Father's Day...Jesus sends out his disciples

Matthew chapter 10.

Jesus gave his twelve disciples instructions and guidelines as he sent them out because he wanted them to be prepared for every eventuality. He wanted them to know HOW they were to act, WHERE they were to go and WHAT they were to do.

There are four main points that he makes.

1) He tells them that they will face persecution, that people will hate them, and that they will face rejection, despair and even death at the hands of others, as they try to hand over the truth to them.

2) He tells them that because they will share in his work of bringing division and judgement, that they must expect to receive the same kind of treatment as he has already received.

3) But he also tells them not to be afraid, for the Father has them in his keeping, and that they are very special and of great value in His sight.

4) Finally he tells them that they will be the means of bringing great reward to those who receive their message.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were such a set of guidelines about being a parent or guardian of children.

We hear so much about children being out of control nowadays.

We hear so much about delinquency, truancy, bullying, and promiscuity.

We hear so much in the news and around the doors of crime, of children who don’t know right from wrong.

We hear of young teenage girls having babies before they have chance to be children themselves.

A woman once wrote to the bishop, telling him that despite the fact that she had twelve children she was certain that God was calling her to be a missionary. What should she do?

The bishop wrote back to her and said, “Congratulations on your vocation my dear. I am delighted that God has called you to be a missionary. He has even provided you with a ready made congregation!

Last week I spoke about mission out there……..

But what about mission at home?

No one really tells us how to be the best parents we can be.

But I think we would ALL do well to take the instructions found in Matthew 10 and apply them to ourselves today, in order to be missionaries in our own homes.

If you are sitting here today thinking you’re exempt from these instructions, because you are not parents, then keep listening because it does apply to you too, because you are able to be missionaries within your extended family.

Remember these instructions were for all Jesus’ disciples.

Let’s imagine Jesus speaking his words to us through the same scripture today:-

Let us look at those four main points again,

First of all he has this to say.

1)Your lot will not be easy. You may think as a parent, it’s a thankless task, you may feel unappreciated, taken for granted. You may even face rejection by your children, even despair. But I have given you this charge, this task, to have my children in your mind and to be there for them.

2)There will be judgements you will have to make, decisions which may prove unpopular. You must expect to receive criticism, objections, abuse when you try to guide and teach them, but hold firm and stand for what is true.

3) Next, don’t be afraid. Your Father has you in his keeping. Yes you may make mistakes as you venture into situations you’ve not experienced before, but remember you are special to him, you are worth more to him than you know. The very hairs on your head are counted, that is, (if there be any hairs on your head!) You must help your children to sense their own worth too, remind them that they are special to you, and that they too must never be afraid.

4)You will be the means of bringing great reward to your children as you persevere and struggle to be the parent I want you to be.

Trust me I am with you.

It’s very appropriate today as it is after all Father’s Day, (a time when fathers very rarely get a mention in our churches), to read out this wonderful letter written by a twelve year old boy.

This is what he wrote:-

‘When I was asked to write about a missionary I knew, a few people crossed my mind, such as Francis of Assisi and Mother Theresa, then I stopped and thought ,

“I can’t write about one of these great people because I don’t really know them. It’s true I’ve heard their names and read and been told about them, but I don’t know what they’re like.”

The person I think is a missionary, and a good one, is my dad. This may sound peculiar but surely you don’t have to be ordained to be a missionary.

My dad’s mission is simply to be a dad, to me and my family, and of course a good husband to my mam.

My dad has never been selfish and has always put himself first before his family.

I’ve never felt insecure, or frightened, or been without his endless love.

Just like those famous missionaries my dad has needed a lot of courage. He could have just spent every night drinking with his friends, and left us to get on with it, but he doesn’t do that. He, like a missionary, has made the supreme sacrifice of putting his family before himself.

I am very lucky to have a missionary dad.

And to all you missionary dads out there, in our congregation today:- may I wish you all VERY HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.