Ephesians – Belief and Behavior
“Honor your father and mother” were the words whispered to me one day as I was going about my work. What?, I do love them. Again, “honor your father and mother” in an almost audible voice to my heart and impressed on my mind. My parents lived in Oklahoma. We lived in Indiana. It was difficult for them to come for visits because of aging. They loved their home and church friends but it was getting more difficult to get around. I had asked mom and dad if they would consider moving near us. Our grown children lived near us, too. It made sense to me, but not them. I understood and stopped asking until this whispered moment, “honor your father and mother”.
I did some research of homes they might live in near us that would be of less care and work for them. I was browsing online when a brand new area of homes that fit exactly what I was looking for appeared. These homes were less than five minutes away from where we lived. I saved the information, cut and pasted it to an email that I would later send to mom after a phone call. Lord, is this what you want for them? Tell them.
I made the call and was shocked to hear mom open the conversation with, “I think it’s time for us to move closer to you.” God had already been speaking to her heart. Dad was not yet convinced but was warming to the idea. This would be a major decision to leave where they were born, worked, tenaciously served God in His church, raised a family and all they cherished in life to begin a new life near us about a thousand miles away.
But mom was ready. This was uncanny to me for it was mom who vehemently said no, often and with determination, to the idea of leaving. Later, I would understand why.
I broke the news to our kids who helped us by their own efforts and encouragements to mom and dad to make this major move possible. I went to Oklahoma to take pictures of their home so I could sell it for the best price on a homes by owner website. It was sold in three weeks for a great price! God did that! (A few months later, the bottom fell out of the realty economy and they would have gotten about $20,000 less.) Timing is everything. Obeying as God leads means everything.
Mom and Dad loved their brand new home with the “new home smell”. Yes, we had to downsize but it seemed to go well with them. They were ready to be close to us. They were at all the family gatherings for birthdays, graduations and other significant events. This was only for a few quick years. Mom was failing fast. I didn’t know how bad it was until I was with her, checking in on them almost daily. Breathing was very labored. We took her to the hospital. In her room, with no one but me, the oldest child, at her bedside at that moment, she said, “Honey, I’m tired. Let me go.” I’m a fighter. Ask anyone. But I knew what she wanted. I knew, now, why she had said yes to the move.
I knew why God, at that time and place, whispered his command to me, “Honor your father and mother.” Taking care of mom and dad meant taking time away from our ministry and put a pause on some of our ambitions. But it was necessary, vital to our own lives as believers whose desire is to obey God.
Dad was heartbroken and a mess in all kinds of ways. His health was not great, either. He moved in with us and lived with us for a little over six years until he passed with one last, fatal heart attack.
I always knew I would take care of my parents. It was a clear assumption. I just didn’t know how it would happen until God moved our hearts with “honor your father and mother”. As we obeyed, He made the path clear and provided the means.
Now, both are with God enjoying all the benefits of heaven and worship. They love to sing to God here on earth and now they are doing it all day long with new bodies that will never cause them pain and agony. I can still here them singing in my mind and heart…a gift from God for obeying, I think.
My obedience to God is very small in comparison to what my parents gave to me and what God has done for me, is doing and will do in our continually maturing lives with Him. I have no regrets.
“Honor your father and mother is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, ‘so you will live well and have a long life.'”
Yes, it is well with my soul. And I’m now singing…
Ephesians 6, The Message
1-3 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”
4 Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.
5-8 Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.
9 Masters, it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the opportunity to honor my parents. Continue to transform me. Transform Your Church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen