Tomorrow I have a triathlon over in South Haven. I chose this race partly because the swim is in Lake Michigan, part because it’s near some of my old stomping grounds and beaches that I frequented in high school and college, but mainly because I also get to spend time with my parents before and after the race. During these couple of days together we’ve spent time fixing things around their house, going out to dinner, touring the shop where my dad works, but mainly just hanging out shooting the breeze.
The Bible puts honoring parents extremely high. Matter of fact, it doesn’t pull any punches:
And since they (the unrighteous) did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (Romans 1:28-31 ESV italics mine)
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God…But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.(1 Timothy 5:4, 8 ESV)
Luther had this to say about the fourth commandment:
Honor your father and your mother.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them. (Small Catechism)
I use the memorization technique of initialing to remember Luther’s meaning. It goes like this:
Don’t: DA (which is very convenient for me because it’s my dad’s initials). D=despise and A=anger.
Dos: SCHOoL (yes, I know it’s not in order and that one o is small, but it works very well to think, “to honor my parents I must go to school.”) S=serve, C=cherish, H=honor, O=obey, and L=love.
Paul encourages the Ephesians that: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:1-3 ESV)
Making the choice to be here with my parents was a good choice no matter how my triathlon goes tomorrow.