March 10th                           

2nd Friday in Lent

Day 9

You are to honor your father and your mother.

What is this? Answer: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love and respect them.

First, then, learn what this commandment requires concerning honor to parents.  You are to esteem them above all things and to value them as the most precious treasure on earth.  Second, in your words you are also to behave respectfully toward them and are not to speak discourteously to them, to criticize them, or to take them to task, but rather to submit to them and hold your tongue, even if they go too far.  Third, you are also to honor them by your actions, that is, with your body and possessions, serving them, helping them, and caring for them when they are old, sick, feeble, or poor; all this you should do not only cheerfully, but also with humility and reverence, doing it as if for God.


“Honor your father and mother” – this is the first commandment with a promise: “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” and, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:2-4


“Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17)

The fifth commandment is brief; “You are to honor your father and mother”.  However it is not a simple or straightforward command. As I considered the fifth commandment for my Lenten devotion, two examples came to mind that hint at its complexity.

Recently I attended a ninetieth birthday celebration thrown by the three adult children of a couple whose birthdays are one week apart.   The event honored their parents beautifully.  It was planned with thoughtful attention to detail.  Family, long time neighbors and new friends were included and loving remembrances were shared with everyone gathered.

The other situation, involving an adult son and his mother contrasts sharply.  The son’s elderly mother is determined to live alone in her single family home despite multiple and serious health problems.  He lives one hundred miles away and has not been able to interest his mother in relocating closer to him.  He and his mother differ openly about many of her decisions and her sweeping distrust of the medical establishment and other helpers.  Nonetheless, he makes an almost weekly trip from his home to her’s to help and support her.

With Martin Luther’s guidance we are led to realize that in both instances God is glorified.  We serve God by serving those around us in good and in difficult circumstances.  

Dear God, Help us to welcome the opportunities to serve our fathers and mothers and to bring us closer to you in all that we do. Amen.

Jocelyn Ehrhardt

Put a coin in your bank for each item you have saved to “read later.”  Read them now or recycle them.