Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Is there a difference between a father and a daddy?

Almost any man can be a father. It’s a biological process requiring the fertilization of an ovum. But a daddy? That can be another matter.

Father is a title. The role of a father demands honor and respect. They can be loving but distant. A father can also be an absentee father. An abusive father. A neglectful father.

There’s another layer to fatherhood. There are fathers…and there are daddies.

Daddies are accessible. Caring. They want the best for you…always. Daddies aren’t perfect, but they are motivated by sacrificial love. They make mistakes, but they aren’t afraid to ask for forgiveness.

Their hearts are invested in their children. Daddies listen to what their children say and don’t say. They are their kids’ biggest cheerleaders. Daddies give their children loving discipline to prepare them to spread their wings and fly to new heights.

Even if a man’s father failed to show him how to be a daddy, every man has the perfect Father as a role model. You know what’s coming, don’t you?

God is both our Father and our Daddy.

Jesus called God Father. But He also called God Abba – the Aramaic word for Daddy.

Three times in the New Testament, Jesus called God Abba, Father.

“‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”

This combination of the two names reflected God’s role as both sovereign Father and intimate Daddy of Jesus…and of us.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) is a wonderful illustration of this dual perspective on the fatherhood of God.

In New Testament times, it was considered humiliating for a father to be seen running in public. Especially so for him to be seen running to a rebellious son. Yet in this parable, Jesus used the image of a father running to welcome his son (Luke 15:20) as a picture of how our Abba Father welcomes us into intimate relationship with him despite our own rebellion.

Honor your father this Father’s Day. Enjoy your daddy this Father’s Day. Most of all, regardless of how wonderful or disappointing your earthly father is or was, remember that, by faith in Christ, your heavenly Father is also your Abba and you are His precious child.

As you celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, what are you most thankful for in your earthly father? What are you most thankful for in your heavenly Father?

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