“For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9–12, NASB)
In this passage as Paul is writing to the Thessalonian believers he expresses as a spiritual father many of the traits that we treasure in our own fathers and to which end fathers can seek to be with their own children. No longer in their presence, Paul reminded them of the example of labor and struggle as he put in the time both night and day to do what was necessary for their benefit. In this case, Paul labored for his own provision, but in the case of the father and his family it pictures the diligence that is necessary to tend to the needs of the family as he sets an example of work and perseverance.
There is also the example of teaching. As Paul taught them about God and how to walk before Him, so does the father in the family have the privilege and responsibility to pass on what he has learned to train up his own children both in life and hopefully in their lifelong relationship with God.
Lastly, there is the example of exhortation as a father to a child who encourages them to walk in a manner worthy of who they are and the God who loves them. Fathers have the awesome privilege of setting a pattern for life and encouraging their children as they move forward in the path set before them. We also have a heavenly Father in God who desires we seek Him as He does this for us.
This was originally posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on June 14, 2109