Fathers need to believe in themselves and their children, preached Aries Zulkarnain, CHC’s executive pastor, on Father’s Day.
Society often underplays the role of a father but the father is meant to be the cornerstone of a healthy and happy family. This truth was emphasised by City Harvest Church’s executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain during service last weekend (Jun 17 and 18), which marked Father’s Day.
Opening his message, Zulkarnain addressed the misconception that mothers should take center stage in managing the family.
“Fathers are much more than the breadwinners of the family or fixers of the wi-fi connection,” he said, drawing laughter from the congregation.
Going to Hebrews 11, Zulkarnain noted the heroes of faith listed and the things they did to earn their place on the list. Abraham believed in God for a miracle child, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and David killed Goliath the giant.
Amongst these heroes of faith was Isaac who did not seem to have accomplished much, compared to saviours like Moses and warriors like David. Isaac’s act of faith was simply this: “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” (Hebrews 11:20)
It was Isaac’s belief that his children were blessed by God, and that they would turn out well, that was testament to his faith. “Jacob and Esau were not easy children,” Zulkarnain explained, “They had been fighting since they were born. But Isaac was a good father and he believed the best for his family.”
With this, Zulkarnain taught the congregation about the two things fathers need to believe in.
FATHERS NEED TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES
Very often, men lack confidence in being a good father. “They are intimidated by their responsibilities, feel inadequate at raising daughters or find it hard to be role models for their sons,” Zulkarnain said.
The pastor reminded the congregation that children usually view their fathers differently from how fathers view themselves. To illustrate this, CHC’s video team CityTV had produced a video.
The heartwarming video first showed a number of fathers from the congregation sharing their honest thought about raising children. They also revealed their fears of inadequacy. One father confessed, “I don’t know if I’m being the best father I can be.”
Each father was then shown a video of their own children talking candidly about them. The children expressed their love, appreciation, and admiration for their fathers’ support and sacrifices. The video brought tears to many eyes.
Thereafter, Zulkarnain shared a testimony written by a CHC member who is a single father. A decade ago, Danny’s marriage ended in a divorce with him having custody of his two sons. As his job required him to travel abroad often, Danny felt insecure about his ability to raise his sons normally as a complete family would.
One day, one of Danny’s sons wrote him a letter to tell him that his father was his role model and that everything that he did not learn in school, he learned from his father.
Fathers tend to assume that their mistakes and flaws make them unworthy. However, children are often oblivious to their father’s flaws and simply need them to be present in their lives.
FATHERS NEED TO BELIEVE IN THEIR CHILDREN
“We need to believe in our children the way our Father God believes in us.”
While Isaac did not live to see Jacob and Esau reconcile, he believed that God would continue working in his sons’ lives. Genesis 33:1-17 records that the twins buried the hatchet eventually after a lifetime of rivalry.
“Likewise, we need to believe that our children will turn out well as long as we do not give up,” Zulkarnain said.
Furthermore, the father is the authority figure in the family. He is the one children want to please the most. Jesus Himself sought the approval of His Father (John 5:19, John 12:49-50). “Your influence for good in your children’s lives is enormous,” Zulkarnain pointed out.
Some fathers, however, think that because they have made wrong decisions, they would influence their children in a bad way. Zulkarnian shared another story from the Bible to show otherwise.
In the book of Genesis, God promised Abraham a child. However, his wife Sarah was barren and Abraham, growing impatient, took things into his own hands and had a son with Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden.
“The interesting thing is, his son Isaac’s wife, Rebekah was also infertile,” Zulkarnain told the congregation. “Isaac did not commit the same mistake as Abraham; [instead] he waited and pleaded with God for a child.”
Genesis 25:21 showed that God who eventually answered his prayers and gave Isaac two sons.
Zulkarnain ended his sermon with a story about Joy Tan, a member of CHC and the daughter of the late preacher Paul Tan. For a significant part of her life, she was away from God and “became very worldly”. In spite of this, her father never gave up on her. He continued praying and believing for God to turn her life around. Only after his death did Joy come to know about her father’s ministry and the lives he had touched. Deeply moved and inspired by her late father, Joy is now rooted and actively serving in the church.
Zulkarnain concluded: “Fathers should be their children’s heroes. Believe in your children, pray for them and never give up on being a good father.”