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 2:11-12)
My children are older now, and my days of active parenting have largely come to an end. Their need for me to discipline them and to teach them right from wrong has mostly passed. Yet I will always be in their corner doing whatever I still can to help them along life’s journey. None of us fully outgrows the need for a father to provide the things Paul mentioned above.
While moms have their roles, Paul says dads are to encourage, comfort and urge their children on. The first two actions (encourage and comfort) are derived from the same Greek root word (parakaleo) – which means to “call alongside.” The idea behind both verbs is to come close beside another for the purpose of either exhorting them to bigger, better, higher things (encourage) – or to hold them close and console them in times of heartbreak or failure (comfort).
The third role is that of urging children onward. The original language described one who had been summoned as a witness to give sworn testimony in court. Dads are supposed to take seriously their role of giving testimony to the Truth they have discovered. By their very lives fathers should give testimony to a life worthy of God; a life that brings glory to the Father in heaven. In a sense, parents are to say, “Hey kids, I’ve found the way that leads to life and brings glory to God – please come to where I am; this is the way, I promise.”
Parents…dads…regardless of their ages, are you still encouraging and comforting your children? Are you living a life in which you would gladly urge them to come join you? Any changes you need to make? –Dave
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