Friday, September 5, 2008

The Command to Honor ll

God's command to honor our parents included a promise. He commanded the Israelites to treat their parent with respect so their "days may be long" upon the land that He was giving them (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:16 NKJV). It's curious to me to note that there's no time frame for this command. It doesn't limit it to the 'days of our youth' or anything like that. It simply says to honor your parents. I don't think that that sense of honor given to parents has an expiration date on it. I think we are to honor our parents for our entire lives, even when we disagree with them. My son and I are worlds apart, politically, but there's never been an instant in my life when he has failed to give me the honor that God says he should.

This kind of honoring means that our children respect our authority. And God promises that those who honor their parents will prosper in their relationship with their parents and their God. His promises do not necessarily guarantee survival until an old age. The two words "days" and "long" seem to imply productivity, strength, and satisfaction rather than a certain number of years of life. So honoring our parents won't necessarily give us more years to live, but our years will be better years.

God's promise still applies to us today. But sadly, our chaotic and self-filled world prizes independence over obedience and youthful opinion over the wisdom that comes from maturity. Today there is an anti-God climate prevailing in society and as a result we see children of all ages rebelling against all sorts of authority. And, what's worse, they seem to escape all forms of discipline for their attitude and conduct. This has led to two different attitudes. One says that people need not accept the responsibility for their own actions, and the other seems to permit neglecting the greater need in favor of personal appetites and desires. It's that what's-in-it-for-me attitude that disrespect for parental authority seems to foster. For an example, we need look no farther than our own roads and highways where people dangerously ignore the posted speed limits and other warnings.

To build and establish a Christ-honoring community within the culture of the world, believers must teach their children to honor authority and then discipline any acts of disobedience and lack of respect. It all begins with honoring our parents. One primary way to achieve this is by modeling honor ... it starts with the family; our families should see us treat our very own parents with respect and consideration and they should witness our own obedience to simple traffic laws. If they see us honoring their grandparents and being obedient in our civic duties, they will tend to be obedient and honoring also.

Please note one thing: Honoring our parents is not a suggestion. The Lord has placed these important people in our lives for a reason. Regardless how we may feel about the way they have served in their capacity, we are still to obey God by offering them care, respect, and honor. No where in Scripture is written that we are to honor them as long as they make us happy. Or honor them until they we turn 18 or 21. Honoring our parents in simple obedience is a command, not a suggestion.


I have had more problems blogging lately. First my computer was down. Then my blogger wouldn't allow me to post a blog for some reason. And then this morning I got in and got all my chores done early so I could blog for the rest of the day if I wanted, only to discover that my server was down. Comcast has been so bad this past month or so. Rarely a day goes by that it isn't down for a time. I have to post my blogs around their service. So I apologize for being so hit and miss lately.

We took our new car on it's first shopping trip yesterday and it performed perfectly. I got up at 6:30 and started some sausage links simmering while I got dressed to go. Then I popped some bread in the toaster and woke hubby up. We ate our toast and sausage with mustard and were on the road by 7:30. Yea. Finally we have A/C and it was too cold to use it that early in the morning. By the time we got to WalMart it was 8:00 and had warmed up. So we slipped out of our long sleeves before going in. We always split up our shopping to save time. M does the 'house' shopping as well as his personal shopping and I shop for all the animals and myself. I finished my shopping and took everything out to the car. Locked it up and then walked back in and found M so I could help him with his list. He only lacked a couple items and I was able back track and find a couple products that he hadn't been able to find. We got everything into the trunk of that little car and headed for the butcher shop. Then it was time for the A/C and it worked like a charm, just as I knew it would! We haven't had the luxury of having A/C for so many years now that it almost felt decadent. But we loved it. We finished our shopping at the supermarket and made it across the river, up out of the canyon, and were home by 10:30. I thought we did really well this month. Both of us hate to shop in the first place but going early like that isn't as bad as it is going later. It was so inefficient going in the middle of the day the way we used to do. We'd leave late, drive in the heavy traffic in the full heat of the day, shop with the crowds, and get home late afternoon. The whole day was shot. This is so much better. And I have to give my hubby all the credit for getting us out of that all-day shopping rut we were in for so long.

