“Does Father Know Best?”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
I heard this story while living in a rural part of Mexico. It really touched my heart, and I want to share it with you today. Moreover, I think that it reveals the depth of a father-son relationship from the perspective that’s not normally explained. You see, when we talk about fathers (particularly on Father’s Day) we tend to only describe the attributes of what it means to be a good father. Today, however, I want to define the ultimate purpose for being a good father.
As the story goes, a young teenager was sent to the local ferreteria [hardware store] to purchase a large bag of cement. Because the family didn’t even own a wheelbarrow, the young man made that long journey on foot. And I want you to picture this. Why? Cement bags weigh 50 kilograms (110 pounds)! This was no small errand!
On his way back from getting the cement, another villager noticed the young boy struggling as he walked. And so, he pulled over and offered to take the boy the rest of the way home. Amazingly, the teenager politely refused his help. “You don’t understand, mister”, said the boy, “My father sent me to do this. And he never would have sent me unless he thought that I could do it all by myself!”
This might seem like a strange response to some of you. However, it really isn’t if you understand many cultures outside of the United States. Why? In many cultures, it is important to show maturity to your father as a means of honoring him. Obedience–when it involves hard work–brings a special satisfaction to a young boy who is transitioning into manhood. No doubt, our modern culture could learn a lot from this difficult errand given to that Mexican boy!
The Bible describes Satan as the instigator of much of the social brokenness that we experience in life (John 10:10). And nowhere has he been more successful than in his attacks against fatherhood. You see, Satan distorts the concept of God as a heavenly Father by destroying good examples of earthly fathers. And when children do not experience a good father’s love and guidance, their ability to respond to the heavenly father also gets destroyed.
Please remember that story that I shared above. That’s a good father. Whereas some might think that it was cruel, it just reveals your misunderstanding about the true God Himself. Yes–He loves you. But He also wants us to mature and grow into responsible sons and daughters. That’s what will ultimately heal much of society’s ills.
But here’s the challenge. It is only through faith in Christ that you can overcome the bad example of an earthly father. That curse of bad fathering must be broken first. And that curse only gets broken because of the obedience of the perfect Son (Jesus Christ) in His redemptive “errand” from His Father! And that was so much heavier than a 50 kilogram bag of cement!