Twenty years ago, I was looking for spiritual parents who would give me their shoulder to lean on. I found people; many gifted people, people with a mission, people with passion, people called for a purpose, people with charisma, people who could prophecy accurately, people who could explain complicated stuff with such clarity, people who know ‘what next’ with great assurance, people who can pray fervently and people who have faith like a mountain. I have stopped looking for a spiritual parent and have decided to become one.
Fast-forward twenty years. Last week we had a meeting in Jacksonville, Florida with a group of people. There was a young man who shared his heart, he was straight and honest, and his words were rightly piercing. I sat there in tears thinking here is another young trumpet that sounds a clear call, who is going to get ready and act? His heart is bleeding for fatherhood! His cry is, “where are the fathers for my generation who are ready to enter our world?” Some father figures who sat there may have misunderstood his heartache, thinking, – he is a hurt man; he needs inner healing! No, for God’s sake no! He wants a father who will readily give him a shoulder to lean on.
In the absence of a father, there are slaves. Why do I say that? Read further!
I have heard a whole variety of sermons on the story of The Lost Son. I have not heard many sermons on the son who stayed with the father. The older son after a hard day’s work comes home and hears the sound of music. He learns from a servant that his father celebrates the homecoming of his younger brother. He becomes angry and refuses to go inside the house. His father comes out and pleads with him to join in the celebration.
The son answers: ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends…’ There it is! That son was a slave in his own father’s house! He does not address his dad, ‘father’; neither does he acknowledge his status as ‘son’. How can this come to be? In the family of God, there are slaves. We burden our sons with orders and duties. Do this, do that, say this, do not say that, and if you fail, if you make a mistake…!
“Where are the fathers for my generation? Where are the fathers who would readily enter our world?” was the heart-piercing cry of the young man last week. The sons are always with us slaving and obeying the parents’ orders. They hear their fathers say, ‘all I have is yours’, but they also see the goat remain tethered to the pole. The fathers mean it well when they say ‘all I have is yours.’ However, the sons feel enslaved when they hear that. The more the fathers try to pull the sons into their world the stronger the sons feel to party with their generation. This is the father-son ‘tug of war’. ‘Fathers, come and see the world through our eyes!’ is the sons’ heart cry.
Dear fathers and mothers, please make it easy for them to come inside the house. They have worked hard in the fields the whole day. Let them be sons and daughters, not slaves. Don’t only give them orders, give them once in a while a goat that they deserve to party with their generation! Let them experience a father in the house and not a slave driver. Stop pulling them into your world and try to see the world through their eyes. Please give the next generation some space to celebrate with their friends and you join them. Hear them cry; their heart is crushed – give them a shoulder to lean on.