The Honor

"HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise) ..." Ephesians 6:2

Honor = to estimate, to fix the value of something that belong to one's self. It occurs 20 times in 16 verses in the Greek concordance of the New American Standard Bible

Observation: You increase your own net worth by placing a higher value on someone else. 

Mother's Day now ranks third in the list of the most highly attended worship services in this country. Only the twin towers of Christmas and Easter overshadow this special day.  Somehow, in spite the relentless pressure of post-modern culture's crusade to devalue Scripture as a reliable standard or source for personal or civil behavior, obedience to this mandate has survived. Go figure.

Still, there is a huge difference between thrive and survive. The real danger may be that it is possible for people to miss out on the promise of God by burying the intent of His mandate under a heavy heap of crushed corsages, cheap candy, and cheesy cards. The current campaign being carried out by culture warriors to create politically correct celebrations of Christmas and Easter should be a clear warning of the danger ahead.

So, let me be one of the first to say, "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!...GOD'S WAY!"  

Honoring one's mother may be more difficult for some than it is for others. There are those who were never blessed by a mother's love. Their birth mother's unbridled hostility or benign neglect only created in them a death-defying resentment towards her rather than a life-giving tenderness from her. That makes this day a difficult one for them. Perhaps this will help.

It is hard to hate someone you pray for. It isn't impossible, just harder. Invest your prayers in your mother anyway. It doesn't mean you have to let her get away with anything. It just means you have to let go of something. It is not an invitation to an unrepentant, toxic terrorist to sit down and eat Mother's Day dinner with you. It just means you refuse to be terrorized by your own memories of her past treatment of you. Prayer allows you to let go and leave it with God. Even if you can't find the words to say to Him about her, don't be discouraged. God has an interpreter who is fluent in the language of personal pain.

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words." Romans 8:26

There are those among us who never knew their birth mother. The breath in their lungs is a constant reminder that someone thought about them for months before they were born, but they struggle with a subtle, yet suffocating sense of  personal rejection every day.  Children are put up for adoption for reasons too numerous to mention. The fact remains that a mother who chose life for her child rather than death is worthy of honor. My counsel to a child of one of these mothers is based on God's value system. It leads me to encourage them to embrace life, and to let go of the nagging doubt of their own net worth. Children were and always will be God's idea and one of His greatest gifts. In the heart of God, there will never be an unwanted child or a crisis pregnancy.  Before a child was conceived, He had them in mind. Honoring your birth mother begins by thanking God for choosing your mother to give birth to you. Never change the price tags on anyone upon whom God has already placed a very high value.

"Children are a gift of the Lord." Psalm 127: 3

For me, and the vast majority of children whose mothers have always been the first touch of The Father's love, this day is filled with a flood of fond memories.  Don't take them for granted, or cover them up with an avalanche of artificial adoration. Sometimes less is more. K.I.S.S. doesn't have to mean, Keep It Syrupy Sweet. It can mean, Keep It Sincerely Simple. If your mother is alive, call her and tell her you love her. If you can get with her in person, say a blessing over her. Don't choke on this. Remember, if you have ever thanked God for a cheese-burger, you can thank God for your Mom. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

In honor of my own mother, Libby Miller, let me say, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!...GOD'S WAY!

  • Thank you for giving me confidence in God; the knowledge that He can be trusted to make a way even when there does not seem to be a way. Long before gifted people wrapped a tune around this truth, you were living this out in our home. I always loved hearing you whistle around the house. Even as a little boy, hearing you whistling your way through life always gave me a child-sized calm. It was a confidence booster to believe all was well between our house and Heaven.
  • Thank you for educating me. You were homeschooling long before homeschooling was cool. Your tireless efforts to teach me the times tables at our dining room table in the parsonage on South Fitzhugh were legendary. I mean no disrespect, but I still flinch when I hear the words...FLASH CARDS!
  • Thank you for setting the bar high. Every day when I went out the door to school you would cheerfully shout out, "Make lots of 100's!"  It became my goal for the day, and it is still the best coaching advice I have ever been given in life.
  • Thanks for rearranging all the furniture in the house. When I would break curfew, you would move the furniture, and then go to bed. You knew when I came stumbling in and end up crashing into a lamp or coffee table in the middle of the night that the noise would wake up Dad. That meant I would have to deal with him, and not you. You're not just another pretty face. That was pretty shrewd! Well played!
  • Thank you for being a great writer. When I was at college or overseas, your letters were always filled with encouragement and personal challenges that raised my sights to see what God was up to in my life. I knew you were praying for me to see what God will only let a mother see in their own children. You believed in me long before I believed in myself.
  • Thank you for loving Dana, and embracing her into your life. I have to admit, you seemed more than ready to pass the baton of raising me to your new daughter-in-law. In fact, I don't think I have ever heard you refer to her as an "In-law."  She has always been a daughter to you. You prayed for her before she was born, and when you met her it was love at first sight. You never would let me even hint at a negative reference about her in your presence. When I heard you call her "My Dana" I knew she was in the will. I'm not sure I have made the cut yet. I am probably still behind Michael Catt, and Steve Gaines. It gives a whole new meaning to, "I Am Third."
  • Thank you for praying for me before I was even born.  I know I was supposed to be your first daughter, but Joy eventually won that special place in your heart. Still, it is the thought that counts. You were taking me to church nine months before I came into this world, and for 62 years it has been a way of life for me. Your prayers ushered me into life, and and your prayers have sustained me through it. No matter where I have been in the world, my earliest thoughts on each day have been the complete confidence in knowing of your faithful prayers for me.  
  • Thank you for taking my calls. One of the great joys of my life has been calling you every morning and hearing your voice. Today was another one of those days. The corsage is on its way, but get ready for a shopping trip. I have commissioned three of my favorite girls to take you to "DSW" shoe store and to "Ann Taylor" to get you decked out in a new outfit. Dana, Ashley and Allyson have been instructed to refuse to take no for an answer. They just look little, so don't fight them. We don't need you girls to make a scene and end up on "Judge Judy." After all, you and Dad have your 67th wedding anniversary coming up on July 7th, and it is time for your to get your dancing shoes on.

Happy Mothers' Day!
I love you!
Your Favorite Middle Son,