MANY TEACHERS, FEW FATHERS

I am writing this brief article partly because it will help me (And hopefully others) reflect on a vital perspective of living out of a heart for the kingdom of God. Recently, I learned of the home going of my oldest and longest father in the Lord, DeVern Fromke. He was a very rare gift in the Body of Christ. He was no doubt a father to thousands through his spoken and written words.  His books, especially THE ULTIMATE INTENTION, will live on to transform hearts and minds for the kingdom for many years to come. As I have grieved my own personal loss, I have reflected on the key issues of this man of God’s life and the impact on his generation. He was the embodiment of a true spiritual father. I will share some distinguishing marks in his life as a hint of what true fathers are all about. I make no claim that the list is complete or sequential in their importance.
Fathers recognize you as a true son. Many biblical examples come to mind: Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Jeremiah and Baruch, Jesus and the twelve apostles, Paul and Timothy. The inner witness of recognition between fathers and sons is how the journey begins. Many years ago, I was saddened to hear someone complain, regarding a well-known ministry, “That man is my father but he doesn’t even know me”. Fathers and sons walk in fellowship and labor; candor and true friendship as part of mutual recognition and honor.

Fathers are not controlling but affirming in their relationship to a son. They are not insecure in their identity. Therefore, they are able to affirm others who are coming into their God-given identity and purpose. We see, for example how the apostle Paul understood Timothy’s timid nature and calls him to live out of his true God-given nature. “God didn’t give you a spirit of fear but power, love and a disciplined mind”…”Stir up the gifts that are inside you!” are some of the words of encouragement to Timothy as a son in the faith (See 2 Timothy 1:6-7)
Fathers challenge you to grow unto your full stature in the Lord. The apostle John identifies the stages of growth and development we each can attain to: “little children, young men and fathers”(See 1 John 2:12-14). I recommend a brief but profound article from G.D. Watson, “OTHERS CAN, YOU CANNOT”(May be found on internet). This article has been an unusual blessing to those who are growing in their identity as sons. The voice of the Father may be heard as you prayerfully read, hearing a call to new growth and development.
Fathers model their lives through both words and deeds. What they teach is exemplified through their daily living. Paul’s exhortation, “Follow me as I follow Christ”(1 Corinthians 11:1) should be a maxim of every true spiritual father. “”If you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators me”(1 Corinthians 4:15-16 NASB). 
Fathers live sacrificially for the sake of sons. Our Lord Jesus is our model of the Father heart of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 2:3-5 NASB).
Finally, Fathers help you to see through a wider-window. The things that are eternal in their consequences are the things they point us toward. DeVern Fromke was such a father, helping me see Life’s Ultimate Purpose and dedicating myself to this pursuit. He has fought a good fight, kept the faith and finished his race with grace and honor. He has entered into his rest and allotment. Who will receive the baton for a new generation?
Copyright © 2016, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared without cost provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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