Honor, Mother's Day 2014

May 11, 2014

Big Idea: Parents are special, worthy of respect, love, obedience…and honor


Happy Mother’s Day! This is a day of great celebration for some and sorry for others. Because it is a family day, it is a day of reflection upon those mothers who have passed away and buying or making gifts for those with us. It can be an emotional day. It can be a complicated day. One thing is for sure: each one of us has had a mother who labored in giving birth to us and, in most instances, raising us.

I want to talk about the Ten Commandments.
When you think of God’s Top Ten List, what is the first command that comes to mind?

I want us to spend a few moments reflecting upon Command 5. It’s not a “thou shalt not” command, but rather a positive, affirming command with a promise.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

We rarely use the word honor in our culture. It almost seem old-fashioned, unless it refers to someone in the military. The original Hebrew word, kabed, means “to be heavy, to be wealthy, honored, glorified, renowned, substantial.”

The Ten Commandments appear in Exodus 20 and again in Deuteronomy 5 where it says

“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 5:16)

Don’t miss the promise: “that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is given you.” What land? This is God’s promise to the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land after a forty year journey through the wilderness. This idea of honoring dad and mom is a really big deal!

Sometimes people mistakenly dismiss the Old Testament as somehow unimportant. They call themselves “New Testament Christians” and rarely turn to the front of their Bible. You cannot understand the New Testament without knowing the Old. It’s like walking into the second act of a play, having no clue about act one. Today, by the way, we are living in act three of God’s story…HiStory.

On several occasions Jesus referred to the Ten Commandments. Matthew and Mark both recorded His words:

For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ (Matthew 15:4)

For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ (Mark 7:10)

Did you catch the penalty for cursing or dishonoring dad or mom? Death!

Have you ever thought of that?!

The question of the day is
how do we honor mothers? This is not always simple.

How do you honor an abusive mother?
How do you honor a deceased mother?
How do you honor an estranged mother?
How do you honor a mother you never knew?

Perhaps you may think your mother is not worthy of honor or glory.

We recently studied Paul’s instructions to the church in the city of Ephesus and beyond. He wrote

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” — which is the first commandment with a promise —“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Here we see honor connected to obedience and a reminder of the promise. This gives us a hint at what is meant by the word

Perhaps you may think your mother is not worthy of obedience. You may disagree with her instructions.

As we noted last week, God created man and woman and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. Marriage and the family was God’s idea. When His commands are followed, we are able to flourish and thrive, experiencing joy, peace, and satisfaction. Tragically, sin affects all families and relationships, fighting against God’s design and seeking to steal, kill and destroy the abundant life God intends for each of us to encounter.

I’m reminded of another of Paul’s writings, one of my favorite verses:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)

Notice it says, “as far as it depends on you” live at peace with everyone. We have an obligation to do our part, but can never control another.

As much as it depends on you, obey God’s commands.
As much as it depends on you, show honor and respect to your parents.
As much as it depends on you, seek reconciliation in broken relationships.
As much as it depends on you, live a life worth following, bringing honor to your family, your family’s name, and God.

For those of you with great, living moms, express your love and appreciation for them. Give them a hug, kiss them, tell them how much they mean to you, make a gift for them, or the greatest thing of all…
buy them chocolate!!!

If mom is distant, call her or video chat with her. Visit her. Write a letter.

If your mom is no longer living, you can still write a letter, say a prayer, tell others about her, or reflect upon her life, thank God for the life she gave you, and live a life that would honor her.

Moms, how have you been honored by your children?

Children, how have you honored your mom?


I often think about generations of families passing a baton from one generation to the next. If your baton was broken, ask God to bring healing and holy duct tape to it in order to provide a solid baton to the next generation. It’s never too late to begin a legacy of faith, hope and love even if it was never a part of your heritage.

As you may know, yesterday I had the privilege of honoring
my dad by doing his funeral. It was one of the most important moments of my life as I desperately wanted to celebrate and pay tribute to the most influential man in my life, a great godly man that influenced so many lives, even during his many years of failing mental and physical health. While I worked hard to say the right words to pay homage to his life, the greater work begins today by my actions. I want not only my words but my life to bring honor to my dad…my mom…and my heavenly Father. What about you?

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