June 18, 2016

"Father": What Does it Really Mean?



Tomorrow we celebrate fathers in the U.S. Why do we have a day called “Father’s Day”? Why should we honor them? Certainly, fathers are flawed like the rest of us. Some of them are more nurturing than others. Certain fathers are there for us; others are neglectful. I venture to say that we should honor the men who gave us life for whatever we can. There are numerous things they may do:
  • Provide for us
  • Pass down a legacy of treating people right
  • Teach us hope or faith
  • Help us with homework
  • Mentor us in a certain hobby or trade
That’s not a complete list, obviously. Isn’t it a good start, though? 

My Father

He was a fantastic provider. I lived a comfortable middle-class life. I had all the necessities, and many of the comforts, of life.

My husband

I’m not sure how to start the long list of his attributes. Let’s just say that this wonderful man is my provider and my cherished life partner. He has filled my life beyond the capability of anyone else. These words don’t even begin to paint the picture of what he means to me.

Quotes about Fathers from Quotery.com

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”—Harmon Killebrew
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“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”—Mark Twain
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“Father! To God himself, we cannot give a holier name”—William Wordsworth


The Bible

“Abba” is an Aramaic word used as a mark of respect for old men and teachers. Possibly, it is similar to the Japanese word, sensei, used for martial arts instructors—and leaders of any kind. It can be loosely translated as “teacher”. This is a term of utmost respect. It is a term used only for people who we look to for guidance.

The Modern Hebrew meaning of Abba is closer to “Daddy”. This word puts things on an even more personal level. Daddy is a person to whom we turn for immediate help. If a child needs to borrow the family car, she may ask her father. If she gets that car in an accident, she may call on her dad to help pay for the cost.

Abba is a special word with a deep meaning. There are only three places where the profound, intimate word, Abba, is used:
  • Mark 14:36--Jesus uses the term Abba on the cross when he asks for relief.
  • Romans 8:15--The apostle Paul lets us know we are not slaves, but sons. When we receive the Spirit, we become adopted to the sonship of God. Then, we have the right to call him Abba.  “Adoption to the sonship” is a Greek phrase referring to the legal standing of adopted male heirs.
  • Galatians 4:6--Paul says we are God’s sons, and His Spirit leads us to refer to him as Abba.

My Conclusion

The influence of fathers is far-reaching. It stays with us throughout our lives. The exact role of fathers may vary with the household, but every father is a force in our lives.
Celebrities and the Bible agree that the word “Father” has deep significance. This is a person we can turn to for immediate help. Father, or Abba, has many meanings: teacher, nurturer, guide, counselor…

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Are you thankful for the fathers in your life?