Good fathers serve an essential role in the family, and it’s surely fitting that we express our love and gratitude on Father’s Day. After all, the fifth of God’s Ten Commandments begins with “honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12), which the apostle Paul later affirmed as the “first commandment with promise” that affords well-being and long life (Ephesians 6:2-3). Good parents are worthy of praise.
That said, this Father’s Day will feel empty to me. As many know, my father, Dr. Henry Morris III, was called home by God last December at the end of a very difficult year. The Morris family will still gather, just as we always have, to enjoy sweet fellowship over a good meal while children and grandchildren play outside in the early summer sun. But this year there’ll be one empty chair at the head of the table, one less handshake or hug to share, and one less “Love you, Dad” to say. He will be missed.
Good fathers, living on Earth or living in glory, remain worthy of honor. But what’s required to be truly worthy of such praise? Biblically speaking, it starts in childhood as parents are exhorted to “train up” their children “in the way [they] should go” (Proverbs 22:6). However, godly instruction is primarily the responsibility of the Christian father, applied with a gentle and firm hand to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This must begin with the father’s own commitment to godly leadership and godly living, attributes my dad modeled consistently throughout his life.
Perhaps the strongest incentive for godly living is the impact of a father’s example on his child. From King Solomon we know that “the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6), and children do indeed “glory” in their father when his example is good and godly. They will, like me, desire to follow his moral and spiritual model in their own lives and lead their own children in God’s righteous ways.
Apart from his love for my mother, my dad had three great loves in his life: God’s Word, God’s people, and God’s work through ICR. He held Scripture in the highest regard and preached or taught God’s people nearly every Sunday for well over 50 years. And with ICR, he accomplished what few others could do. He not only maintained the integrity of the marvelous work of his own father, ICR founder Dr. Henry M. Morris, but he even built upon it, enhancing nearly every facet of the ministry until bringing the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History to fruition.
Through it all, my father’s faith in God to provide and guide was his greatest testimony to me. And the Lord blessed! By His grace, Dad left ICR in excellent standing—completely debt-free, with new leadership in place and a dedicated staff committed to studying and proclaiming the truth of God’s Word. ICR is stronger and more effective today because of his godly leadership—and this son can truly “glory” in his father.
God has used ICR to equip multitudes of fathers and grandfathers (and mothers and grandmothers, too!) with solid resources to help train their children in biblical truth. Perhaps our work has personally touched you in this way. Or perhaps like me you have the tremendous privilege to glory in the godly legacy passed on by your father and grandfather. If so, ICR prayerfully invites your help in support of our ministry to “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:6).
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.