents’ divorce, or the death of their father. Growing up without a father in the home was a reality many of us had to face—myself included. As a child, that was just the way it was.

Many fatherless children learn to deal with it. But is there something better than just dealing with it?

Some children struggle with it their whole life. The “fatherless” live not only in urban settings but also in the suburbs. Families in rural areas are not immune either. The bottom line is that the fatherless condition is no respecter of persons, purses, or locations.

One tough reality that is brought to light is that mothers also need to be fathers to their children, serving in household roles that a father would normally handle. They need to protect, discipline, and teach their children life skills. This doesn’t mean that mothers are ill-equipped to carry out these roles. It just means that there are added responsibilities and strains placed on them.

Role-model fathers are needed in our world today. Can you be a father to the fatherless?

And some things that young men and young ladies need come from a father. Where are young men to gain insight and instruction when it comes to the proper role and vocation of a father? Where do they learn how to love, honor, and respect the woman they will one day call their wife? Where can they find the role model of a godly man, a godly father, and a godly husband? This can be a difficult task.

Positive relationships can be just as difficult for young ladies to experience or learn, including how a husband is to treat his wife. Where is the positive role model if the only men in their homes are their mothers’ boyfriends who are here today and gone tomorrow? Where can they see examples of God’s design for parental relationships? Where can they see what a father is to be like?

It can be difficult, but it is not impossible to find those examples. Christian men, husbands, and fathers in our congregations can serve as mentors and role models. Their children may have grown up and moved away, but the opportunity to fill that role with a fatherless child remains.

The apostle Paul was able to demonstrate a father’s love for the Corinthians in a few different ways. He demonstrated the close connections we have as believers in Christ when he wrote, “Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15).

Brothers in Christ, men of God, role-model fathers are needed in our world today. Can you be a father to the fatherless? Our God is the ultimate Father to the fatherless, as it says in Psalms: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (68:5). But he has gifted you to also serve as a father to the fatherless through the gospel, just like Paul. Make the most of those opportunities by taking a personal interest in a fatherless child in your church family.

Author: Snowden G. Sims
Volume 107, Number 02
Issue: February 2020

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  • Snowden Gene Sims

    Pastor Sims is a 1980 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran High School, a 1985 graduate of Northwestern College, and a 1989 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. He presently serves as an associate pastor at St. Paul's, Columbus, Ohio. He also serves as the Michigan District President. He is married to Melinda who is an instructor at The Ohio State University. They have a daughter, Erika, who resides in West Allis, Wisconsin. In his spare time Pastor Sims enjoys fishing, hunting, working out, gardening, playing guitar, and listening to jazz.

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