I enjoy reading my newspaper. My kids enjoyed crashing through my newspaper to sit on my lap. Of course, nowadays, it's getting harder to bother your father while he's checking out the news. You'd have to jump on his iPhone.
Anyway, I could relate when I heard about this little guy who kept interrupting his dad while he was reading his voluminous Sunday paper. For a while, Dad was able to buy a little time by saying "pretty soon, Son." But eventually, Son wasn't buying it.
So, deeply immersed in the sports section, his father had a sudden brainstorm. There just happened to be a full page ad that showed a map of the whole world. Resourceful Dad tore it into lots of little puzzle pieces. "Here, Scotty - why don't you put this puzzle together? As soon as you're finished, I promise we'll go out and play ball." Scotty eagerly hit the floor with his ragged pieces of the world.
It was just about two minutes later when he came knocking again on his father's newspaper. "I'm done, Daddy." "What? With all those pieces? How did you ever put the whole world together that fast?" The boy's answer blew his dad away. "It was easy, Daddy. There was a picture of a man on the other side!" Score one for the kid. But then came the clincher: "And when you put the man together right, the world goes together just fine!"
This Father's Day season, a lot of dads will get celebrated - maybe even pampered a little, if they're lucky. But beneath the "World's Greatest Dad" shirts and the "You rock, Dad!" cards, a lot of fathers realize an uncomfortable secret. "I'm not the man I should be." I know this man needs some "putting together right."
Being a dad exposes a lot of baggage you might have been able to ignore before. Our children see behind closed doors the real us that few outside ever see. Our kids are our mirror. And sometimes we don't like what we see. Like those things that our parents did that we said we'd never do - and we're doing them. We see - reflected in our children - our weaknesses, our failures, our selfishness, our baggage. One dad told me, "I look out the window at my precious eight-year-old daughter in the yard - and I think, ‘I just can't be what she needs me to be.'"
Every father who's honest with himself knows the feelings that are expressed so bluntly by one of the writers of the Bible. He said, "What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Then he cries out in a desperate desire to change: "Who will rescue me?" (Romans 7:15, 24).
That's what all of us fathers need - if we'll be honest about the darkness we’ve got in us. We need a rescuer. That Bible writer found Him. The answer to his "who will rescue me?" is to the point - "Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
My hope as a dad has been His rescue from the dark side of me. Jesus came here to tame the monster of sin that first poisons us, and then progressively poisons everyone we love. I might not have thought it was so bad when I was the only one being hurt by my sin. But now it scars the people I love the most. I want to change - but if I could have changed, I would have. Like every dad, I really do need the Rescuer.
Truth is, a man needs Jesus to be the man he needs to be. That his wife needs him to be. That his children really need him to be. And when a man surrenders himself to Jesus, He unleashes the same power that raised Him from the dead to change a man from the inside out.
The Bible promises that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). That miracle makeover begins when a man says, "Jesus, what You did on the cross for me is my only hope. From now, You drive."
Jesus can beat the sin in a man, because He died on the cross to pay for every sin of our life. The selfish things and hurting things - He'll forgive every one of them! Then that son or daughter God gave you gets a gift that will change them, too. They get a new dad. With Jesus in his life.
Because when Jesus puts the man together right, the world of his family will go together just fine.