Jentezen Franklin - The Blessing of Showing Honor
I want to wish a very, very happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mothers watching. I want to say Happy Mother's Day to my own mom, Katie Franklin. She's an amazing woman of God and mother, and to my wife, Cherise, mother of our five children. Now I can't believe I've got two of my own daughters who are mothers of our precious grandchildren! Aren't we blessed? And thank God for our mothers, and this message is going to build your faith and encourage you in amazing ways. Open your heart and let God speak to you today, and I'll come back and pray with you in just a moment.
If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open them with me to the Book of Ephesians, Ephesians 6. We'll begin reading with Verse 2. I'm going to read it off of the screen, just like you. Everybody out loud, "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth". That's it. "Honor your father and your mother," and then He adds a blessing. Of course, it is one of the top ten commandments. Out of all of the things that God could have said, "This matters the most to Me about," one of them is, "You shall honor your father and your mother".
You say, "Well, Pastor, what'll happen if I'll do that"? The Bible is very clear. It's the only commandment that comes with a promise. He said that you will live long and your life will be full of blessing. We equate blessing only to money and stuff like that - no, no, no, no, no. Blessing means that there is the help of God no matter what life brings - good, bad, or ugly. The blessing never leaves that house, and He said it's connected how you honor God - listen carefully. How you treat and honor God is connected, and God says, "As you honor your parents, you honor Me".
"Well, Pastor, you don't understand. My parents are flawed". Well, that's funny, because every parent is flawed. Your parents are flawed, their parents were flawed. If you're a parent now, you're definitely flawed, and when your children become parents, they're going to be flawed. And God designed it that way, that there are no perfect parents, and that way there's no excuse to not honor the position that they have given you, even if you don't feel like you can honor the person. The second reason that you ought to honor them is because you would not be alive without them. God chose them to be the method through which you would come into this world. God used their DNA to make you. In Psalms 139:13, it puts it like this, and Verse 16, I'm going to combine them together. "God knit me together in my mother's womb, and He recorded every day of my life before I was born".
God had a plan for your life and God understood that you would not be you if any other two human beings, your mother and your father, had not been who they were and not gotten together. It would not uniquely have created you. You would have been someone else. You wouldn't be you without your father and your mother. There are no accidental babies. There are accidental parents, there are illegitimate parents, but there are no accidental, illegitimate children. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. That's what the Bible teaches. "Well, why did God give me the parents that He gave me"? Because they had the exact DNA needed to create you - no other two individuals, the exact chromosome and DNA to create you. That's why you should honor them. That alone is a reason.
God was more interested in creating you than their parental skills. God was more interested in that than He was... you know, I tell a story sometimes. I'm not going to take time to do it, but it's the truth that sometimes some of you may say, "Well, I can't honor my dad because he was never in my life," or, "I can't honor my mother because she was a terrible mother". But please understand that sometimes God will give you a parent and He trusted them to get you here, but not carry you through life. Because had they stayed with you, they would have taken you into all kinds of addiction, pain, sorrow, or whatever. And so, but God said, "I so want you uniquely to be here, I need these DNAs and I've planned every day of your life". We're not all moms, but we all had a mom, and the Bible said if you had a mom, you are the one that is required, one of God's top ten, to honor your mother.
How do I honor my mother the rest of my life? Three quick ways, a real simple message. See, in life, you have stages. You have childhood, where you honor your mother one way, and then you move up into young adulthood - teenage, late teenage, and young adulthood. You begin to relate to your mother in a different way and honor your mother and your father in a different way. And then, finally, there's adult to adult. As your mother or your father, or both, get older, you relate to them in a different way. So, how do I honor my mother all the days of my life? Well, when you're a child, you honor your father and your mother by obeying them. Don't say, "I honor my father and my mother. I love my father and mother".
You honor them when you are in their household by obeying them, following instructions willfully. You do it cheerfully. You do it immediately. And the more you obey them when you're living in their house, the more you honor them. Listen to this verse, Ephesians 6:1. "Children, obey your parents: this is right". "This is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you," one translation says. They're in authority over you. One of the greatest life skills that we must teach our children is to respect authority. There are three God-ordained authorities that God has established Himself, and if anyone wants to have a miserable, unsuccessful life, then you break these three God-ordained authorities and disrespect them, and do not obey them, and you will be a failure. In some way major, it will catch up with you and be miserable.
