An Open Letter to Dads

An Open Letter to Dads

So, what does it take to become a father?

Not much, actually.

A few minutes of selfishness, thoughtlessness, and carelessness and voilà – A Child Is Born.

Congratulations . . . you’re a father.

It’s no big accomplishment, really. Any guy can father a child. The bar for fathering children is very low, so low, in fact, that lots of guys bail over it without a second thought.

. . . and then they bail.

If there’s one thing the 21st century has tried to teach us –  it’s that Dads are dispensable.

But nobody asked the kids who stare down the road wondering when Dad is coming back. Ever been to an orphanage? They don’t think Dad doesn’t matter.

There is a unique space in the heart of every kid that only the love of a father can fill. Many single moms have done well but you’ll never meet one who will tell you their child didn’t need a father.

And that’s why Father’s Day is so much more than a card with a joke inside. It’s not about the guy who brought someone into the world. Biology doesn’t make a father.

The real father is the man who quietly steps up and lays down his life day after day, doing all those unseen things that say, I’m there for you; I love you; your needs come before mine; you are an important, valuable person.

Dad, you matter.

Who thought you were the man for the job of being “Daddy”? God did.

We often think, “I’m so blessed to have these kids.” And, that’s true, but something else is true, as well. Your kids are blessed to have you as their dad. God chose you not only to be a father, but to be the father of the specific children you have.

From God’s perspective, you are His blessing to your children. God wants your children to know about Him and He picked you out of all the dads on earth to make it happen. Read Deuteronomy 6.

So, the next time your tempted to think you’re not that important – that you’re not getting anywhere, the next time you see an advertisement with a mocking reference to the buffoon dad, the next time you wonder if what you’re doing matters over the long haul, remember, God doesn’t make mistakes.

He chose you, Dad.

He chose you for His purposes and His plan. That’s one of the great comforts we Dads can take in knowing God. He always has a plan. It may not be apparent in those everyday moments that often seem unimportant but faithful fatherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.

You matter, Dad.

You matter because God chose you and you’re there, day after day, faithfully doing all those things that add up to being a loving dad. And that’s becoming an increasingly rare gift to kids, these days. Your quiet faithfulness does not go unnoticed by your Heavenly Father.

To all the Dads out there: Happy Father’s Day

~ Matthew


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  • cris

    Beautiful and true! Our “kids” are adults with their own children now. My husband has been a great Dad to them all these years. Many times he felt he didn’t do enough, wasn’t around enough (because of the long hours he’s worked), didn’t know how to “daddy”. But they knew then and know now as adults that their Dad loves them and would do whatever he could for them. He was and is always there for them. Think I”ll print this letter out for him to read on Father’s Day – he still needs to hear this! Thank you.

  • Shonda

    That is absolutely the most powerful message that I want my husband to hear! WOW! What a great reminder to all dads about how much they mean to their children (and wives!). I am so proud of my husband and I can’t wait to share this with him.

  • Debbie J

    As an adult that didn’t have a Dad growing up, he got killed before I was born, I know that a Dad in the house is very important to a child. I did have my grandfather to be my first Dad. And then my Mom remarried. The man she married was not Dad material. He was a very unGodly man. I am lucky that I did marry a man to be a Dad to my children. He is not their biological father, but he is their Dad in every way imaginable. I thank God every day for him in my life and in the lives of my adult children.

    Thank you for this letter! I speaks to my heart, and is so true about my husband.

  • Sandra L

    I really enjoy your website and posts. They are a wonderful source of encouragement. I have a question, what about the couple that does not have children? Do you have any encouragement for them? I hope so, because I am one-half of such a couple. We are not able to have children and most Christian websites portray parenthood as the Lord’s greatest blessing, but that leaves us, feeling unworthy of God’s best. I know that Jesus is God’s best & that we are all unworthy of Him. I hope you understand what I am asking.

    • Matthew Jacobson

      Dear Sister,

      You are not unworthy. Everyone is asked to walk a different pilgrimage. I can tell you that if Lisa and I didn’t have 8 kids, we would have adopted. We still talk about it. And, one point in the article is that biology doesn’t make a parent. Love, commitment, faithfulness makes a Dad (& Mom!). I’ll bet you and your husband have these things in abundance. I don’t know if God is asking you to have a big family or not but, being uniquely situated to adopt a child longing for a Dad & Mom, it’s worth exploring with Him.

      Did you know our heavenly Father is the original adoptive Father? Everyone of us is adopted into His family. Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:5 tell the story of our being adopted by our loving Father.

  • Del

    Thankful for all the dads who are there for their kids….really there. Please remember to pray for all the grand-dads who are filling that role for the so many children of fathers who ‘bailed’.

  • Stuart Reece

    Hi Matthew.

    You are right. Many Dad’s know that. What about the thousands of father all over the world who have their children stolen from them by selfish, dishonest women via the feminist family law system??? Children who are lied to so much they grow to hate their fathers – who were otherwise good – and never hear from them again???

    Fathers who might be sent to prison or have their lives completely destroyed financially by lifelong pensions for the self-centred lies of their self-absorbed women who buy the devil’s lies and the feminist legal system that supports, empowers and enables their witchcraft?

