“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Eph. 6:2, 3)
Paul quotes the fifth commandment (Ex. 20:12) but changes the exact wording of the promise to include those who are not in the promised land. The principle is the same, however. Honoring parents is so important that it became one-tenth of the Commandments given on Sinai.
This command is different than the one in the previous verse. The first one was good for as long as the children were under the care of their parents. The second one is good for as long as the parents live. Obedience is the beginning of a lifetime of honoring. Obedience requires one to do whatever the one over them tells them to do. Honor, on the other hand, requires one to respect and show love.
This is not the first commandment with a promise in the general sense but it is the first of the social commandments. The first for children and will be needed in the trip across the wilderness and in the taking of the land.
Here again, there must be a connection between children learning to honor their fathers and mothers and learning to honor God. How is it possible to honor God and dishonor parents? It’s like saying you love God but hate your brother. Won’t work.
It is true that in America we have all kinds of social programs to help our aging parents and there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of those. However, the government’s responsibility is not the children’s. Children are to honor which is more than financial aid or legal concern.
In a society where children and parents often live many miles apart sometimes, the parents are forgotten and neglected. Not in the physical need department so much but in the emotional needs. Children become busy in their own lives and because their parents are far away, the old “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome may take over.
Task for Today: Think of a way you can show honor to your parents. A call, card, letter, gift, visit are all in the realm of possibility. What do they need that you can provide? Think beyond physical cares. How can you show your love to them today?