On July 26, Parents’ Day, we honor parents. But I wonder if God was thinking about a little more than that when he gave his Old Testament people the 4th Commandment. Honor your father and mother, is more than a good idea to do on occasion. (Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, 5/10!) While there is nothing wrong with setting aside a few days a year for the folks, how does God want us to treat our parents every day?
Martin Luther summarized God’s commandments in the Small Catechism. We still use that summary as we train our youth today. In it Luther writes that we are to “Honor, serve, and obey them,” and, “give them love and respect.” In just those few words we don’t have a check list of holiday gifts that need to be fulfilled. We have the charge to change our attitude. It’s true that the time might come when we need to not obey our parents, but there is no reason to withhold our honor, love and respect.
This is a GREAT lesson for young children. Having experience with five of them, I can tell you that it is exhausting to micromanage their little lives. I have welcomed the days when they can open their own bank accounts and take responsibility for finding their own spiritual nourishment. The nuclear family might be where this commandment starts, but it’s not where it ends.
Our God the Holy Spirit spills plenty of ink talking about the role that the government plays in our daily lives. While we might bristle at the thought of any control, God is the one who has put governing authority over us. Even though we have the “right to vote” that doesn’t mean we get to with draw our honor, service, or obedience on a whim. Want to hear more, including how Jesus kept this commandment for us? Watch this week’s Bible class on the 4th Commandment from our series, Back to the Basics.
Please click HERE for the Bible class slides.