Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Father's Day Sermon: Being a Watchman
by Trey Little
Someone once said: "Father's Day is like Mother's Day, except the gift is cheaper." Why is it that way? Well, it's not all about the gifts anyway--at least not the ones you can buy. Father's Day Sermon: Being a Watchman This is Father's Day--and I do have a few words to say to us Father's but that does not mean you non-Father's can sleep--God's word is for us all. Now that I have your attention, let us look at Ezekiel 33: 1-6. I love the story of the mom who was out walking with her little 4 year old daughter. The child picked up something off the ground and started to put it into her mouth. The mother took it away and said "Don't do that!" The little girl asked, "Why not?" To which the mother said, "Because it's on the ground and you don't know where it's been. It's dirty and it's probably loaded with germs that could make you sick." The child looked at her mother with total admiration and said, "Mommy, how do you now all this stuff? You are so smart." The mother said, "Well sweetie, all moms know this stuff. It's on the 'Mom's Test'. You have to know it or they don't let you be a mom." Then there was silence--the little girl stood in deep thought. Finally she said, "Oh, I get it--and if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy!" I wonder--all you dads out there--how are you doing on the "Dad's Test"? Are we at risk of losing our privilege of being a dad? Even worse: what do we have to be if we don't pass the test??? Friends, we are all being tested in one way or another--each and every day presents a new opportunity for us to share with others what we know about Jesus Christ. Each day presents new temptations and situations that could lead us astray. That's why it is so important for us to constantly be aware and alert--not only for ourselves but for the ones we love. Ezekiel 33 speaks of being a "watchman." Verse 6 says: "But if the watchman sees war coming and doesn't blow the trumpet, warning the people, and war comes and takes anyone off, I'll hold the watchman responsible for the bloodshed of any unwarned sinner." Then it says: "You, son of man, are the watchman." Ezekiel knew that he had been called to be God's watchman, to be a messenger to warn the Israelites of impending destruction for those who did not give up their evil ways. It was Ezekiel's responsibility to be a watchman to warn people of the consequences of their sin. If you think about it--the imagery of a watchman is a wonderful reminder for us Dads. A watchman was someone who was posted outside the city to warn the inhabitants of approaching invaders. As a dad of a 16 year old daughter I take it very seriously to be on watch for "approaching invaders"! A watchman has the job to watch, to warn, to be alert and to stay on the job. In fact, the watchman had a trumpet--he stood on the city wall to keep lookout for any possible enemies and if he saw something suspicious he would blow his trumpet--that would serve as a warning to the people. If the people didn't take the warning seriously--that was their problem--not the watchman's. So, as I think about this Father's Day I can't help but consider the fact that we Dads have been given the responsibility to be the watchmen for our families. If that doesn't humble you--I don't know what will. Now here is the reality--many of us Dads are already "watchmen." We watch ESPN, we watch deer feeders, we watch football games, we watch our businesses and checking accounts, we watch golf balls fly through the air--we're watchmen alright. But I wonder--how many of us are men who intently watch and warn our families? How many of us are willing to take seriously the responsibility to train our children up in the ways of the Lord? How many of us are committed to be the watchmen of the souls of the people we cherish the most? Don't misunderstand me--I don't want to sound too harsh--after all, I too am a Dad. But when I began to think of this "watchman" language the prophet Ezekiel used I became extremely convicted by it. I began to wonder if I have spent more time beating my own drum rather than sounding the trumpet of warning and love. Have I taken seriously my responsibility of being the spiritual leader for my household or have I outsourced the responsibility to Sunday school teachers, baseball coaches, television personalities, Wii games and MOMS? What about you? Many of you are familiar with the wonderful parable found in Luke 15--often referred to as the parable of "the Prodigal Son." It is one of my favorite teachings of Jesus because there is so much to learn from that story. But an image that consistently appears in my mind as I consider this story is the behavior of the father. If you recall--the father was watching. His love for his son was so deep and so profound that he couldn't think of doing anything else but to patiently watch. Watch every day from his front porch tower with the hopes of one more opportunity to show the depth of his love for his lost son. Timothy Keller used the language of "recklessly spendthrift" when he spoke of the father. He said the father gave until he had nothing left. Fathers, this morning I want to challenge each of us to honestly consider if we are giving everything to our families. In other words, are we being "recklessly spendthrift" as the watchmen of our households? Are we giving the time necessary to teach our children about God's life giving word? You see, in order to do so we must first take the time to learn His word ourselves. Are we giving the time necessary to teach our children the gift of forgiveness? In order to do so we must first receive God's forgiveness for ourselves. Are we giving the time necessary to show our children the importance of loving and respecting others? To do so we must model that behavior by respecting and loving our spouses. Are we giving the time necessary to teach our children about integrity? To do so we must be men of integrity ourselves--whether in church, business, relationships or anything else. Are we giving the time to teach them about the significance of a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ? To do so we must show them the significance of such a relationship in our own lives--spending time in prayer; devotion; service; worship and glorifying the Lord in all we do. Being a watchman is a tremendous responsibility to say the least. Let me close with this: As many of you are aware, today is the final round of the U.S. Open--one of the most prestigious and coveted victories on the PGA tour. It is being played at the beautiful Pebble Beach Golf Course. And today I am reminded of the 1999 U.S. Open which came down to a battle between Payne Stewart and Phil Mickelson. Stewart would eventually win the coveted trophy with a 15 foot putt on the 18th hole. While the battle was being fought on the course there was something equally exciting happening off the course--Mickelson's wife Amy was on the brink of giving birth to their first child. As the crowd was cheering for Payne Stewart, he quickly looked for Phil. Phil was obviously disappointed with the loss. As the two men met, Payne reached out and literally held Phil's face in his hands. The words Payne spoke to his competitor and colleague had little to do with golf championships, winning or losing majors, or silver trophies. Payne had something far more important on his mind. He said, "You and Amy are going to have a baby, Phil...and there's nothing like being a father!" Mickelson would later say about Payne's comments, "Payne wasn't thinking of himself at the time of his greatest triumph, and that showed a lot of class; that showed the type of individual Payne Stewart was" (Payne Stewart, p. 23). Dads, what type of individuals will we be? Quite frankly--our greatest triumph will come when we take seriously being watchmen! Amen!