    Far from being a rare problem this issue has been very commonly reported the world over since easy divorce, as I am sure you know. Single smashed dad’s are the great silent invisible casualties of the family law divorce revolution. Inner cities are filled with these people, so often ignored and pushed aside, who often wander like waifs, discarded by the throw-away culture, forgotten, alone, and unable to come back. I know. I care for these men. The stories are so often the same, they are almost photocopied. Why are no politicians interested in redressing this gross iniquity??? Why is it too hot to touch and politically un-doable???

    Thankyou and bless you for the amazing encouraging work you all do.

    In Jesus,

    Dr Stuart Reece.

    • Matthew Jacobson

      Dear Stuart,

      As you point out, sin comes in many varied circumstances and it’s always destructive. You signed of, “In Jesus”. I’m in Jesus, too, and looking forward to The Day when He will return, straighten out this crooked world, and wipe away every tear. Revelations 21:4. In the mean time, we are His ambassadors in the various spheres to which we have been called.

      Come Lord Jesus.

  • Scot

    While I do appreciate the tribute to dads, I had a couple of small quibbles. First, you say that becoming a father only requires a moment of thoughtlessness, selfishness, and carelessness. As the prospective father of my first child (My wife is due in December.), I remember the night my child was most likely conceived, and it was not a moment of thoughtlessness, selfishness or carelessness. It was a night when I was, while enjoying myself, also tending to the needs of my wife, and making her happy. We knew what we were most likely doing, and had waited until we were married to begin. So, it was not thoughtless, selfish, or careless. Your comment made it seem that conception is always a selfish moment for a man, and that is simply not true.

    My second quibble has to do with the fact that often a man has no (or very little) say in whether he has any role in his children’s life. The term “single mom” is a euphemism that conflates widows, divorced women, and unwed mothers, as if they were equally virtuous. Many women in our society leave their husbands, seemingly on whim, and usually, the moms get custody of the kids. Often, they demonize the husband, and minimize his visitation/exposure to his kids. In those cases, it is the mother who has decided that a father is not important to his kids, so you can’t blame the man for not being a good dad. Also, for every man who conceives a child while not married to the mother, there is a woman who was conceiving while not being married to the father. So, the woman has taken just as much of a volitional step as the man.

    By the grace of God, this has not happened to me, and I am not intending to indict every divorced woman/unwed mother (I’m sure every one of them is completely guiltless–and will angrily tell you so!). However, it just seems a little at odds with reality to portray men as always conceiving in selfishness, by accident, and then to absolve the “single moms” of their share of the blame when those kids grow up without a dad.

    Thanks for the encouragement to be a man, and to be involved in our children’s lives. This is my first time reading your blog, but I don’t intend for it to be my last!

    • Matthew Jacobson

      Thanks for the comments, Scot. You rightly point out that becoming a father can (and absolutely should) be a purposeful, thoughtful process. This short article was focusing only on one aspect of the process, sadly all too common. As to the other points you raise, I hope you didn’t take this article as in any way absolving anyone, dad or mom, of sinful actions in the relationship. Indeed, there are many women/wives/mothers who walk contrary to God’s Word, as well. The brevity of the blog format necessarily prevents a full-orbed treatment. And, thanks for your encouraging words. I consider them an honor.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you Dr. Stuart Reece for you comment. My thoughts exactly! Mainly because my wonderful husband is one of those casualties. His children robbed from him and poisoned by the lies. He has tried to reach out to them but it is all a game of control & manipulation which we refuse to play. The ones who are left most damaged in this casualty are the one’s who do not know how much he truly loves them and would love for them to be a part of his life. The only comfort he finds is knowing that they belong to the Heavenly Father first and that He loves them more than we ever could. We know He has a plan and we pray daily for the children to know His plan even if it means we are never a part of that plan.

  • Maria

    What about how men should relate to God and the mother of their children? I say if men got these things right children would be better off and all the right things wold fall into place. As a former single mom, my ex gets no credit because he treats me like garbage and doesn’t raise our daughter in the Lord, as I try to know. In fact, he hinders my efforts and treats me with contempt. But of course, I smile through fathers day for my daughters sake…..

  • Mark Warner

    Hey Matthew – thanks for this message.

    It hit me at a time when I needed to hear it. Found it re-posted on Kirk Cameron’s blog.

    It really meant more to me than I can tell you.

    Thanks again.

  • JenM

    Why would I respond to this article two years later? At the time I linked the article on Facebook, pulled out the quote below and thanked my husband for being that kind of dad. Since that time, he became sick with cancer and after a pretty short fight but on God’s timetable, he arrived home safely and received his “well done, good and faithful servant.”

    This Father’s Day, our first without him, I will again link your article and share the following:

    “The real father is the man who quietly steps up and lays down his life day after day, doing all those unseen things that say, I’m there for you; I love you; your needs come before mine; you are an important, valuable person.”

    This quote was true of my husband. He loved his family and lived sacrificially for us every single day. Quietly. Unassumingly. It was his character. Who he was manifested itself in how he lived.

    As a result, when push came to shove as he became sick and his condition worsened, he chose to make decisions that would benefit the future of his family at the expense of his own. We were so blessed to have him. My hero.

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