Just how many fathers can you have? How can you have a Rich Dad and a Poor Dad? How could Jesus say to the Jews, “Abraham is your father but Abraham is not your father”?
Robert Kiyosaki added fresh recognition to the truth of multiple fathering in the title of his best selling book on his wealth journey. In Kiyosaki’s case, so he explains, his biological dad was an academic and not a wealthy man. The father of his friend, however, was an entrepreneur, and quite wealthy. Young Robert decided to learn from the man he called his Rich Dad, things which his Poor Dad was unable to teach him.
So, in that case, we see how there are different levels of fathering. We each have a biological dad, whether we ever met the man or not. We also have people who ‘father’ us, but mentoring our lives. I call that kind of fathering as Devotional. We devote ourselves to their values, skills and qualities. We effectively become the student of our Devotional Father, as Kiyosaki did to his friend’s biological dad. That boy’s biological dad became Kiyosaki’s Devotional Dad.
Devotional sonship identifies us as taking on the values, character or spirit of another person, in order to gain from that connection. The ‘sons of the prophets’, in 2Kings 6:1, were disciples of the prophets in order to become like them. Some men are called the ‘father’ of all who follow a certain course. Genesis 4:21 identifies Jubal as the ‘father of all who play the harp and organ’.
If you are a woodworker then you could be called the ‘son’ of those who invented and developed that craft. If you are a philosopher you may be a son of Aristotle or a son of Plato – since you will have a different philosophical perspective, dependent on who your ‘father’ is.
Last Saturday I taught this topic to a group of Young Adults and I will build this concept into the Youth Horizons book which I am gradually developing. For now, though, let me sow some of this into your thinking.
I am currently reading through Proverbs as I read my way through the Bible this year. What is leaping off the page to me in the early chapters is the abundance of references to ‘son’. King Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, quotes from his dad, King David, advising him to seek wisdom. There we have the use of the word ‘son’ in a biological sense.
Solomon then uses the word ‘son’ freely in his own dialogue. The commentators readily assume that Solomon wrote this book for the benefit of his own sons. I suggest otherwise. If Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for his son, Rehoboam, then the book proves to be quite useless. Rehoboam did not follow the wisdom imparted in the book of Proverbs. Rather than respect the advice of his father and those who are wise, he listened to the foolish advice of his peers.
I suggest that Proverbs was written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to impart wisdom to all the children of God. The use of the word ‘son’ does not indicate biological sonship, but devotional sonship. Each of us who are devoted to God become God’s sons (even if we are female we enter the same place in God’s presence as any male can lay claim to – so I am not saying ‘sons and daughters’, but ‘sons’).
When the book of Proverbs says, “My son”, it is God calling out to any and all who will submit themselves in devotion to Him and make Him their Father.
You may have a Rich Dad in your biological father and a Poor Dad in your spiritual leader. You may have an Angry Dad in the man who is mentoring you in your career and a Wise Dad in the man who comes alongside to counsel you.
Be careful who your devotional and spiritual dads are. The Jews in Jesus’ day were biological descendents of Abraham but Jesus rightly pointed out that they were children of the devil (John 8:36-44).
I suggest you dive into the book of Proverbs again and read it as if it is written personally to you, from your loving Heavenly Father.