Wilbur phoned his mother who lived several states away.
“Hey, Mom. How are you?” he asked.
“Not too good,” she said. “I’ve been very weak.'”
Wilbur, concerned, asked, “Why are you so weak, Mom?”
“Because I haven’t eaten in 23 days,” she said.
“That’s terrible!” Wilbur said, “But why haven’t you eaten in 23 days?”
“Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should happen to phone,” she said. *
I laughed when I read that, but then I felt a pang of guilt.
Some people call their mom (and/or dad) every day. Sad, but I don’t.
But why is this important?
Honoring parents is part of the 10 Commandments. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (ESV).
This is repeated by Paul in Ephesians 6:1-3.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise. … “
We may outgrow the admonition to obey our parents as we become adults outside their home, but we cannot outgrow God’s command to honor them.
Honoring parents is about respect both in words and actions. It’s an attitude of keeping them in esteem … valuing who they are as people created in the image of God with God-given authority in our lives as we grew up.
Jesus was our example of a child’s submission to earthly parents (Luke 2:51), and He submitted to His Father in heaven’s authority as well (Matthew 26:39). We are to approach and respect our parents following Jesus’s example—respecting authority in attitudes, words and behavior.
We can honor our parents in their position, even when we struggle with their behavior. Honor does not mean we need to affirm ungodly parents’ actions or imitate them. (See Ezekiel 20:18-20.) We are always to obey God when our authorities’ instructions or commands contradict God’s commands (Acts 5:29).
Practical ways to honor parents:
(1) Talk to them with respect, whether on the phone or in person. And listen to them!
(2) Never belittle them in front of anyone, especially grandchildren.
(3) Include them in some of your family events.
(4) Remember days that are special to them.
(5) Make much of their teaching and attempts to provide a spiritual legacy.
What if you do not have a mom or dad still alive?
I think God wants us to remember and honor the “Spiritual Dads and Moms” He has brought into our lives too: godly teachers, counselors, ministers, other relatives, etc.
Think about it.
Who has blessed you? Strengthened or encouraged you? Challenged you? Pointed you to Christ? Invested in your life?
The Lord uses people in community, and He is pleased when we recognize, honor and express gratitude to those who have influenced us in positive ways.
So call your Mama (Or Dad). Don’t forget your spiritual “parents.” Make their day. Show them honor and love. Express gratitude in practical ways.
And remember: God has a blessing for you!
– * Humor, adapted from “Witty and Funny Mother’s Day Jokes.”
Graphic: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net,