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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



A father said to his son, "When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he walked twelve miles to get to school." The son replied, "Dad, when Abraham Lincoln was your age, he was President." Very few fathers become President, but every father has a position of power and influence. God assigns every father his primary job description in Ephesians 6: 4, "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the fear and training of the Lord." This is a huge task. It requires more love, time, patience, and effort than some fathers are willing to commit. According to Larry Rogers, of the 67 million children living in America, 25% will climb into bed tonight wihtout a dad to tuck them in (Gospel Advocate, "The Case of the Missing Dad," October 1998, p. 33). He is not there to pitch baseball or look over the day's homework or read a story in the Bible or go to church with Mom and the kids on Sunday. He is, literally, the absent father. Sadly, many dads who are physically present are emotionally and practically absent - too busy, too tired, too distracted, too disconnected from God and his kids to influence and train them morally and spiritually. Because these men are absent fathers, they are underachieving fathers.

General Douglas McArthur is credited with the following prayer, "Build me a Son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son, whose wishes will not take the place of deeds, a son who will know thee - and that to know himself is the fountainhead of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in paths of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenges. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son, whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future yet never forget the past. And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility,so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom; the meekness of true strength. Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, 'I have not lived in vain.'" Any father who seeks to lead, train, and influence his children toward God is a high achiever.

by Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