Why do some people accomplish more with their life than others? There are some individuals who seem to have the ability to accomplish more in a day than others. I believe that honoring our parents is one way we can get more out of each and every day of our lives. It revolves around the promise God has given in this command. I see three aspects involved in this promise.
1. When we honor our parents we will live a longer life. This is the one we most often teach. However, there are those who live a shorter life yet honored their parents throughout that life. Perhaps they would have died sooner than they did. Perhaps they were allowed a few more days because they gave honor to their parents.
It is interesting that this is not a threat but a promise. It is not necessarily true that we will die sooner because we do not honor our parents. However, we can live longer by doing so. Imagine how much longer some people would have lived had they obeyed their parents. I am not a teaching that dishonoring parents will automatically cut off your life but it will be cut shorter.
2. When we honor our parents are days are longer. This aspect is often ignored. I am referring to that which I alluded to at the beginning of this chapter. In other words each day we live will be more productive. God will allow us to accomplish more with our lives. Some people struggle to use their days wisely. Perhaps it is because they did not honor their parents. Others accomplish more in the same amount of time. Often it is because they honored their parents.
In the promise it is said that the days and the land are given to us. The question is did he give us the days or did he give us the land? I believe he gave us both. In some cases he gave us a certain number of days. Have you ever known someone who died prematurely, yet they always honored their parents? In many cases they left behind a greater legacy than some who lived much longer. Their days were extended even after their death. This leads me to suggest a third possibility.
3. There are some whose days are extended beyond their death because they honored their parents. When I look at people we remember for their greatness the majority of them were people who honored their parents in their lifetime. History is filled with examples of men and women God greatly used who brought honor to their parents. Is it possible that their days were longer even after their death because of this? I believe it is very possible. In fact I believe it is probable.
Whatever the case we know that a promise has been given. Tragically many people do not take a close enough look at that promise. In so doing they are missing out on the three possibilities of an extended life. They are missing out on more days. They are missing out on getting more out of their days. They are missing out on extending days beyond their lifetime. A greater legacy can be left when we honor our parents.
Why do so many young adults fail to value this promise? There are several reasons I believe this is so.
1. They do not trust God. There are many Christians who simply do not believe that God’s promises are true. They have not lived a life of faith. Unlike the great heroes of the faith found in Hebrews chapter 11 they have never learned to be obedient and trust God with the outcome. We may not always understand the outcome but we know that God’s promise will always be true. Joseph honored his father and we remember him and his influence. Joseph trusted God and it was that trust that caused him to obey in every area of his life including honoring his father. Trust is the key to obedience.
2. They have never experienced the promises of God. Many young people grew up living the Christian life in obedience to the rules but never truly realizing how good God had been to them. In some cases they almost felt as though the rules were inflicted upon them. They reluctantly obeyed so they never obeyed by faith. They did not learn to see what God could do when they followed him and obeyed him. Sadly they do not understand how good God is because they are so mechanical in their Christian life.
3. We have not taught them how important this promise is. This seems so vague. It is a promise that is difficult to fully grasp. When you are young it is hard to see the future. It is easy to focus on the pleasure of today and forget the blessings of tomorrow. Perhaps caught up in their bitterness or anger many children failed to realize that they have an opportunity to improve their lives by simply obeying this command. We often emphasize the consequences of disobeying other commandments and neglect this one. We know how bad it is to steal, murder, and commit adultery. We know how disobeying other commands can lead to tragedy. We have made this command of less importance than the others when it may be the most important.
4. They do not value their parents. If I promise that I will give you a reward for doing something that you do not want to do it will be more difficult to convince you. The promise is not valuable enough to compensate for the lack of value they have for their own parents. They have taken their parents for granted for so long that they cannot get excited about a promise that is based upon honoring those parents. We have done a poor job in elevating the position of parents to our children. Perhaps we have elevated the position of pastor even higher than we have the position of parent. Before there were pastors there were parents who were ordained to a position given to them by God. We must make that position to be valued as it ought to be.
5. They do not revere the position of parent. We have allowed our children to be over familiar with us. This is a mistake many have made. We have not demanded that our children respect our position enough. We have allowed them to take lightly our position as a parent. They have become too familiar with us. We have tried to make them our friends rather than teach them to understand the importance of the position we have as their parents. Parents have degraded their own position in the minds of their children. They see us as themselves rather than as in a position that is to be revered. The Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Perhaps we have over familiarized our children with us and in so doing they have no fear of our position. The beginning of a respect for God is fearing God. God will allow us to draw nigh to him when we are obedient to him but obedience comes by fearing him. There needs to be a reference built into our children for that position of parent.
These are reasons that many young people today do not get excited about the promise. The promise means very little because they do not understand these important principles. Our job is to elevate the position of parent and then accentuate the God given promises of honoring the position of parent.