Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Gift of the Fourth Commandment

When I taught the commandments last two years, I noticed something that I have never paid much attention to in the past. If you look at Luther's Small Catechism, you will notice that each of the commandments comes with a gift. The fourth commandment states that you should honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents or those in authority over us, but honor, serve and obey them, and hold them in love and esteem.

In a previous post, I spoke about the gift of the eighth commandment. The gift of the fourth commandment states that we are all God's representatives. That is a pretty powerful thought. We are representatives of God. The fourth commandment states that we are supposed to honor, serve and obey, and hold those in authority over us in love and esteem. In my classroom, we talk about those in authority including moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, principals, and pastors. However, there is one that has greater authority than all of those people combined - God.

In my classroom, we learn about what it means to be a representative of God. If we are honoring our parents, we are cleaning our rooms and doing our chores. If we are honoring our teachers and principals, we are completing our homework and respecting our school in our words and actions. If we are honoring our pastor, we listen to the sermon and go to Sunday school. That alone seems pretty overwhelming! Yet, the greatest authority we answer to is God. What does it mean to be a representative of God? That is a great responsibility!

Here are a few of God's words on the subject:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

How are you a representative of God in your daily living?