For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:111-12 (NIV).
Dad’s love unconditionally and hold you accountable. Dads love their kids, or at least they should, and they impart of themselves into their kids by encouraging, comforting, and urging them to live lives worthy of God. That means teaching them how to make their ways in the world, how to do what they love to do, how to be strong, how to get along with others. Dads are supposed to also teach their kids about Jesus, imparting to them lessons that the Maker wants him to tell them so they can come to know the Maker as well.
At least that’s what we’re supposed to do. News flash: we dads don’t always do a great job at it.
Take me. but I do wish I had done better for my own kids. I wish I had not obsessed so much about grades, making their beds, the music they listened to or the movies they watched; you know, things that don’t really matter that much. Sure, it’s important to work hard to get good grades, and it’s important to garner the self-discipline you get from making your bed. Those things are important, but compared to Jesus they don’t matter very much. More than anything else, I wish I had done more to live out my life for Jesus and be a better example of Him to the three people who watched me most. As a young dad, I did a poor job at this.
None of us are blameless; I’m not blameless. I let my job, my selfish desires, and my own obsessions get in the way of being a better dad. But if the best thing we can say is “I did my best” then that applies to me too. My dad did his best with me, and I can say I did my best with my own kids.
News flash again: it’s not about me. That’s the first lesson we dads should teach our kids.
I’m betting that’s how Paul and his companions dealt with the Thessalonians. It’s a good bet to assume they worked to be selfless, to be caring and patient and loving with these new friends. Unless they were those things, it would be difficult at best to encourage, comfort, and urge the Thessalonians to live Godly lives. Only someone who’s living selflessly and teaching selflessly can really impart those Christ-like qualities to the people they love.
In other words, Paul and his friends acted like dads. Like the men Jesus wanted them to be.
For further reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Maker, my friend, my Savior, but my brother. Thank You for letting me be a dad. Always help me to do my best for You and others.