“The picture of a father” by Charles Spurgeon

“Survey the picture of a father who sees his child returning from the error of his way. In the New Testament, you see the portrait Divinely drawn.

When the prodigal was a great way off, his father saw him. Oh, to have quick eyes to spy out the awakened!

The father ran to meet him. Oh, to be eager to help the hopeful!

He fell upon his neck, and kissed him. Oh, for a heart overflowing with love, to joy and rejoice over seeking ones!

As that father was, such should we be; ever loving, and ever on the outlook.

Our eyes, and ears, and feet should ever be given to penitents. Our tears and open arms should be ready for them.

The father in Christ is the man to remember the best robe, and the ring, and the sandals.

He remembers those provisions of grace because he is full of love to the returning one.

Love is a practical theologian, and takes care to deal practically with all the blessings of the covenant, and all the mysteries of revealed truth.

It does not hide away the robe and ring in a treasury of theology; but brings them forth, and puts them on.

O my brethren, as you are the sons of God, be also fathers in God!

Let this be the burning passion of your souls.

Grow to be leaders and champions. God give you the honour of maturity, the glory of strength!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 193-194.

“God is smiling” by Martin Luther

“Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason, takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, ‘Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? O you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful, carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.’

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.

It says, ‘O God, because I am certain that Thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with Thy perfect pleasure. I confess to Thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving Thy creature and Thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in Thy sight.’

Now you tell me, when a father goes ahead and washes diapers or performs some other mean task for his child, and someone ridicules him as an effeminate fool—though that father is acting in the spirit just described and in Christian faith—my dear fellow you tell me, which of the two is most keenly ridiculing the other? God, with all His angels and creatures, is smiling—not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.”

–Martin Luther, “The Estate of Marriage” in Luther’s Works, Vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 45; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 39–40.