Exodus 20:12 Psalm 78:1-8 John 19:25-27 Ephesians 6:1-4
“Once upon a time there was an old man. His eyes blinked and his hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with his spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth. Now he lived with his married son, having nowhere to live, and his son’s wife was a modern young woman who knew that in-laws should not be tolerated in a woman’s home.
“I can’t have this,” she said. “It interferes with a woman’s right to happiness.”
So she and her husband took the little old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen. There they set him on a stool and gave him his food, what there was of it, in an earthenware bowl. From then on he always ate in the corner, blinking at the table with wistful eyes.
One day his hands trembled rather more than usual, and the earthenware bowl fell and broke.
“If you are a pig,” said the daughter-in-law, “you must eat out of a trough.” So they made him a little wooden trough, and he got his meals in that.
These people had a 4-year-old son of whom they were very fond. One suppertime the young man noticed his boy playing intently with some bits of wood and asked what he was doing.
“I’m making a trough,” he said, smiling up for approval, “to feed you and Mamma out of when I get big.”
The man and his wife looked at each other for a while and didn’t say anything. Then they cried a little. Then they went to the corner and took the little old man by the arm and led him back to the table. They sat him in a comfortable chair and gave him his food on a plate, and from then on nobody ever scolded when he clattered or spilled or broke things.” (Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain: An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments, (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1954), p. 60-61)
Did this story get your attention? I am glad that it did. The 5th commandment comes with a promise, but it is not just a carrot dangling in front of us. There is much to this commandment. As we hillbillies have been learning, the 10 Commandments are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. That is to say not only does Jesus live the 10 Commandments, but disciples who follow Jesus are able to live the 10 Commandments as well.
A. Jesus lived the 5th Commandment (John 19:25-27)
1. While the soldiers who crucified Jesus were thinking of what they could get from him, Jesus had his mother on his mind
2. Mary watched Jesus die on the cross
3. Jesus made sure that his mother was had someone to care for her
4. The beloved disciple was given the task of caring for Jesus’ mother
5. Jesus had the weight of our sin on his shoulders, yet he still honored his mother. Jesus made sure that even though his work on earth was being completed that someone was looking after his mother. I know that Jesus did many wonderful miracles. It is not always in the miracles that we see Jesus at his best. It is through the compassion in the ordinary things that Jesus excelled. It appears that obeying God in the everyday matters of honoring one’s parents that Jesus helps us to see the benefit of obedience.
B. So, what does it mean to “honor” someone? (Exodus 20:12)
1. “kabed” – (Hebrew) be heavy, give weight to
2. The opposite word is read in Exodus 21:17 – “qll” – (Hebrew) to curse, to treat lightly
3. The idea of honor becomes giving “appropriate seriousness” to our parents
4. Honoring someone is not done only by speaking, but from the heart (Isaiah 29:13)
5. Yet, honoring is not loving your parents, or child, more than God (Matthew 10:34-39)
6. Our lives are lived in the company of other people. Forgetting the ways of our parents because they are “old-fashioned” is an example of treating lightly our parents. Yes, this disregard of our parents’ values and way of living can cause us problems. The closest people to us whom we can relate is our parents. Living out the first four commandments involves having God first in life, and also giving the appropriate seriousness to our parents. The Ten Commandments are about life, and we learn how to live by watching our parents. Several years ago, one of Fuzzball’s favorite songs was “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins. It is about a boy who loves his mom, prays, and wants to be like his dad. Even as we grow older, honoring our parents has a sense of copying them because we see the good things that comes by living the way they do.
C. What does it matter if our days may be long in the land that the Lord our God is giving us?
1. Deuteronomy 5:16 includes “and that it may go well with you”
2. The commandments are to be taught to your children & grandchildren (Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 32:46-47)
3. When we go against our parents, we cause harm to ourselves (Proverbs 30:11-14, 17)
4. What about those parents who don’t seem to be honorable?
a. Give them the honor that is due them
b. Refrain from speaking ill of your parents, no matter how bad they are
c. How they wrong they have lived does not give us permission to follow suit
d. Learn all the good you can from your parents, no matter how little that is
5. Fathers have the responsibility to instruct their children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1-4)
6. I have heard it said that grandchildren are the reward for not killing your children! Yes, obedience to the 5th commandment allows us to live to see our grandchildren. Honoring our parents has benefits for us that go beyond hoping for a great inheritance of wealth. It is the inherent knowledge that they gave us life that is the basis for our being here today. Together with God, your parents created you. Just as we place God above all else, we place our parents before any and all new ways of living in this world. Straying from what ma & pa taught you can cause you harm. The Lord God wants you to live. It just might be a good idea to follow the good ways that our parents taught us.
Our parents are our parents. We cannot trade them in for a new pair. We can give them the appropriate seriousness they are due. We follow the good they have taught us.
Last week, I undertook a 12-hour round trip to see my parents. At first it would seem that I was doing this for myself. That I needed to visit my parents to get a break. It turns out that my visiting my parents is more than that. Visiting my parents is my way of letting them know that they are still important to me. Spending time with my parents is one way that I honor them.
Yes, you brought pictures your parents. Those around you can see the pictures. Today may just be a good to remember all the good that our parents taught us. It might be a good idea to tell stories with folks after church about your parents. Tell your children and grandchildren about your parents faith in Jesus Christ. Tell your parents “thanks” for raising you in church. Whatever you do today, live so that God and your parents are honored.