“The Most Important Thing You Can Give Your Children”
Listen to Live Audio Message by Pastor Nix
Blessings are important, aren’t they? We ask for them – and couldn’t survive without them. God is the ultimate “Blesser” – so He has asked the same of His people: for Christian fathers to bless their children. The entire chapter of Genesis 27 speaks of one such blessing – when Isaac blessed both his sons, Jacob and Esau. His blessing consisted of a pronouncement of good and grace from God upon his children.
I believe ‘The Blessing’ could be summed up by a few simple words (with corresponding questions our kids often ask):
1. Affection – Do you love me?
2. Acceptance – Can I be myself around you?
3. Attention – Are you watching me?
4. Approval – Did I do a good job? Am I a smart kid?
5. Affirmation – Are you proud of me?
Children & teens today reveal something very disturbing… they are missing the blessing. The extreme rise of tattoos, piercings, goths, and unwed pregnancies are a glaring proof that little boys and little girls never found much of the above five factors in their home & church – which is precisely why they seek those things from other places / people. When Michael Jackson was asked why he underwent so many facial plastic surgeries, he simply replied that he just didn’t want to look anything like his father! After receiving the award for the ‘World’s Largest Sunday School,’ Dr. Jack Hyles (First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana), took the plaque and laid it face down on his daddy’s grave and cried out, “Are you proud of me now, daddy? I did what you said – what do you think of me now, daddy?” We never get too old, too big, or too famous to need the blessing.
If you didn’t get the blessing from your home or your church – you might feel like you’re on your own to make it work, like you’re not watched over or cared-for. When you pray and God didn’t answer, you almost expected it – maybe you didn’t do it right, maybe He had better things to do. Whether you are trying to fix your dishwasher, change your brakes, plant a garden, keep everything afloat, or raise kids of your own… at the core is a belief that you are fatherless… orphaned. It’s like we’ve been told to take a trip – without a map. Well, here’s your map:
1. You Cannot Give What You Have Not Received!
Giving the Blessing requires you must First have Received One! But what if your father didn’t give you the blessing? Keep reading… What if he was like most fathers who didn’t get it from their father? No problem! What then? You must get your blessing from God, your Heavenly Father. In Matthew 3:17, the Father said the words we all long to hear, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” And He will say that over you, too. Combine John 14:18 and Romans 8:15 – here’s what you get: God will not leave any of us orphaned. He adopts us into His family and desires for us to call Him “Daddy.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 isn’t a verse about our salvation, it’s a verse about our acceptance as we are called out of the world … “And I will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
2. Giving the Blessing Requires FAITH!
Amazingly awesome acts of faith in Hebrews 11… wouldn’t you agree? Abel’s sacrifice, Noah’s ark, Abraham’s sacrifice, Moses’ stand, Rahab’s choice, and many more. But right in the middle of this, a simple thing – a small thing – one that seems out of place: Isaac’s blessing on Jacob & Esau and Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s sons (v20-21). Did God include this out of courtesy to these men because they didn’t have anything else worthy of this chapter – but felt compelled to mention our Patriarchs? I don’t think so. I believe what Isaac and Jacob did was an act of great faith.
Blessings aren’t like anything else we do – they are a pronouncement of God’s good that will come upon another. They are prayers of faith, said aloud, for the benefit of the hearer (the child) as much as for the benefit of the One listening (God). Pronouncing a blessing is, in essence, proclaiming possibility – like a ‘prophecy’ of favor. It cultivates hope and expectation – but it requires faith… faith of the blesser (to speak in hope) and of the blessed (to live in expectation). You might be asking, “But how do I know what good will come upon him/her?” You don’t – but God does, and Matthew 7:9-11 teaches that God is a better Father than we could ever be. He give all kinds of great gifts to his children when they ask. So start asking!
3. Now, Give the Blessing!
Once you’ve obtained your blessing, and once you’ve mustered up the strength to give it – then just go and do it! And don’t be conservative about it – why be stingy with blessings? Children need fathers and mothers giving them blessings on a consistent basis. “Yes, honey, I think you’re beautiful. “Yes, son, I’m proud of you. “Yes, you’re smart. “I saw you make that shot and I sure was impressed! “No, sis, you don’t have to pretend for me to love you. “Yes, I love you with all my heart.”
Fathers, mothers, older siblings… you can bless the children in your home. Elder church members, you can bless the younger families and those visiting your church- those who aren’t quite comfortable yet with the way you do things. Mature Christian, you can bless those new to faith in Christ. We all have someone we can bless. There is an elder man in our church who just turned seventy-three. We threw him a little party with a big cake and a few cards… he nearly cried. He had never had a cake before – his parents never told him they loved him. He never got the blessing from his home – but he’s getting it now at the church. He was called to preach nearly fifty years ago, yet never followed through until now. Why? Because he never got the blessing. Today, he faithfully preaches in the local nursing home.
I can remember four distinct times when my father gave me a blessing (although I am sure there are far more than these).
– When my Dad bought his first computer in the late 80’s, he was very possessive of it – to make sure nobody messed it up. I can remember taking a DOS tutorial two times before he allowed me on to the computer. Just his permission to get on the computer was approval enough.
– On my first day of college, as we stood on the back deck of the dorm, as my mother and sister cried, just before they drove away and left me there – I can remember what my Dad said. He patted me on the shoulder and said, “Son, I know you can do it.” He blessed me.
– A few years after we had started the church, my parents came and joined our church. They didn’t do it out of convenience – and they didn’t do it right away, but they prayed about it and decided to help us charter the church. Their partnership was affirmation of their approval.
– Most recently, after self-contracting my current home and giving my parents a walk-through, my Dad turned to me and said, “Son, you’ve done a great job.” Nothing could have meant more. I don’t know if he said it or not – but what I heard was: ‘Patrick, I’m proud of you. You’re not just a boy anymore, you’re a man. You can do it – I knew you could.’
When is the last time you’re kids felt that kind of blessing? We ought to be the kind of father that God is – not just the kind of father that our fathers were. Boys need the approval of their masculinity; girls crave the acceptance of their feminine beauty. Will you give the blessing?
You are the apple of God’s eye… do your children feel that way? Psalm 17:8a “Keep me as the apple of the eye.”
Give your children a map worth following. Don’t leave them without THE BLESSING.
Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand ye in the ways…and ask for the old paths, where is the good way.”