What are those three ordained authorities? God has put authority in the home - that is the father, that is the mother. God has put authority in the church, spiritual authority, and you cannot - you cannot do just any way you want to with the authority of God's Word and with spiritual authority. And then, in government, God has established authority - the authority of government, that if you can't respect the person, you respect the position and you show honor. You show honor. We must teach our children honor in the home, honor in the school to teachers. Even if the teacher is a jerk or the policeman is a jerk, you show honor to the position. It's government, it's home, and it's church. Honor, honor your parents by obeying them. And then, secondly, when you begin to deal in the teenage years and young adult years, you honor your parents differently than just everything they tell you to do, you do it, because you're beginning to get out, especially when you start leaving their home.
So, how do you honor your parents at that level? You honor them, listen carefully, by respecting them. The number one thing then, and they will try to do to teenagers and to young adults, is get them to disrespect their parents. Leviticus 19:3, "Each of you must respect his mother and father". Hebrews 12:9, "We respect our parents". Even when we don't agree with them, even when we don't agree with what they're saying, you show incredible respect, and God says, "I honor you when you honor your parents". To respect your parents doesn't mean you don't see their weaknesses. As a matter of fact, the older that you grow with your parents, the more that you will realize they're flawed human beings, just like you are. And if you're a teenager, that's all you see is their flaws. God says, "Respect them, forgive them, and show honor to them".
Accepting and forgiving, that's how you honor them. Accept your parents - the good, the bad, the ugly. "Well, why should I respect them? Why should I respect her? Why should I respect him? He left me," this, that, and the other. "I didn't have a choice for them to be my parents, Pastor Franklin". Well, here's a big revelation - neither did they have a choice of you being their child. They didn't have a choice in what they were getting, either. Respect means accepting and forgiving, and if you want it, you've got to give it. We don't diss them. We don't disrespect them. But we honor them, especially in the teenage years, especially in the young adult - late teen, young adult years - by listening to them. Proverbs 13:1, "Intelligent children listen to their parents; foolish children do their own thing".
Going into young adulthood, I'm not bound, if I'm out on my own, to follow the instructions of everything my parents tell me, but I am bound to listen carefully to them. Even if they're not living right, even if they're terrible in their own life and it's a disaster, I believe and I've seen that most of the time, the parental instinct, even if they're not making wise choices for themselves - the parental instinct for their children is right. What they're telling you, even a heathen or somebody crazy and done all kinds of stupid stuff and made mistakes, when they tell you, as the child, they're usually telling you out of their own pain and experience, "Don't do that". And even a broken clock is right twice a day. Just because your mom and dad didn't have it all together doesn't mean that you are not supposed to listen ever to anything they say.
Proverbs 23:22, "Listen to your father's advice, and don't despise your mother's experience in life". God gave you your parents for a purpose. The older they get and the older you get, and when they start getting up in life, there are ways that you show honor differently from just obeying and respecting. Number one, when your parents are getting older, you honor them by appreciating them. Proverbs 28:22, "When your mother is old, show her your appreciation". Appreciate your mother in two ways. Number one, appreciate their effort. Parenting is difficult. Parenting is demanding. Parenting is time consuming. Have you ever thought how much easier your parents' life would have been if they hadn't had you? It costs - the latest statistic, and this is actually about three years old, is all I could find. It costs, to raise a child to 18 years of age, before college, $249,000 per child, average - to clothe them, to feed them, to take care of them. $249,000 per child - that is before college and before they move back into your house. Amen.
One of the most unselfish decisions a human being will ever make is to become a parent. They're giving up... think of the car they could have had. Think of the stuff they could have had, but they chose you. So, honor your father and your mother. Appreciate the effort. The definition of a parent, according to "Webster's Dictionary," is someone who has a photo where they used to have money. I made that up, but it's the truth. It's unselfish. Proverbs 23:25, this is a powerful verse. If you don't get nothing else out of this sermon, you ought to get this verse. "Give your parents joy! May she who gave you birth be happy". Are you doing that? Are you doing your best of your ability?
You say, "Well, how do you give your parents joy"? Well, if they're Christians, I can tell you. It's not in anything you can achieve in this world. The Bible put it like this. John said, "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth". That text says - everybody out loud, "Give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy". Clap your hands if you would say Amen at every campus. That's the truth. That's the truth. As we get older, not only do we appreciate their effort, but we are to provide for our elderly parents all that they need. It's sad that in western culture, we're the only culture that doesn't honor people as they get older like we should. The Asian culture is totally the opposite. The most honored person who will show up in a gathering is the elder. They will all give up that seat, and put that person, and make a big deal about that person.
