“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
I don’t know why it should be, but there’s one holiday that I had when I was a child that I remember better than most. For some reason, the holiday my brother and I had with my parents in York has stuck with me. I remember taking the train to York. I remember the hotel, and especially the restaurant (where my brother got the nickname ‘Marvin’!) I remember the museums we visited. And I remember visiting York Minster. It was a really great holiday, and a wonderful family time. I think we all grew closer together on that holiday.
That holiday in York is just one, small thing that I have to be grateful to my parents for. They have done, and continue to do, so much for me. They made plenty of sacrifices when we were little so that we had a wonderful, idyllic childhood. Even today, at the age of 30, they still watch out for me and offer me support and encouragement, even though we live over a hundred miles apart.
I have many reasons, therefore, to look up to my parents, and to cherish and respect them. In today’s verse, that is exactly what we are told that we should do – we are expected to honour our mother and father, to treat them with respect and to look after them when they need us to do so. Jesus obviously thought that this one of the ten commandments was particularly important, since he chooses to refer to it in our current Mark Marathon passage. Many people in Jesus’ time had chosen to give money to the temple rather than to use it to look after their parents in old age. Jesus warned them about neglecting their parents, and actually tells them that they have “nullified the word of God” by doing so. This makes good, sound sense, though; if we all look after those in our own family who are needy, whether it is our parents, our grandparents, or even our brothers and sisters, we will be showing them love, just as God showed us his love by sending his closest family member, his son, to be with us, and ultimately die for us.
Reflect today on how you think about your family. Do you show your father and mother the respect they deserve? Do you look after them? Do you look out for your siblings? Do you care for your grandparents? It is God’s love that you are displaying if you do.