Sunday, June 19, 2011

To the Fathers in Israel

We celebrate Father's Day to hopefully remember all the great things our fathers have done for us and all the important things they do and roles they play in our lives. I'm 25 so I'm still recognizing things that my father has done for me as I grow up and shed the "my parents just always tried to ruin my life as a teenager" mentality. And as time goes on and I gain more exposure to the world and meet more people, I realize more and more how great my father really is.

I tried to find an article or talk that praised fathers and taught children that they should honor their fathers, etc., (I didn't think it'd be hard because there are dozens of talks praising and thanking mothers and women for what they do) but I found that most of the "father" and "husband" talks given by apostles were full of counsel for how a father is to better lead his family and love his wife and children. Of course each of these talks contains uplifting words to the fathers and husbands who love and lead their families righteously, but also focus intensely on constantly doing more. After some pondering, I feel that this is only right. We, as men and priesthood holders, have certain duties to fulfill and labors to perform concerning God's children on the earth. Once married, we are entrusted with the love and care of a daughter of God, and how precious is that gift! How great is the need to be counseled on how to treat her and love her considering the polar opposite teachings to which we are exposed in this world. Then, as a husband, we are to provide a place worthy of God's children where they may dwell in peace, love, and safety. Once again, what a large amount of trust is placed with men when they are blessed to be fathers!

So on this Father's Day, let's read and apply in our lives words of a prophet of God that will hopefully help, uplift, and inspire fathers (and future fathers such as myself) to rise to a higher sense of responsibility and love concerning their families (and future families) that homes may be better places where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell and where God's children find refuge and safety in this world of unknown and unrest.

In 1987, President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) gave a talk entitled, "To the Fathers in Israel," in which he gave inspired counsel to fathers concerning their obligation to provide material support and spiritual leadership. Taught President Benson, "Fathers, yours is an eternal calling from which you are never released. Callings in the Church, as important as they are, by their very nature are only for a period of time, and then an appropriate release takes place. But a father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity" (italics added).

He continued by quoting another prophet, "President Harold B. Lee truly stated that 'the most important of the Lord’s work that you [fathers] will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home. Home teaching, bishopric’s work, and other Church duties are all important, but the most important work is within the walls of your home' (Strengthening the Home, pamphlet, 1973, p. 7)" (italics added).

I'm not a father, but I recognize that this talk holds wonderful, timeless counsel that will bless the lives of all who strive to live in such a manner.

Jeremy