[March 22]--Family Values: Arrows In The Quiver

Prov. 30:17; 10:5; 28:7; 23:15; 15:20; 29:3; 23:24-25

If you read the devotional last month, you might recognize the reference in the title: Psalm 127, in recounting how much a blessing children are, compares them to arrows in a quiver. We’ve looked at husbands, wives, and parents, so children get the scrutiny today.

Now, I would love to think that there are a lot of teenagers who are reading this, but that'd be pretty na├»ve. Just about everybody who’s reading this now or in the future are probably adults, at least in the physical sense. But believe it or not, God’s word actually has a lot to say to us as children who’ve moved out of the home and who are reasonably self-sufficient.

First, before we examine the verses today, we need to make a distinction. Paul commanded children to obey their parents, and it seems that he'd be addressing those who are still under the authority of parents, by virtue of still living with them. Once a child leaves the home, he’s not obligated to obey them. However--and this is really important—God put the commandment to honor one’s parents in his Top Ten List, and there are no conditions here. It doesn’t end when you leave home, it doesn’t end when you marry and have kids of your own, and it doesn’t even end when they’re dead.

So what does it mean to honor them, since God considers this so important? Well, Proverbs has some ways for us to do that, and they apply just as much to adult children as to those still living at home.

Let me make one little disclaimer before we delve into it. The principles in these verses are most applicable if your parents are believers. If they’re not Christ-followers, then their skewed priorities make these not quite as relevant in all the points after the first one.

First it means respect. The first verse for today is presents a pretty disgusting image for us, but there’s an important lesson here. What type of person is going to be punished? The person who mocks his father. Excuse me, but I just described about 98% of the family sitcoms on television. We point and laugh at the doofus dad on TV who doesn’t know anything. And even worse, we poke fun at the foibles of our own parents. I don’t think that’s a good idea, do you?

Second, take a look at 10:5 again? Who’s a person who “gathers crops in summer”? It’s a person who sees opportunities and takes advantage of them now. When it’s time to gather the crops, it’s time to work. That’s another way we can honor them.

Third, 28:7 tells us to show some self-discipline. Show your maturity by not being self-indulgent and just giving into your impulses. I’m sure they didn’t teach you to act that way, so how can you honor them if you ignore this?

Fourth, as the next three verses express, I’m sure your parents would feel honored if you're displaying wisdom in your life, especially if it's a tribute to their raising of you. They'd want you to demonstrate wisdom in all areas of your life, but in the context of the third verse here it especially refers to being sexually pure. And not following God’s plan in this area is going to cost you more than you thought. It’s going to cause you to “squander [your] wealth” in more ways than one.

Finally, you can demonstrate righteousness in your life. This is not the same as sinlessness; this is the main direction you’re heading. Are you sticking to God’s plan, by his grace? If so, then this is a great way to make your parents “rejoice” in you and “be joyful” when they think of you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to email my parents to tell them how much I love them.

You're the perfect Father to me, and I know that you want the best for me, much more than my earthly parents. May every word out of my mouth and every action I take bring honor to the family name. Please.

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