Well, now I need to get down to some serious writing because I have a confession to make. I have been just heartsick the past few days. You know how it is to miss an opportunity? To wish you'd done something but it was then too late to really do anything about it? Or like the times you think you'll do a sweet favor for hubby and get him a cup of hot coffee? And you know how it feels when just as you get up to go do it, he asks if you'd please get him a cup of coffee? You have had something like that happen to you, I'm sure. You've felt that same sense of disappointment. And when that happens that opportunity to serve him on your own is missed. You still get him his cup of coffee but every thing's different. It's just not the same. (Things like this happen with me a lot because my hubby and I think so much alike.) Anyway the point is something was missed and it isn't as sweet as you'd planned it to be. Well, I'm here to tell you that I missed an incredible opportunity when I got my new car and I've been heartsick ever since. Let me explain.

I did not appreciate that car as I should have. And I didn't demonstrate that appreciation as I wish I had. For years we have limped along with a car that wasn't reliable but it was always appreciated. But a solution to our vehicle problems had been the subject of continuous prayer for years. For at least ten long years I prayed for a reliable car. I prayed God would do something ... anything ... because it was beyond us to do anything to help ourselves. Let me just say that the Cadillac had been a gift to us to start with and for awhile it had been just great. But then things started going wrong with it and with it being a Cadillac it always cost a fortune to repair anything that went wrong. It seems like everything that had to be repaired was at a minimum, $400. Early on, the Lord would have one of M's painting sell and we'd suddenly "have the money" to make the repairs. This was, we knew, God's way of taking care of us and He did that more than just a few times. We also realized that God also used different members of our family to come forward and help us out. But the Cadillac was simply wearing out and I was praying so hard for exactly what we got: a new car that would be economical for us to use and inexpensive to repair should something go wrong. Well, as I said, I prayed about this continuously. The past couple years as we watched the Cad deteriorate faster and faster, I prayed harder and harder. I prayed every single day for the answer to our problem. I whined and cried because I never knew if the car was going to be stranded somewhere. Every time I left in it I prayed that it would get me back home. (That has got to be one of the most helpless feelings to experience. To be stranded away from home with a car that does nothing when you turn the key in the ignition. And you stand there without a credit card, with a checkbook that has a single digit balance in the register, and with only the odd change in your pocket. And add to that the fact that you have no cell phone and couldn't hear on one anyway. Talk about helpless!) Well, finally (for me) but right on time (for God) he brought my son and daughter-in-law along beside us and gave me exactly what I had prayed so long and so hard for and ... this is where it hurts ... I did not pour it out as an offering to God as I should have. After all this time, after all the years and prayers I missed my greatest opportunity.

Don't get me wrong, I did thank God. But I didn't pour it out to Him. With the solemn determination in my mind and my heart, I should have, but did not, pour it out. As soon as I realized that something was too wonderful for me, that I was not worthy to receive it ... I should have poured it out before the Lord as an offering to Him. In my heart and mind I should have given it back to God to thank Him for His faithfulness. If I am forever keeping my blessings to myself and never learning to pour them out to my Lord, other people will never have their vision of God expanded through me. I held tightly to that car because I had desired it for so long. I selfishly grabbed the possession of that car. I wouldn't even let M drive it. I hogged it to myself, clutching it to my breast, calling it "my" car. I acted shamefully. And I feel so ashamed.

I missed the opportunity of a lifetime. I may never again be blessed with such a longed for blessing that I could pour out to God. That instant of time slipped past and I totally missed it. Oh, I can do it now. In fact, I have already poured it out to Him ... now. In my heart and in my mind I have poured it out as an offering to my God. But it's just not the same. It's simply not the same. I know that God has forgiven me but it's that terrible disappointment I feel in myself that tugs at my heart the last few days. I missed it and I can't go back and do it right. And this saddens me deeply. I have not progressed in my walk with my Lord nearly as far as I had thought I had. My sense of personal 'spirituality' has been shaken to the core. I'm not nearly as holy as I had thought. As I had hoped.

But, praise God, I didn't disappoint Him. He knew before He gave me that car that I wasn't going to pour it out to Him. And He gave it to me anyway. He also knew I was going to grow through my own blatant failure. He was going to drive a point of personal growth home with the impact of a new car. So I have disappointed myself and learned that I'm not nearly as holy as I thought I was. And now I have to wonder if I have truly learned my lesson. I pray that God will give me another opportunity in the future to do then what I should have done this time. I should have determined in my heart and mind that I wasn't worthy of such a gift and just poured it out to the Lord. I can't explain any better what I'm trying to say so I hope this is making sense. I hope you hear the tears of my heart. The disappointment in my words. The sorrow of my missed sacrifice. But now I can say that I have grown. I have grown in the realization that I have so far yet to grow.

1 comment:

Debra said...

Just wanted you to know I'm pressed for time right now, but have read half of your blog, and half of the last post. I LOVED this one about honoring. Very well said.
Much love to you, Debra