All of humanity intuitively knows that we are supposed to honor our parents. Whether you are religious or not, we all somehow know that honoring our parents is the right thing to do. For those of us who believe in the God of the Bible, the commandment to honor our parents is explicitly clear.
What is not clear though is what constitutes honor. Is it respect? Is it obeying their instructions? Is it going back home for the big events? Is it spending time with them? For all I know, it could be all this and more. It also matters what your age is and at what stage of life they are, I think. In this article, I want us to look at a very specific way the Bible seems to suggest we should honor our parents, and that’s with our finances and material blessings. There’s an interesting scripture where Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. Here goes…
He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God ”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.”
Matthew 15:3-6 NKJV
This conversation seems to reveal that the Jewish understanding of honoring your father and mother involved material or financial blessing. Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees for dishonoring their parents through some religious caveat of saying the money was already committed as a gift to God. This is important because the context in which this commandment is given is Jewish and therefore the interpretation must be based on that culture’s interpretation.
Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
Proverbs 3:9 NKJV
If the God of Heaven who does not need anything material has stipulated how He is to be honored (with your possessions and your increase, which is material or financial), how much more your parents who live on earth and have needs? In fact, their need has less to do with money and more to do with you giving a part of yourself back to them. The money you give your parents represents your life. Making money takes up your time, intellect, effort, connections, creativity, thought, name it. You’re giving back to those who gave you life, a bit of your life, literally!
“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3 NKJV
The apostle Paul writing to the Ephesians (New Testament) reminds them of this same principle, including the benefits that come with honoring your parents; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.
What is Jesus Saying To You?
What are you going to do about it?