Honouring Your Parents All of Your Life

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Debbie gives a tribute to her mother in this Mother’s Day message. Then she shares why and how we should honour our parents as children, teens, and adults.

Mother’s Day Message May 9, 2020 Honouring Your Parents All of Your Life Good morning everyone, and welcome to our special Mother’s Day service. I recently come across this statement: “The first 40 years of parenthood are the hardest.” That means Craig and I only have 16 years to go! The reality is that every season of life brings its challenges. Parenthood is pretty intense in the beginning, especially for mothers. I remember those days with a newborn in the home. It was easy to lose track of time in the constant caring of the little one’s needs. Diaper changing, feeding, bathing, washing clothes, consoling, cuddling became the incessant rhythm of my life. On a good day I would get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. My Mom had four kids to raise—no easy task for sure. She was so patient, taking care of all our needs with such great efficiency and love. She cooked and cleaned and sewed clothes for us, cleaned up our scraped knees, and dried our tears. She loved us so much that every week she tried to disguise the liver we needed to eat in a new recipe. Thanks Mom! I remember my Mom getting everyone together to take our week-long road trip in the fall. She would pack all the bags and prepare the house for our absence, while my Dad would try to squeeze everything in the trunk of the car—no easy task. Once we started driving Mom’s job had only just begun as she managed the sibling interaction—or should I say sibling rivalry—so that my Dad could drive in some semblance of peace, which was good for all of us. Thanks Mom! Fast forward to the teen years and my mother found herself juggling our sports, church events, school events, and social gatherings, many of them at our home because we were renting a house with a pool. On top of other the other tasks she prepared mountains of food for the insatiable appetites of four kids and their friends. And then there were the hours of discreet counselling for the emotionally charged and testy teens who still wanted Mommy… along with the car keys. Thanks Mom! When we became young adults, things changed again. My Mom let us go, giving us the freedom to follow our dreams while constantly praying. She cheered us on, celebrating our successes and encouraging us when we failed. She was always available for a conversation, a laugh, or a cry, even when we were far away, living in California or Thailand while attending university. Thanks Mom! Of course my Dad was also praying for us and cheering us on, but today I want to focus on my Mom. So now the four of us kids are all grown up, with families of our own. We’re spread out from coast to coast in Canada, and most of us don’t get to see Mom and Dad as often as we would like. Our relationship has changed again. It’s beautiful in a whole new way as we share life as adults. My best and longest phone call all week is on Monday nights when I call my Mom and we share our news, our concerns, our laughter, our prayer needs, our hearts. Thanks Mom! With the remainder of our time together, I would like to look at WHY and HOW we can honour our parents—both mothers and fathers. I came across a wonderful sermon by Rick Warren, and I will be sharing quite a bit of his material today. Why Should We Honour our Parents? Ephesians 6:1-3 reads like this: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of everything going well and living a long life on earth. My favourite book here gives me a key to living a long and enjoyable life, namely honouring my parents. It’s so important that God included it in his list of top 10 rules, and it’s the first rule in the list that deals with human relationships. Why is it so important that God commands us to honour our parents? Why is it a key to a blessed and long life? Here are 2 reasons: 1. Every parent is flawed Your parents are flawed; their parents were flawed and if you are a parent, I’m sure you know that you’re flawed too. If your kids have kids, they’ll be flawed too. There are no perfect parents, but God asks us to honour the position even if the person is flawed. God gets us. He can hear us thinking. “If God knew my parents, there’s no way he’d expect me to honour them.” We don’t have to like everything they’ve done, but we do have to honour the position God has given them, because… 2. You wouldn’t be alive without them God chose them to be the people through whom he would bring you into the world. Whether they were good, bad or indifferent parents is irrelevant. The fact is He used them, their DNA, to make you unique. Psalm 139:15-16, NLT You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Please remember, you are not an accident. There are accidental parents, but no accidental babies. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did! There are illegitimate parents, but no illegitimate children. It took both of your parents to provide the DNA to make you! God was more interested in making you than their parenting skills. You may have had good parents, bad parents, terrible parents. They may have been absent, neglectful, or even hurt you. But no matter what, God used them to make you. So now that we’ve established WHY we need to honour our father and mother, let’s look at HOW to do that in every stage of our relationship with them. Honouring your parents as a child Eph 6:1, TLB Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you. As a child, I honour my parents by obeying them. If we have any kids listening in today, this is for you. It’s your job to obey your Dad and Mom. I know it’s hard sometimes, but it’s what you need to do. One of the most important life skills we can learn is how to respond and relate to authority. Our first classroom is the family. Children need to obey their parents. Sometimes it might be difficult to respect the person, (remember every parent is flawed) but we must