While in LifeWay the other day, I noticed there are many signs around the store displaying this year’s Father’s Day theme: Honor Your Father. I thought for a moment about this and wondered if there was an intentional double meaning within this phrase. It reminded me of three different pieces of Scripture:
- the commandment “honor your father and mother” (Exod. 20:12, Deut. 5:16, Eph. 6:2);
- the greatest command, what is called the ‘Shema’ in Hebrew, to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength [or mind]” (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27);
- the instructions for children to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Prov. 6:20, Prov. 23:22, Col. 3:20, Eph. 6:1).
Is the theme “Honor your Father” about honoring God, honoring your earthly father, or honoring both? I would say both, but with a limit. What does that mean? Children are to honor their early father. Even if the child is 44 and the the father is 67, the child is still to honor the father. The child is to also honor God. Honoring God always comes first.
So, how can a child honor both their earthly and heavenly fathers? Let’s take this one at a time.
First, honoring God means doing two things. It begins by accepting Jesus as your savior. All of us have sinned. The punishment for our sin is death. God took that punishment upon himself when Jesus died. This was done completely out of love for us. Jesus overcame death when he rose on the third day. We have a choice of either accepting God’s love, believing in our hearts the Jesus rose from the dead, and confessing with our mouths Jesus as our savior and being saved; or we can reject God’s love and face the punishment on our own. I ask you to please accept God’s love.
The next thing we can do to honor our heavenly father is growing up spiritually. Just as a newborn must grow and learn, so must a Christian. Get involved in a Bible-preaching, evangelistic church. Participate in Bible studies. Read your Bible daily. Do everything so that it glorifies God. Tell others what Jesus did for you.
Second, honoring our earthly father means loving him in the same way God loves you both. Share your testimony with your father. Take care of him when he needs help. Obey him when he instructs you. Learn from him. Mostly, show him how much God loves him by what you do and what you say. Be the servant to him that Christ was to his apostles in the upper room: willing to do the lowliest of low tasks when needed. As said above, glorify God in everything you do with your father.
Have you talked to your father lately? Either of them? If your father is no longer with you, then focus on honoring your heavenly father: God. If your father is still with you, call him up. Don’t let personal pride, egos, vendettas, or other disagreements come between you and him. Such arguments do not honor your father or God. They stem from pride, selfishness, and a lust for things of this world (all are sins against God). Repent and show your father God’s love, not your wrath.
Honor your father today. Honor your father this week. Honor your father this month. Honor your father this year. Honor your father all your life. Honor your father.