Gratitude for Dad

All my dad ever wanted was for us to grow up to be good, honest God-fearing people.

He worked hard to put food on the table, clothes on my body, a roof over my head and provide my education. He never asked for a special thanks for those things. We all tried our best in our own ways to be fine, upstanding human beings, which I think was our a way of indirectly saying “thank you” to him. 

As I think about Father’s Day, my thoughts turn to my Heavenly Father. Just like my dad never needed special thanks to be our provider and protector, God’s goodness toward us is not dependent on our acknowledgement and gratitude. But is it enough to just be be fine upstanding human beings for God? The Scriptures indicate that God desires to hear our praise, our gratitude for who He is and what He does (see Hebrews 12:28, Ephesians 5:20, Psalm 107:1). That this is the appropriate response of someone who understands the gift, and the Giver, of life and blessing (see Luke 17:11-19).

There’s also hidden blessing in a lifestyle of gratitude. When I became a mother, I had a profound realization that showing appreciation and gratitude don’t just benefit the recipient— the act of expressing gratitude actually strengthens our own character and well being.

A posture of thankfulness means not taking things for granted, or feeling entitled, understanding that everything that comes their way is in large part due the effort of many individuals coupled with the grace of God. Mental health professionals actually agree that gratitude improves physical health, psychological health, improves sleep and increases self esteem.

So, on Father’s Day, I want to publicly thank my dad, who is now in heaven, and my husband. Thank you for loving me like our Heavenly Father loves us. I wouldn’t be the God-fearing person I am today without the lessons you’ve taught me.

A Prayer for Fathers

Heavenly Father,

Today we ask You to bless our earthly fathers for the many times they reflected the love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy that You exemplify in Your relationship with us, Your children. We honor our fathers for putting our needs above their own convenience and comfort; for teaching us to show courage and determination in the face of adversity; for challenging us to move beyond self-limiting boundaries; for modeling the qualities that would turn us into responsible, principled, caring adults.

Not all our fathers lived up to these ideals. Give them the grace to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Give us the grace to extend to them the same forgiveness that you offer us all. Help us to resist the urge to stay stuck in past bitterness, instead, moving forward with humility and peace of heart.
Give new and future fathers the guidance they need to raise happy and holy children, grounded in a love for God and other people –and remind these fathers that treating their wiveswith dignity, compassion and respect is one of the greatest gifts they can give their children.
We pray that our fathers who have passed into the next life have been welcomed into Your loving embrace, and that our family will one be day be reunited in your heavenly kingdom.
When you hear the word “love,” what comes to mind?

Most of us think of our spouses, children, family, or friends. We think of people who are easy to love, because they love us back. We often don’t think about those who are hard to love. Jesus says If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? (Luke 6:32). He goes on to issue this challenge to His followers: But love your enemies, do good to them” (Luke 6:35). It is not enough for us to love the people that are easy for us to love; we are called to love those who are hard to love.
But how?

How to Love the “Hard to Love”

Do we just put on a smile and make fake conversation until we can make the quickest exit? It’s important to remember here that biblical love is not about warm feelings. It’s about actions. Through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit within us, Jesus has given us the ability to love everyone, in word and deed—even those we think we can’t love. Here are some steps you can take to tap in to that power:

Pray often for God to change your heart. When we pray for our attitudes, and when we pray for our enemies, it’s amazing how or hearts begin to soften toward those who we find tough to love.

Forgive often as Jesus forgave us. This word in the Bible can mean everything from remitting a debt, to leaving something alone and even to simply overlook. And if you need motivation, just think about how God has done this in your own life!

Set healthy boundaries. Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to be that person’s best friend. We can love even the most difficult people by being kind, meeting their needs, and showing them respect. 

Why We Love the “Hard to Love”

As Christians, we lead by example. Servant leadership is one of our core values at Feed the Missions. We believe it’s important to approach everyone with an attitude of service, just as Jesus did.
Loving people who don’t love us back can feel thankless at times. But we have a Savior who can relate.

Jesus loved us before we knew who He was or wanted a relationship with Him. So when we feel like it would be so easy to bring attention to ourselves or be angry at someone that has hurt us, let’s remember that we are who we are because of a God who never gave up on us. And if we’re committed to loving others well, one day maybe the hard-to-love folks in our lives will be able to look back and say the very same thing. 

Praying for a Heart to Love the “Hard to Love” 

Lord Jesus we ask that you forgive us for the way we treat others. Change our hearts to be more like yours. Thank you for loving us unconditionally and teaching us hard lessons. Allow us to be faithful to your word and walking out truth. Fill our hearts with compassion and servant leadership skills to help us love those that are hard to love. Your word says people will know we are His followers by the way we love- John 13:35. May we be reminded of who we are as we continue to love everyone. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.