Saturday, January 03, 2009

Honoring The Ones Who Lay The Path

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12

Think of a field. Think of a field in the country that has never seen a plow. And one day, you decide it's time to plow the dirt and plant something, and grow something in that soil. Just a small garden perhaps, so you grab a little hand plow, stick it in the dirt, goes nowhere. This dirt is hard! After a while you get a few inches in the dirt, and a while after that you figure out exactly what you need to do and you begin moving forward. But the process is terribly hard and difficult. Along the way, in your head you decide that you need to make the space you had planned smaller. So you make your square in the dirt, and it takes all day. At the end of the day, you stand aside, gaze at your newly turned dirt, pleased with your hard work, but regretting the next day, when you need to do it all again.

The new day dawns, and you head out to your dirt patch and set the plow in. Today it goes much easier, and in no time you're making a third pass in the dirt, anticipating planting tomorrow.

Parents are like that first plowing. They are the plow, plowing through life under a tough set of circumstances. Yet they trudge forward as best as possible, sometimes they are set back a little, but they continuously move forward, breaking through a little at a time. And we, their children, are like the second plowing. It's so much easier for us, because they have gone before us and done the hard stuff. Sure, there may still be an occasional hic-up or stone in the way, but those are quickly taken care of, and life is easier for us, because of the work that our parents have done before us. Our children get to be the third plowing, that is easy and a breeze because of what their parents and grandparents have done before them.

And so it is, in a life with Christ. Where my parents have spent much of their lifetime struggling or doing the hard work to get to know God and do what He desires of them, I am fortunate to get to come right behind them and learn from their mistakes and their trials. And God willing, my children will come right behind me as well, and it will be even easier for them. And when I think of that, when I think of how much I've learned from them, this verse today, this commandment, is something that should come to mind more often. That my parents have broken ground continuously, and continue to do so, so that I can come behind and have it much easier is worth every bit of honor I can muster. Not so much for all the hard work, really, but for the diligence and perseverance. That's something to admire and respect and honor.

So this morning, I choose to remember this command from God on more than just Mother's Day and Father's Day. God made it one of his laws, he thought it was that important. And if God thinks it's as important as "thou shall not kill" I think it's worth paying attention to.

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