learn to respect the position. If we don’t learn this lesson, we might not be able to keep a job for very long because bosses ask employees to do things, and usually this will include things we might not like to do. If we refuse, we might ourselves out of work in no time. Remember when Joseph and Mary and the whole family went on their yearly road trip to Jerusalem? It was such a party! Just think if you got your family and friends together for a reunion that lasted a couple of weeks. The kids would be having the time of their lives, running around with their cousins. Parents could relax without all the stresses of everyday work, and they probably didn’t worry so much about where the older kids were since the group was large and everyone was looking out for the others. That’s what happened when Jesus was 12 years old, except Jesus decided to hang out at the temple rather than join the others for the trip home. Imagine how frantic his parents were when after a day of travel, Jesus wasn’t found in the group. They went charging back to Jerusalem, and it took 3 days for them to find him. What was their state of mind when after 4 days they located him in the temple, sitting with the teachers? What would your state of mind be like if you lost your child for 4 days? After receiving a well-deserved reprimand, They probably told him in no uncertain terms, “Son, we’re going home!” We read in Luke 2:51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. Even though Jesus was the Son of God first and foremost, he respected the positions, the authority of his earthly parents and was obedient to them. Honouring your parents as teenagers and young adults I don’t know why my mother and I clashed sometimes when I was a teen. By that time I was pretty smart about a lot of things, and I could see where my way was much better than hers. Being Dutch in heritage, I didn’t have a problem with vocalizing my superior theories and ways of doing things. Needless to say, this often did NOT end well. Here are a couple of ways that teens should honour their parents: 1. Respect them Lev 19:3 says “Each of you must respect your mother and father…” NIV Hebrews 12:9 “We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us…” The Message So teens, please hear me out. Respect doesn’t mean that you don’t see your parents’ weaknesses. In fact, as you grow older it becomes quite obvious that they are flawed just like you are. In fact, their flaws might be all you see! But you need to accept them and forgive them. Respecting means accepting them—the good and the bad—and realizing that God gave them to you as parents. Now some might say, “Why should I accept my parents? I didn’t have a choice!” Well neither did they unless you were adopted. Respecting also means forgiving. You need to forgive your parents for their weaknesses, their faults, their mistakes, because you’re going to need forgiveness too. So we honour our parents by respecting them, talking to them and about them with respect and not dissing them. They’re your mother, and your father. 2. Listen to them Teens also honour their parents by listening to them. In respecting your parents, accepting, forgiving and listening is actually something we should do all our lives, but it might be most difficult during the teen years when you know everything and your parents don’t! The Bible has a lot to say about listening to parents. “Intelligent children listen to their parents; foolish children do their own thing.” Prov 13:1 The Message Now if you’re a young adult and you’re out on your own, you are not bound to follow your parent’s advice. But you are bound to listen respectfully. There will never be a time in your life where you can be disrespectful to your parents, even if they aren’t living the kind of life you would want to follow. Through many years of marriage and family counselling, Pastor Rick Warren observed that “Even parents whose lives are personal disasters, and I mean disasters, often are spot-on about what their kids need. Even when a parent’s life is falling apart, they often know what’s best for their kids, and we ought to listen to it. Even a broken clock is right twice a day!” So it’s important to listen to your parents. Don’t wait until they have it all together because you’re never going to have it all together either. “Listen to your father’s advice and don’t despise your mother’s experience.” Prov 23:22 Living Bible God gave you your parents for a purpose—to help you become the person He wants you to be. I’m so thankful for the way my father and mother coached me, taught me. “Do what your father tells you, and never forget what your mother teaches you. Keep their words with you always, locked in your heart. Their instructions will lead you… protect you… and advise you… Their instructions are like a lamp; their corrections can teach you how to live.” Prov 6:20-23 Today’s English Version Honouring your parents as adults “When your mother is old, show her your appreciation.” Prov 23:22b Today’s English Version 1. Appreciate your parents What should you appreciate? The list is long! Here are a couple of ideas: Appreciate their effort Parenting is difficult! Have you ever thought about how much easier life would have been for your dad and mom if they hadn’t had you? They put up with you—your dirty diapers, your snotty nose, your testy emotions, your misbehaviour. We also need to appreciate their sacrifice. For one thing, your mother sacrificed her body to have you. Do you know what a pain it was to bring you into the world? That’s sacrifice! If they hadn’t had you, your parents would have been a whole lot richer. It is estimated that raising a child in Canada until the age of 18 will cost around $270,000. That’s more than a quarter of a million dollars! And that doesn’t even include when kids come home as young adults. Can you imagine what your parents could have done with a quarter of a million dollars? A nicer house? A nicer car? Vacations? Instead they spent the money on your food, your clothes, your school, your braces, and everything else. Having