“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

We honor our parents in many ways:

  1. As a child, by obeying and respecting.
  2. As a young person, by accepting and appreciating them.
  3. As an adult, by affirming and not abandoning them.

I think we preach 1 and 2, but we’ve done a poor job on number 3. We need to honor our parents when they get older and not abandon them. “Honor your father and mother” isn’t just for little children.

Walter Wangerin is one of the best storytellers ever. Walter tells of a time when he visited a friend Mel on a crisp autumn afternoon in Wisconsin. Mel spent much of his time reading and studying in his parlor, where he could be with his aging mother. As Walter entered his friend’s home, he was enveloped in the wonderful aroma of apple pie. “Oh, I see your mother is baking pies,” Walter said with a smile.

“No,” Mel answered. “I see to the necessary things now.” Looking around, Walter understood what he meant. There was a pool of light cast by Mel’s reading lamp, and just beyond it, in a bed, was Mel’s ailing mother. Walter had known her for years. Now she sat propped up, her face an empty slate. Mel made introductions as though they’d never met. As Walter reached forward and shook her hand, her watery blue eyes never gazed higher than his stomach. Walter sadly comprehended: A dear old friend that no longer knew him.

After sharing a walk and a slice of apple pie with his friend, Walter retired to bed. In the middle of the night he was awakened by a sound from the parlor. Someone seemed to be in great pain. There were awful, inarticulate screams coming from downstairs: “Yeeeahhhh! Naaaaaaah!” He rose quickly, wrapped a robe around himself, and hurried down to the parlor.

Mel wasn’t in his chair. With eyes adjusting to the darkness, Walter could see his friend Mel kneeling beside the bed of his mother. Mel motioned for Walter to be seated. As Walter did so, he became aware of an awful odor, and he knew what his dear friend was doing — he was changing his mother’s diaper. He was cleansing his mother with tenderness and grace. He was honoring her in the very spirit God prescribed for the honoring of parents.

And as he did so, he softly sang. He was singing lullabies to her in the language she knew as a child. And you know what she was doing? She was singing along: “Yeeeahhhh…. Naaaaah…..” And as she sang along with her son, I know she was young and beautiful once more. She was in no prison and under no slavery, neither of sin nor of body. She was, in her mind, a little girl again where all was new and all was good. And she was singing at the top of her lungs to her Father in heaven.”

So the question begs to be asked, “Have you honored your father and mother?” When they get old, will you remember them? When they have no hair or teeth; when they’ve lost their beauty and mostly smell; when they cannot control their tears, will you come? With tenderness, conviction and strength, will you sing the songs that your parents knew in their childhood? Will you sing for them so that they may be honorable again? Will you sing?

Sing for someone today.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
10 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Danny says:

    Good post and a great reminder that our relationship with our parents should never be neglected as adults. +

  2. Jeff Foster says:

    Powerful story.

  3. Neva says:

    Thank you for this post. How often we forget that it is commanded that we honor our parents. It is easy to make fun of them for slips in memory or lack of knowledge of pop culture. It is easy to vent our frustrations with needs and demands. If our parents are not Christians, we delude ourselves into believing that they are not worthy of honor, But God doesn’t say they have to be. He doesn’t say it has anything to do with their character—only ours. Honoring our parents honors our heavenly Father. We forget too often. Thanks Trey for the reminder.
    PS. You got a VBS hangover? :)

  4. Bobby Cohoon says:

    Trey, this is not just a good post, in my opinion in is one that we all need to live. My mother is now suffering eye problems and is preparing for surgery next month that might save what little vision is left in one eye (the other is totally blind). I have learned what being a servant is in many respects through her trials. So many times we equate the word “servant” with the lowest class of labor, but I equate the word with the highest class of love.

    thank you for this post brother!

    Bobby (how just got in from helping his 71 year old dad!)

  5. Falantedios says:

    We’ve also got to learn to let Jesus soak into every pore and every rotten crack of our hearts. We need to learn to transcend the command-level understanding. I don’t think God wants us to honor our parents just because he told us to. In fact, that might not really be honoring them at all. The commands are there to remind us when things get REALLY hard. Thank you, Trey, for encouraging me and for writing this entry. Wow.

    in HIS love,

  6. Anonymous says:

    Others have made beautiful comments. I wish to thank you. I was there for my parents, and I know my children will be here for Lon and me anytime they are needed, not grudgingly, but with love.

    Jeanne M.

  7. The Preacher's Household: says:

    The thought of people abandoning their parents is makes me both very angry and sad. I know several people that just need a little extra loving from someone because of this. I don’t think other people can totally take the place of a child’s love.

  8. The Preacher's Household: says:

    My PaPa was barely audible towards the end of his struggle with colon cancer. However, during times that his worse pain would come on, the nurses said he would start whispering “Oh, how I love Jesus”. By the chorus, you could hear him loud and clear by the nurses station. I believe it was God that gave him that strength and comfort at those times. It was a priviledge to join in with him.

  9. Monalea says:

    Ok Trey, has Mom been talking to you about me???? I’ll do better, I promise. I consider myself smacked. ‘smack,’ ‘smack,’ ‘smack!’

    Monalea aka www

  10. Anonymous says:

    what if your parents abandoned you?

    Brandon Voss

    ps. New Website Coming Soon!

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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