There are many great verses about Fathers in the Bible but one of my own favorites is found in Luke 15 and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Go there with me this week as we approach Father’s Day 2019! Read vs 11-32. Most of the focus in the Parable is on the “prodigal son” but this week let us look at the prodigal love of the prodigal father. What a fantastic picture we have here of the ministry of fatherhood: Verse 12 shows us the father’s ministry of “GIVING”.  We fathers can do great harm if we’re not particularly careful with what we “GIVE” our kids! It is very easy to give too much or too little: freedom, work, responsibility, accountability, education, wisdom, time, entertainment, encouragement, praise and love and most important of all – a Biblical upbringing focused on the word of God.  Examples abound in the Bible that show us where fathers succeeded or failed by their giving in these categories. Verse 13 shows us the Father’s Ministry of “LETTING GO”: The father knows his son is making a major mistake. I am certain it broke the father’s heart to let his son go. However, letting go isn’t always a bad thing and in some cases it’s a blessing. Like giving a son or daughter in marriage, or off to start their life as adults. Verse 30 reveals that this Father learned of his son’s riotous life and of how he’d been reduced to squalor & hunger. I doubt this surprised him, but I imagine it broke his heart even worse. Here we see the Father’s Ministry of “TOUGH LOVE”. We might expect the father to pack up and go “hog-tie” his foolish son and bring him home. But we know that wouldn’t solve the problem. Why not? Because the son has a sinful heart and bringing him home won’t fix it. His heart would still be in the far country! This father knows that. Even when he learned his son was starving, he didn’t send more money! Why not? Because more money would only be wasted on more sin and wickedness. Many parents help their children remain in sin and wickedness by giving them the money to finance it. No…this father knows that more money isn’t the answer. His son must “COME TO HIMSELF” and see the “far country” for what it is and realize the error of his ways. TOUGH LOVE may require a father to let the hard lessons be learned! Sometimes a father must pray and wait for a son / daughter to “wake up”! In verse 20 we see the Father’s Ministry of KEEPING WATCH: When that son was yet a long way off his father saw him, he was waiting, praying and watching and his faith prevailed! A Father’s Ministry includes keeping watch for his children [Praying for them, looking out for them, having intercessory faith for them, keeping hope that God will work in them]! Even when friends and siblings have given up, a Father must KEEP WATCH! In verses 22-24 we see the father’s ministry of “FORGIVING, FORGETTING and RESTORING”! Yes, the son made a mess but that is past. There is repentance and the father sees it. So, he embraces and welcomes a son home. Many fathers need that one!