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          As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, I am reminded of words attributed to the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass who said “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”. While some debate whether he actually made the statement (it cannot be found in any of his writings), the fact remains however that the statement in principle is true. While we remain in the business of repairing broken people, I have come to realize (without sounding like a shrink) that many a problem encountered in adulthood has its roots in events that occurred (or did not occur) in childhood.

          The role of a father is huge and his footprint is even larger. The Old Testament patriarch Abraham had a relationship with God that was in part the result of God’s foreknowledge of his role as a father (Genesis 18:19).  Proper fulfillment of his role was necessary for him to experience the blessing of his covenant with God and bring the fulfillment of God’s promise to him to pass. Suffice it to say, fatherhood is a big deal!

          A vital part of fatherhood involves mentorship. Teaching, training and advising are essential in preparing generations to fulfill their roles as adults and be successful in life. A good model for fatherhood can be found in Proverbs 4:11 where Solomon rehearsed the instruction he received from his father, David; “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in the right paths”.

 Successful fathers lead by precept and example. I once told a man in counseling that the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do” has never worked and it never will. Real fatherhood takes work and there are no shortcuts. I am reminded of a phrase that I once heard in a song, “You can’t teach what you don’t know and you can’t lead where you won’t go”.  As we honor fathers this weekend, let us show appreciation for the fathers who put in the work and did their jobs as best they could. Let us encourage the others to get busy.

Bill Young - MGCC

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       There is a classic story told in the the Old Testament (2 Kings chapter 2) about the elevation of Elisha to be prophet in Israel. His mentor, Elijah, was about to make a spectacular departure from earth and he turned to his apprentice and asked “what shall I do for you before I am taken from you?” Elisha said “I want a double portion of the spirit that is on you to rest on me.”

     This story has been preached and taught by just about every Christian minister, theologian and leader in the world. We all desire and long for that “double portion” experience in our lives as God empowers us to serve with ability that is beyond our own. Some have taught that this “double portion” experience can be obtained through giving or prayer.

     The scripture gives us the best light. When Elisha made his request, Elijah replied “you have asked a hard thing.”  The Hebrew word for hard here simply means tough or severe. In other words, it is not easy. Everything in life that is good is not necessarily easy. It takes discipline, self-control and faithfulness to walk in excellence in life.

     Elisha was promoted to the office of prophet in Israel and received “double” because he was faithful in serving Elijah for over ten years. He was referred to as” the guy who poured water on Elijah’s hands”. Although Elisha had that mantle cast upon his shoulders, which represented the anointing of the Holy Spirit, there was a period of growth and development that had to take place in his life before he stepped into that role as the Prophet of Israel. He was faithful in helping Elijah behind the scenes and out of the spotlight before promotion came.

     There are no shortcuts in the Kingdom of God. If you have a desire to accomplish more and be a person of greater influence, remember the story of Elisha. Be willing to serve where you are and prove yourself faithful. Know that God sees your service and will reward you accordingly.

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