My father is an avid fisherman. When I was a little girl I remember him taking my brothers and I down to the Babcock Pond to spend the day fishing. At that young age, I didn’t know anything about fishing. So he very gently and calmly showed me how to bait my hook with the earthworms we collected the night before, attached a bobber to my line and showed me how to cast out. Then he told me to watch the bobber in the water and when it disappeared to call for him.
Sure enough within minutes that bobber was gone. He came running over and together we reeled in a tiny little pumpkin seed. As pitifully tiny as that fish was, I was so proud of myself. And my father was proud of me as well. My father was good at teaching me how to live life. Whether it was sharing his passions with his children, teaching us necessary skills in life, or just modeling the behaviors to make us live into God’s call for us to be blessings to the world, to be good people. We learned how to be proud of our accomplishments, to have good self esteem, and to live life confidently not running from the problems we face. But such simple activities taught us to deal with disappointment and how to exercise patience.
My father will say that he was not perfect when it came to parenting but he taught us the important things in life and never once did we ever feel unloved. He taught us the importance of using love in all that we do and how we interact with our world. He did so simply by showing us through his actions how to both be loved and how to give it, and to do so freely. This is the same type of love that Paul urged the Corinthians to live into as a Christian community. To Paul, love was the most important gift humanity has received from God and it is the most important gift that we can share with others.
Paul is asking us to live our lives with the same sacrificial love that God has afforded to each one of us. There is no greater way to praise the name of God than to live his love each and every day. There is no greater way to honor our Father in heaven this Father’s day. Joel Osteen writes, “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed with abundance”. This does not mean that when we live into love that we will never again experience hardship because we will. This just means that when we live into God’s holy love then we too will experience God’s love more strongly.
As Christians and children of God we are called to do more than just outwardly appear to be good people. We are called to be genuine in our care for one another. We are called to have love be the basis for all that we do. Just as our fathers and mothers act in our lives through love, just as God acts in our lives based in love for all his creation, so too we are called to live that love through how we care for others.
When Paul writes in his first letter to the Christians of Corinth, “If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I am nothing”. He is trying to teach his followers and us, just like our parents do, to live good upright lives, to be genuine and authentic with one another and to live lives for others, not to gain from it, but rather because we genuinely care. Paul tries to teach people that God wants his blessings to be apparent in the works that we do. God wants his blessings to be apparent in the ways that we choose to live lives of love, forgiveness, and care. By living such lives, God’s blessings are made known to all.
Our parents teach us the importance of being good people. They teach how to have empathy, compassion, patience, and care. They give us the basis and values to live productively in society. God as our father in heaven does the same thing. He works to teach how to use those values, how to develop them, so that this world can become a better place; a place where people act out of care for one another first and not out of judgment and hate.
We are called to live into his love not for the attention that it might bring, not because of what others might think of us, or how they will remember us at our life’s end. We live into his love because he has loved us so fully, because he has sacrificed so much for us, and because of what we have received. We are being asked to work as though our life were meant to be a blessing to others. So go into this week seeking to learn how to better impact the lives of others. Seek out God and how he is leading you to use your skills, your talents, your blessings, to bring care and love into the world. We are meant to be a beacon of God’s light in a world that is often fraught with violence, hate, judgment, and anger. We are God’s hands working to change the world one relationship at a time. So this Father’s Day consider all those lessons and moments of love and care you experienced with your father figure in life and how you are being called to use that love and those lessons to help others.
 Joel Osteen, 21st century author and tele-evangelist.
 1 Corinthians 13: 3, NRSV.
(Based on Psalm 103 and 1 Corinthians 13)