“HOW DO WE HONOR PARENTS?”                            By Pastor YAU

Text: Proverbs 1:1-15; Exodus 20:12               Parents Day: June 4, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Western tradition: Celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a big time of modern day American culture regardless of critics’ complaint that it has been too much commercialized. Usually we will buy our parents gifts, take them out to dinner, if parents are not with us, we will send them cards and money as gifts of appreciation and thanksgiving. While all these are good things to do but doing it once a year is far from enough in expressing our gratitude and appreciation.

2)   Chinese tradition: Honoring parents is an important part of Chinese culture even though we don’t have a date designated as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day on the calendar. From ancient times Chinese people, from emperors to the commons, embraced the importance of honoring parents. Children were taught to honor parents by being obedient to their teaching and grown ups by taking care of parents when they are in old age. In traditional Chinese families, few will send their parents to a nursing home when they are too old to take care of their own needs.  

 

WHY HONORING PARENTS?

1)    It is God’s command: When God issued His Ten commandments to the people of Israel, and through them to all the people of the world, He saw it important enough to include “honoring parents” and listed it in the center of them. Some Old Testament scholars, such as the prominent Dr. Samuel Tang, retired professor of Old Testament at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, believed that the fact “honoring parents” was included in the first five of the Ten Commandments which deals with our reverence and respect to God, God wants us to revere and respect parents as we revere and respect God.

2)    It is our honor: We all know that some of the things we do that are honorable and others that are not, and honoring your parents is one of them if not the most honorable of all. Consider how much your parents care for you, sacrifice for you, love you, teach you, provide you and have done so much for you to bring you into this world, to grow up the right way and still continue to coach you to make sure you eat right, dress right, do right, and date right when you become older as teenagers. Anyone who has a right mind and a good conscience will honor his/her parents for all they have done. This is called acts of honor and is part of civilization.

3)    It is necessary: From the ancient of days, children supported and provided for their parents when they become old and unable to take care of themselves. This is true in all cultures of the world. As parents provide and care for their children when they were too small and were unable to take care of themselves, it is necessary for grown ups to provide and take care of their parents when they are old and can’t take care of themselves. This is what God has mandated mankind to do. Many of the modern day grown ups have passed the buckets of caring for their parents to the government or demand their parents to take care for themselves. For those parents who are capable of taking care themselves both financially and physically, that is fine. But for those who cannot, it is necessary for children to feed back what their parents once fed them for many years.

4)    It is moral: Family is the best system God has created in caring of people: parents, children, siblings, grandparents and even relatives. To be in a family means more than just have biological or legal relationship, it is also about moral responsibility. It is immoral for parents not to take care of the needs of their children when they were small. It is equally immoral for grown ups not to take care of their parents when they are old and cannot take care themselves. In order to have a moral society, people in the family must bear moral responsibilities to one another.

 

HONORING PARENTS IN THE BIBLE:

1)   Holding sweet memories: “Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married her. So she became his wife, and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Gen. 24:67) We all know the story how Sarah longed to have a son and God gave her Isaac. Sarah must have 3devoted her whole life to her only son: took the best care she could, taught him all she knew, loved him and provided him all she had but she died before Isaac became an adult. (23:1-2) Isaac was devastated by the death of his mother, holding all the sweet memories of her and was feeling empty on the inside until the day he married Rebecca. Instead of setting up his own tent, he chose to make his home in his mother’s tent where he could recapture all the sweet memories of his mother with his wife and then his empty heart was filled with love of a woman once his mom and now his wife. One way to honor our parents is to hold those sweet memories for a long time, never forget what they had done for us.

2)   Sharing success and glory: Every time I saw a sports champion, holding his trophy over his head and shouted, “Thank you mom,” my heart was filled with joy not because of his success but because of his dedication of his glory to his mother: he shared his success and glory with his mother knowing that without the dedication and everything else his mom has given him, he won’t have come this far. I am thinking of Joseph and how he cared the well being of his old age father when he was on top of the Egyptian world. Joseph took on himself so much trouble to get his father and all who belonged to him to Egypt so he could be close to the father, took good care of all his needs and shared with him all his success and glory being the real ruler of the land. When you are successful, do not forget who has helped you and brought you this far.

3)   Taking care of the elderly: Being a young widow, Ruth could have many options for the future of her life but she chose to take care of her old age mother-in-law. Her famous saying to Naomi: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my god.” (Ruth 1:16) had been quoted millions of time to symbolize unconditional commitment of love. Knowing that Naomi would have no one to take care of her or provide her needs, Ruth took it her mission to take care, to provide and to protect her mother-in-law. No wonder God blessed her to be the grand mother of King David even though she was a Moabite, a gentile. Want to honor parents? Take care of your parents when they are old and helpless.

4)   Obeying your parents: “Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.” (Luke 2:51) We are talking about Jesus, the son of the living God who took on a human form to be with us so He could save us from our sins. And this Son of God was obedient to his human parents when he was a young boy at 12. How often do we see young boys and girls at this teen age time obey their parents thinking that they have known better than their parents? How do we honor parents? How about listen to them?

 

HOW TO HONOR PARENTS?: Being a parent himself, King Solomon gave us a few clues what parents would like to see their children manage their lives so they will feel honored.

1)   Grow in wisdom and prudence: (1:1-6) When the Bible describes the growing process Of Jesus in Luke 2:52, it says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” All parents rejoice to see their children grow in physical dimension, big and strong. But they want to see more than that: they want to see their children grow in wisdom (the ability of understanding) and prudence (the ability to make right decisions). So many children broke their parents’ hearts not because they are small in stature but because of their lack of wisdom and prudence to understand life and make right decisions.

2)   Grow in fear of God: (1:7) Fear God is not afraid of God but respect and reverence of Him. All Christian parents should pay attention to the spiritual aspect of their children and do their best to bring them close to God. It is also a personal commitment for youth and young adults to pursue their close walk with the Lord. Keeping yourself fearing God, walk closely with Him will protect you from falling and direct your life in the right path. Build up a habit of respecting God and His Word the Bible will keep you safe in this dangerous world. Solomon said it clear in Prov. 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Too many children lack guidance from parents in learning to fear God and even they may do well in worldly things, they grow up godless and bring much shame and heartbreaking to their parents.

3)   Grow in obedience: (1:8-9) The society today ridicule those who listen to their parents especially among teenagers and young adults. The idea is “you are old enough to make your own decision”, “it is a sign of being wimpy to listen to parents,” and “parents are too old, they don’t understand today’s life.” etc. But the Word of God has so much to say about obeying parents and their teaching. With all the experience of life parents have, the stumbles and pain they have gone through, the unconditional love they have for their children and wanting to see the best for them, children ought to pay attention to what their parents have to say and obey them.

4)   Grow in righteous life: (1:10-15) These verses of the Scripture describes the sin, crime and vile life style the wicked and evil may seduce our children into their traps. From the warning in these verses we see the worries parents have in regard to their children’s life style. It is very important for children, young and older, to be mindful that their life style affects their parents. One way to honor your parents is to stay away from the wicked and the wild so you won’t get yourself in trouble, brush with the law and put your parents in shame to have a child like you. Keep yourself straight, away from the evil and help your parents and yourself that you all may lift your heads up.

 

COMCLUSION:

1)     It is more than a date to celebrate: Either it is a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Parents’ Day, it should be more than just a date to celebrate. It should be a day to make a commitment that you will bring honor to your parents, to make them feel proud of you.

2)     It is more than earthly parents: Our commitment to honor parents should be extended to our Heavenly Father, our God. If you have not yet recognized your Father in heaven, today is the time you need to come home to Him.