|Let us pray: Dear Savior, in order to provide for our needs and give us great joy in life, You have graciously given us both mothers and fathers—Christian mothers and fathers. In self-sacrificing love they have shaped and nurtured each of us by always pointing us to You and Your Word of truth. Today, as we honor them, we’re really honoring You. Accept our thanks and our praise for loving, Christian parents. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO CARES FOR US IN WAYS WE CAN NEVER EVEN IMAGINE!
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
CHRISTIAN PARENTS ARE THE BEST!
I have a book which lists sermon texts for various days which God’s Church can celebrate. This little text from Romans is listed under Mother’s Day. And it certainly fits, doesn’t it? “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Now, since it is not April 15th, I’m really not going to deal with the tax or revenue side of the issue. Instead, since it is Mother’s Day, I’m going to key in on the respect and honor side of the equation.
Certainly all parents—Christian and non-Christian, harsh ones and loving ones, good ones and bad ones—all parents deserve respect and honor. I say that because God says that in the 4th commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” To be sure, being a parent is a difficult task—especially in the world today with all the stresses and temptations which surround us. Likewise, parents can sometimes fall into sin by placing undo demands upon their children. When they do, they fall under these words from the bible: “Parents, do not exasperate your children.” Also, all of us probably know parents who seem to neglect their God-given task of parenthood. I know that most schoolteachers shake their heads and bemoan the fact that many parents today want to foist off raising their kids to the schools and then get angry when things don’t work out according to their preconceived notions.
Being a mom or a dad is both a blessing from God and also a responsibility. It is a blessing in that God provides both fulfillment and joy in parenthood. He gives us the chance to shape and mold young lives for everyone’s benefit and for His glory. It is a responsibility in that God expects us to use wisdom, common sense, and self-sacrifice in the process. If you don’t, well, you have no one to complain about but yourself, for “you reap what you sow.”
The older you get, the more you realize that moms and dads never really cease being parents, do they? Sometimes, children chaff under that truth, after all, if they are meddlesome, it can lead to all sorts of family strife. But, Christian parents are the best because everything they do is ultimately motivated by self-sacrificing love. The same kind of love which moved Christ to suffer and die and give His all to save each of our souls. I’m reminded of my best friend growing up. We were confirmed together. We did almost everything together. When we were about 20 years old, my friend was home from college one weekend and on Saturday night we were going out. His father gruffly asked: “When will you be home? Make sure it’s not past 1:00!” My friend walked out of the house all hot and bothered. At school he made his own hours and he resented his dad trying to control him. I recall reminding him, “Your dad said that because he loves you. He cares enough to care.” And 25 years later when his dad was suffering from cancer, my friend was the one child in that family who spent the most time helping and assisting his father. Yes, by God’s grace, he came to realize that Christian parents are the best because they operate out of love, love which Jesus has placed into their hearts and souls.
Each of us has parents—either on this earth or in heaven. And in most cases, they were Christians. Because of that we owe them. We have a debt of love directed toward them. We owe them respect and honor. Our model in this is, of course, Jesus Christ. Think of Jesus as that 12 year old boy in the temple. He stayed there preaching and teaching because “He had to be about His Father’s (heavenly Father’s) business.” But, when His earthly parents arrived, He didn’t quarrel with them. No, He submitted to their will and left with them—eventhough they really didn’t understand exactly what He was doing. So, children, submit and obey your parents—even when you think they don’t totally understand. That’s God’s way. Don’t argue. Don’t hold a grudge. Don’t stalk off angry. Just as Christ practiced honor and respect so should you.
Later in life we find Jesus as an adult engaged in His public ministry. In Mark chapter 3 we find Jesus’ brothers embarrassed by what He’s doing. Mark reports that they said of their older brother Jesus: “He’s out of His mind!” And they went to physically grab Jesus and haul Him off. We’re also told that Mary, Jesus’ mother went along with this. Now, that tells us that Mary was a sinner, too. She wasn’t always conscious of her Son’s greater mission in life—seeking and saving the lost. And so, in love Jesus has to set her straight. He has to remind her of a greater truth. “Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’ ‘Who are my mother and brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked around at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’” The point being: we are to treat our parents with respect and honor all the time. But, in so doing sometimes we have to remind parents that God’s work and God’s truth must come before parental whims, likes, or dislikes.
Christian parents are the best! They’re better than all the rest! And the one reason for that is that Christian parents let Christ’s love shine in their hearts influencing all their words and actions. Christians parents aren’t afraid to say: “I’m sorry” to their kids when they’re wrong. They aren’t afraid to pray. They aren’t afraid to admit weakness. They aren’t afraid to submit themselves to God’s will. And by actively living their faith in such a manner, such parents provide us with an eternal legacy of love which transcends time and leads to glory. So, today we thank God for our parents’ humble efforts in instilling Godly virtues and values in our hearts. And in honor and respect we vow to never forget their kind lessons of life! Amen