As many of you know, my mother passed away just over a week ago. It was completely unexpected and it has been quite an adjustment for our family. My mother was a great mom, and getting used to living life without her in it will be new territory for us all. I spent the last week mostly trying to take care of my dad. He’s so strong and made of good stuff, but even this was enough to shake him a bit. More than anything, I have wanted him to be okay. So I have tried to honor him in the ways that I have attended to him and loved him.
As I have tried to be intentional with dad this week, it has made me think a lot about this whole idea of honor. God thought enough of it that He included it in His top ten. Exodus 20:12 says it. “Honor your father and mother, so that it may be well with you, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
When I was a kid growing up, I knew that my mom and dad worked hard in their community to live lives of integrity and good character. As a young child, and even into my teenage years, it was important to me that I never did anything that would bring them dishonor. I knew that there was nothing I could do that would cause them not to love me, but I could do plenty to dishonor and embarrass them. That desire to honor them kept me from doing
I used to think honoring my parents was for them, and to a point, it was. But ultimately, it was for my own benefit. That particular commandment is the only one that, if kept, comes with a promise for the keeper. If I choose to keep this commandment, I am promised a life of blessing… a long life of blessing… in the land God gives me.
If you have trouble with that… take a moment and think of families you know. Ones with at least two kids. Ones with at least two kids where one has chosen to honor their parents, and another has chosen not to honor them. How is life different for these two children? I’ll bet you find one struggling in some way, and it will likely be the one who is dishonoring their parents.
When kids choose to dishonor their parents, they grow up into adulthood with an inability to be under authority. This makes it hard to be successful in school, in jobs… in all areas of life, really. They also find it hard to submit to God’s authority in their lives. We are always under some kind of authority. If we do not learn early how to be under authority successfully, we will always struggle. I believe this is why God put it in His top ten.
All of my four children have passed through a high school internship at our church called “2:52”. It is grounded in the verse, Luke 2:52. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”. It is a great opportunity, and all of my children bear the imprint of passing through that internship. My youngest, Evan, is spending his second summer in this internship. They are BUSY. They are gone, gone, gone doing this, that, and the other thing. All good stuff with all good people, but still, it feels like I sometimes lose track of who he is with and where.
I managed to snag him for a moment yesterday to remind him of Luke 2:51. “Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them (his parents) and was subject to them”. You see, even Jesus was subject to his parents. This comes before the next verse where it says… AND he grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. First, Jesus was subject to his parents, and THEN he received those blessings.
My dad blessed me this week and allowed me to honor my mother one final time at her funeral. As I stood to speak before the crowd gathered to celebrate her life, I was not sure I would be able to get through what I wanted to say about the woman that I called Mom. But a supernatural peace, the one that passes all understanding, came upon me and I honored my Proverbs 31 Mother. I was able to “rise and call her blessed”, and “honor her for the works her hands had done”.