* The church I belong to here in Mass, went through a sermon series of the 10 Commandments. They named it “91 of 10” (91 days of the 10 Commandments). They had a wonderful idea to create a blog, where each week, different members of the church would elaborate or write on the commandment covered that week by our Senior or Associate Pastor. By an act of generous faith (and complete surprise to me), I was asked to be on the team of writers for this blog. I think it was because God wanted me to see more of Himself that I’m often blind to. Because I know it had nothing to do with “ability”. The times where God is shown more apparent, are the times when we are beautifully “less” in the limelight, and these times I cherish. This is one of the blog entries I wrote for www.91of10.com which is still up and running, should you desire to read more words of the disciples at Grace Community Church during this series. Until I can get the time and inspiration to write something new for whoever is reading, I thought I could make use of some past collections. This entry discusses “Honor Your Father and Mother”. I thank you for your time. 🙂 (A note: each entry was asked to begin with a verse that helped inspire the writer, and correlated with the Commandment, and it was also asked to end in a prayer. Such outline follows below)
“To the elders among you…Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:1a, 2, 5-6)
A few words stick out to me in the verses above: willing, humility, humble. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but these aren’t easy adjectives to steadily achieve. Something Mike touched on, in Sunday’s service, was the cultural significance of the commandment to “Honor your father and mother…” (Exodus 20:12a). I think of the setting: a crowd of dissension awaiting Moses’ return from the mountain. A crowd of almost 2 million, agitated and in the beginnings of their wandering, are the audience to these commandments. (Hebrew men, women, children and a mixed multitude of non-Israelites) [Ex 12:38, 43b-45 support the record of others joining.] What an array of people! There must’ve been families of all sizes and types and backgrounds. It can’t be that different from some of today’s family dynamics. God knew these words needed to be said. Early on in their journey. For the problems and years to follow would no doubt test the patience of parents, children, elders and youth. How many opportunities must there have been for the youth of this crowd to be reminded of these words, of how they were to honor and obey.
There is humility in service. I would argue that it would be enormously difficult to achieve one without having the other. Likewise, I can think of little else more effective than to honor someone with a willing act of service. So God gave the people in exodus something foundational and vital to begin their relational journey: “Honor…so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” There is no hidden meaning there. It is a simple call, an offered insight to a sustaining joy. Honor those who are entrusted to be over you (a mother, a father, a guardian, an elder of any sort), for they have a duty and charge as well…to lead you with lovingkindness, just as our Heavenly Father watches over us.
It is true, there are so many with different parental backgrounds and experiences. The devotions from these prior days point to such varieties, and they offer insightful viewpoints and ways to truly live out this commandment, no matter the circumstance. I find that truly humble and honoring. There is proof that our conditions do not dictate our actions. As Mike said, the cycle can break with you. That is a choice. It is a very real choice. It is one which will take great humility and an understanding that God is the designer of all. Through Him, through the shed sacrifice of Christ, we are able to do anything in His name. This includes honoring others. This includes laying down our pride and to willingly serve those who are entrusted over us.
I must input that I count myself, where words cannot fully describe, abundantly blessed with the parents Our Lord gave to me. To serve them is easier than I can fathom, for the service they have lavished upon me since my birth is innumerable. And yet, because I am fallen, I have still failed at opportunities to revere and honor them. So even though this commandment may seem easier to someone like me, who has had such love and support from my father and mother, it is still a great responsibility and an enormously needed reminder, that I am called to daily honor and serve them.
Prayer: Father, may we be ever-thankful of those in our lives who have emulated your Love and Guidance in our lives. Mothers, fathers, bestowed guardians. May we serve them as a way of praise and gratitude; may we honor them through humility and service, however that may look. And Lord, for those who are struggling with how to honor parents who were insufficient in directing us to your Grace or by a way of upbringing, may you open their eyes to a way they can still bring honor to their name. Provide us all with the strength and absence of pride to achieve your will. Thank you for the ultimate service of your Son. It is by His name we may beseech you, Amen.