In Middle Eastern culture, it's exactly the same. In African culture, they honor the elderly more than any. But only in western culture, in America, the older you are the less you are respected and valued. And in western culture, we put emphasis on the younger and we forget about the older, and look where that has brought us to as a culture. What I'm saying to you is value, and esteem, and respect the elderly, especially aged parents. Stay in touch with them. Appreciate them and provide for them. See, what happens is as they get older, the roles reverse. You can't just say, "Take care of yourself". That's not what a Christian does. You are responsible. You and the siblings have to get together and take care, and it's not have to, you want to. They took care of you, and now you are to take care of them. That's natural, that's normal, and that is exactly what the Bible teaches. To not do it is to not honor your father or your mother.
1 Timothy 5:8 says, "Anyone who does not take care of his or her immediate family has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever". Jesus! If I don't take care of my family, if I neglect and abandon my family, I am worse than an infidel. Now, see, this isn't going to excite a congregation, but this is the Word of God and it may be the key to amazing things that happen in your future if you'll heed it. Don't fake it. That's what I'm trying to say. It's not faking it when you sit down with somebody and you've got real issues. Face it! Face it! Quit running from it. It's not going to get better. Time heals all things - lie! It does not. Life is short. Time's running out. You don't fake it, you face it! There's things a family goes through - you just have to face it. It takes courage to make peace with your parents.
I close with this. The reason you ought to do it is you stop the cycle for the next generation, by the way. You say, "Well, Pastor, my dad left me". "I never had a father in my life," or, "My mother was on something, or got off and I feel like they abandoned me". Well, then God pronounces a special blessing over you that those of us who were blessed with a two-parent home do not have. You have special attention by God according to this text, Psalms 27, I think it is. You know...there you go. Everybody out loud, as bold as you can say it. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then," who? "The Lord will take care of me". Clap your hands. Every single mother, clap your hands. Every single father, clap your hands. You're worrying yourself to death about your kids. The Lord gives special attention to any children that are abandoned - always! And I close with this. Romans 12:15 commands us to, "Rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep". For many, Mother's Day is an extremely difficult day. "What do you mean"?
There are many in this room, and in all of our campuses, and watching online who have lost their mother - maybe in the last year, maybe in the last few years. How many of you have lost your mother in this room? Let me see your hand. So, today is a day of weeping, and yet, rejoicing. There are mothers who have lost a child under the sound of my voice, by miscarriage, or the death of a child in an accident, or something horrible happened, and it took your child and Mother's Day today is like a heavy weight on your shoulders. There are those of you that have children who are lost, who were raised in KidPak and came up in this church, and today, they're as lost as they can be - and today, it's heavy. We weep. We weep with those that weep. There are those who have faced delayed adoption, and you've tried and you've tried, and then there's those that are facing infertility, and you just can't seem... you thought by now you would be pregnant this year, but it's just not happening so far.
We weep with those who weep, those who wanted to be mothers but it hasn't happened. And then, in the same service, we rejoice with the mothers who rejoice - those mothers who had wonderful, incredible mothers, and we rejoice. There's women here who dedicated brand-new babies. How many of you have had a brand-new baby in your family in the last two years? Let's see your hand. Let's rejoice, and may God give you sleep, sleep, sleep, rest, rest, rest. Foster parent moms, we celebrate you this morning. You make a home for those precious children and give great value. Come on, let's hear it for foster home moms - incredible, incredible. What about grandmas raising their kids' kids? Can we...can we give a big hero thank you to grandmothers? We honor you. And we tell you boldly today that the greatest way you can honor your mother is to give your life to Jesus Christ. Stand to your feet, no one moving, no one leaving.
Every head bowed, every eye closed. I want to do something a little different this morning. I know it's Mother's Day, but I need to give somebody the invitation because your mother has prayed for you, and she may even be in heaven or she may be here. But this is your day to honor her and it starts with honoring her God, and His name is Jesus. Say, "Pastor, pray for me. I'm not right with God. I'm carrying a load of guilt and shame. I've abandoned some situations I shouldn't have. I don't want to waste the rest of my life". It's not about you feeling condemned and beat up this morning from this sermon, it's about do the right thing. It's not too late to turn the whole thing around! Would you raise your hands toward heaven all over this room and pray this prayer?
Lord Jesus, I really want to please You. I really want to honor my father, honor my mother. I really want to do what You did when You were being crucified. I want to honor my mother today. And so, I give You my life. I give You my family. I give You my heart, my pride. Let me be one that reconciles. Let me be one that blesses my family.