Like most children, when I was very young, I memorized the Ten Commandments. The fifth commandment says, “Honour thy father and thy mother.” It is repeated eight times in the Bible. As a boy, if my mother said something once I was supposed to listen. If she said it twice, I was definitely supposed to listen. If she had to say it three times, it was too late to listen! When God repeats something it is always for emphasis.
This is God’s word to every young person: “Honour thy father and thy mother.”
For many years I quoted it without even knowing what it meant. The word honor means to assign value to something, to treat it as a prize. When God says, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” He is saying that parents are to be valued, prized as God’s gift.
The same word used in Scripture for honor is used in 1 Peter 2:7 for precious. Peter writes, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious…” Peter is speaking of Christ. Jesus Christ is precious; He is to be honored. There is nothing on earth as priceless as our Saviour! Many a Christian young person would never think of dishonoring the Lord Jesus and yet they dishonor their parents every day. When a young person does not honor their parents, they dishonor God.
Just as God gives parents children, God gives children their parents. Romans 13:1 says, “There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” A person cannot be right with God and wrong with God-ordained authority.
Obedience is good. Honor is best. Obedience is an action, but honor is an attitude. If children learn to honor their parents, they will obey them.
When I was just a teenager my dad put a sticker on my bedroom mirror. It was the first thing I saw every morning when I got up. It had one word on it: attitude. (I hated that sticker.) But it was good for me! It served as a constant reminder to keep my attitude right.
Now, as a grown man, I no longer have to obey my parents. Yet I have learned that honor is for life. I value them and hold them in higher esteem than ever before. When King Solomon’s mother entered his throne room, he rose to his feet, bowed down in front of her, and brought a throne for her to sit on. Solomon was the most powerful man on earth. Why would he show her such honor? He tells us himself in Proverbs 15:20, “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.”
When the Lord Jesus was dying on the cross He honored His mother. The weight of the sin of the whole world was on Him. In the midst of His grief He spoke to His mother and to the one who would care for her when He was gone. What an example Christ gave us to the very end of His earthly life!
Would you like to live a long and blessed life? Only God can grant that. And He only grants it His way: “Honour thy father and thy mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3). Everybody wants the product and so few are willing to go through the process.
In 2007, an art collector named Paul Martin was browsing through a rural Ontario yard sale. He had been going to flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales for more than a decade. On this particular day he discovered an oil painting of Lake Okanagan. Mr. Martin paid the full asking price of $200.
I have never really liked yard sales and would certainly not consider myself an expert. However, in my experience, $200 seems like a great deal of money for a yard sale purchase. What others did not recognize that day was that the painting was a very rare find. It would bring more than $100,000 at auction just days later. The reward only went to the one who was willing to pay the price. “Honour thy father and thy mother…that it may be well with thee.”