Children - The Fruit of the Home
Charles Lamb said that there was nothing on earth that he would not give to be able to call back his departed mother, and on his knees, ask her forgiveness for every act that had grieved her gentle spirit. Surely, as the years advance, every thoughtful child has felt like this and has come to the realization of what his parents have done for him.
Let no one suppose that any child is too small to have a very real part in the making of a home. The wheels in my watch are small - some of them exceedingly so - but they are all important to the well being of that timepiece. A small child can be so ill tempered and fretful that he upsets the whole household or he can be so loving and thoughtful that he brings peace and cheer to the whole home.
There are 3 things parents must do – Love, Discipline and Teach, but what are the duties of children in the home? What is their part?
The Bible does not say, “Children obey your parents when they are right”. It says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right”… even if they are wrong (Eph. 6:1). Some would try to say that there is no record of the early life of our Savior. Only a few statements are recorded about his early life, but they are revealing. There are no more beautiful words than those which say of Him, “He went down to Nazareth, and was subject unto them” (that is, unto His mother and foster-father). And who was Jesus? Who was this Child who obeyed? He was the eternal Son of God. He was the creator of the entire universe, “for by him were all things made and without him was not anything made that was made.” He was the Lord and Master of all the hosts of heaven. What a lesson in obedience!
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Many young people get the idea that to obey and to be subject unto their parents is a humiliation, a kind of self-imposed restriction, which will limit them. Did it have that effect upon Jesus? We know it didn’t. A young life won’t be hampered or led astray by following carefully the advice of earnest Christian parents. No young person was ever stunted, curbed or injured by obeying the implicit instructions of godly parents. Jesus obeyed his earthly parents until He was thirty years old - until He left that home to take up His God appointed work.
The obedience is to be absolute; it is to include those things, which are pleasant as well as, unpleasant. Only one key qualification is mentioned, “in the Lord”. Children are to obey, “in the Lord”. A Christian parent may require something that may seem wrong, but the child must obey. “Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord”. (Col. 3:20) However, we must remember parents are fallible. No human authority, of any kind of degree, is binding if it bids us break one of God’s laws. If an ungodly parent demands a child to disobey the Word of God, the consequence will fall on the parent, not the child. The Bible says, “and whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe on me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
Love and Respect of Parents
In all of this, we are taking for granted that parents keep before them the injunction which follows “children obey your parents in the Lord,” which is “parents, provoke not your children to wrath”. The relationship is decidedly two-sided. For an unsaved parent to demand that his children deny the Lord will bring about consequences on the parent and the children.
I know of no word that needs more greatly to be said to some of our young people than this. There is a young girl who is ashamed of her mother. She sees that her mother’s beauty has faded; her dress is not as fine as it might be; her hands are red and toil-worn. The young girl is ashamed of her mother and does not care to have her meet with her young friends who come to the house. Or the shame is directed toward the father, whose bent shoulders, tanned and weather-beaten face and crippled hands speak eloquently of years of toil and hardship that he endured so his children might have a better opportunity in life than he had. The young girl, or a young man may be ashamed to have their young friends with their fancy clothes and stylish dresses see the “old man”.
These are not cases drawn out of our imagination. We all know of many such cases. Do you not know that those marks of toil, age, care, and deprivation are marks that speak eloquently of love for you? Your mother and father received those marks in pouring out their very life’s blood for you.
Would you be ashamed of a man who only had one eye, having lost one in defense of your life? Well, your father and mother have done more than save your life. They have had broken nights and anxious days. They have cared for you in sickness. They did not consider their own comfort and pleasure, but rather denied themselves the necessities of life that you might have some luxuries. They rose early and toiled late that you might have the opportunity to study and prepare yourself for a great work in the world. That’s where those scars came from, and holy, sacred scars they are – and you are ashamed of them?
A merchant in one of our Midwest towns sent his boy to college. He had to mortgage his business in order to do so. He skimped and saved, and both he and his wife went without proper clothing in order that their son might take his place among the other students properly clothed and provided with money. After the lapse of a few months, there came into the hearts of the old couple an uncontrollable longing to see their son. They hitched the old horse to the rickety spring wagon (they would have had a car had they not given the money to their son.) and set out for the college town, twenty miles away. They arrived just as classes were letting out, and saw their boy, Harry, with a group of friends coming across the campus. As they approached him, some of his companions called out in ridicule at the old wagon and horse and the quaint clothing of the old man and his wife. Harry stopped, looked intently for a moment at his mother and father, blushed deeply and quickly turned aside and hurried off, pretending not to know them. Heartbroken, the old couple started the weary journey home, and that night the old mother died.
If these words fall into the hands of any girl or boy who is tempted to act as Harry acted, I plead with you, do not do so. If your mother and father – both, or either of them - are living, go to them, throw your arms about their necks and tell them that you love them and appreciate all that they have done for you. If they are not within reach of your arms, write them at once! Write them a long letter of love, cheer and appreciation.
A child never becomes so old that he or she is not a child to his parents. Therefore, this love and respect is to be paid to them as long as they live. Life has few things more beautiful than the devoted thought and love of a grown son or daughter to an aged parent. Such is very pleasing to the heart of God.
When our parents grow old, they exchange places with us. Once they nursed us, now it is our privilege and high honor to nurse them. Once they took the storm and protected us. Now we must take the storm and protect them. We are strong now, and they are feeble. What an opportunity to lovingly repay a part of this debt! It will only be in part, however. No child can ever fully repay the love and care of a godly parent.
Life has fewer satisfactions more intense than the thought that one has been true, kind and gentle to one’s parents in their time of need and dependence. It gives peace to the soul and makes heaven and reunion more glorious in anticipation. To be able to say “good-bye” to a parent with no regrets of lost opportunities is a blessing indeed.