a child is truly an unselfish, sacrificial decision. Rick Warren says, “A parent is someone who has photos where there used to be money.” So there’s a lot of sacrificing, but also a lot of joy involved. Proverbs 23 talks about children who make wise choices. Verse 25 says “May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!” Do you give your mother joy? I hope that on this Mother’s Day weekend if your mother is around you will give her joy. It really doesn’t take much. Sadly in Western culture elderly parents are often neglected, some shuttered away in care homes. Their advice isn’t valued, their lifetime of sacrifice forgotten. Adult children get so busy with their own kids that they don’t have time for their parents anymore. What a huge loss this is. The Bible says very clearly that we are to value, respect, and esteem the elderly. How much more so our own parents! They need to know how much you appreciate them, love them, perhaps more than ever before. How do we affirm and appreciate our aging parents? It’s really quite easy. Stay in touch. It says, “You matter to me.” To honour means to recognize the significance of something. So every time you make a call, you’re honouring your father and mother. Any time you send an email, a card, a gift, any time you show up, you’re honouring your father and mother. When I call my Mom on Monday nights we share our news and the details of our lives. Some things might seem unimportant, but the sharing shows that I care and value my mom’s input, which I truly do. I remember Craig calling his mother when she was still alive and she never had much to say. She didn’t even really ask questions, but he took the time to share what was going on in our family as well as hearing her concerns. This was honouring his mother. The Bible talks about another way we need to honour our parents as adults. We need to 2. Provide for them “Everyone should provide for their own relatives. Most of all, everyone should take care of their own family. If they don’t, they have left the faith. They are worse than someone who doesn’t believe.” I Tim 5:8 NIRV As life progresses, you might find yourself providing for your parents. This is a natural and normal process. They took care of you, and later you need to take care of them. It’s your responsibility. Paul goes even further in this chapter to say that we are to treat older men as our fathers and older women as mothers. He also tells us to put our faith into practice by repaying our parents and grandparents for all they’ve done for us by taking care of them. This is where we prove we are Christian. This is honouring our parents. Even Jesus, as he is dying on the cross, took care of his aging mother. Just think. There was nothing more important than what Jesus was doing on the cross in dying for the sins of all mankind. And on the cross, he only said 7 things, and one of them was about taking care of his mother, who was likely a widow. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:25-27 NiV Jesus passes the responsibility of caring for his mother to his best friend, even when dying for the world hanging on the cross. You honour God when you honour the parents he used to create you, whether they were good parents or not. It usually doesn’t take a lot of money to honour your father and mother. It just takes a lot of love, and that’s free, that’s your choice. How do you give them love? By giving them your time. What if it’s hard for you to honour your parents because you experienced neglect, rejection, physical, emotional or sexual abuse? I am so sorry about that. You might still be struggling with the pain, the unfinished business, the hurt, and yet God asks you to honour your parents. What do you do? Pastor Rick Warren says the following: “God doesn’t want you to fake it, he wants you to face it.” Go to your parent and tell them about the hurt you still feel and come to a resolution before it’s too late. If you can’t talk to your parents, then talk to a Christian counsellor. You’ve got to deal with it so you can go on with your life and relationships in a healthy way. Healing begins with facing it, not faking it. God, as your heavenly father, loves you completely and perfectly. He alone is the perfect parent. Let’s honour Him by following his command to honour our parents, all the days of our life. One last story about my mother: If I got up early enough and came downstairs quietly, I would find my mom on her knees in the living room, praying. She hasn’t stopped. Thank you, Mom, for everything! I love you to the moon and back! To all mothers everywhere, THANK YOU, and Happy Mother’s Day! Prayer None of us had perfect Moms or Dads, but we honour them on Mother’s Day because you choose them to create each of us. For some people, this is a difficult day, so we ask you to comfort those with heartaches today: - who’ve lost their mothers - who’ve lost a child through miscarriage or death, comfort them - who’ve been hurt by a child - who are trying to blend 2 families together - Single moms or widows who are raising the next generation on their own Comfort those who’ve wanted to be moms but it just hasn’t happened At the same time, we celebrate those who’ve given birth to babies this year or have adopted or fostered children. Thank you for the joy of new life, a new home We celebrate those who are carrying babies right now. Healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries. Mothers who are experiencing the empty nest & are missing their chidren Grandmothers. May they have a powerful influence on their children & grandchildren Thank you for the women who serve as spiritual mothers and grandmothers, mentoring the younger generations. Thank you for the powerful, relentless prayers of mothers On this Mother’s Day we commit ourselves to honouring, loving and protecting our physical and our spiritual mothers in the church. We thank you for the gift of mothers. We pray your blessing on them today in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
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