Sermon Summary, “Teach Them Diligently” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Father’s Day. Not that big a deal. Bet you thought I’d get the day off. Not so. Just a day pushed by the National Association of Clothing Retailers to give them a taste of Christmas. We could call it “Shirt Day.” But for the real founder of Father’s Day it was a big deal. Sonora Dodd heard a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 by her Methodist pastor and asked him to do a Father’s Day sermon for her single Dad who had raised six kids by himself. And I’ll bet he taught them great values (this happened in church after all).
Fathers are important. Quality parenting is important. Unfortunately we can see the devastation caused in communities with absent fathers (donors would be more appropriate). Single parenthood is the primary indicator of poverty in America. And there is more that an absence of resources here. There is a likelihood that the values that we as Jesus followers believe are important are absent too; and the roles models, especially for boys, are not the ones that they need to be.
God brought his children out of Egypt and the first thing he did is give them a set of values on two tablets, two tables. The first four were about God (you can read them in Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5). The other table had five about how to treat one another. AND right in the middle the bridge commandment between God and neighbor was “Honor your father and mother ...that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God giving you.” The Bridge.
How is it that we as parents are to pass on, inculcate these values? In Deuteronomy 6, immediately after Moses recites the Commandments he tells us, “…. these words which I am commanding you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children…” (Read at Deuteronomy 6:4-9.)
He tells us we should talk about them continuously; that we should be examples with what we do with hands, how we see the world, and we should remind ourselves of God’s values when be pass the door posts of our house going out into to the world and again as we return back into our homes to be reminded of our obligations to our families.
Honor your father and mother. It is parents who teach that. You’ll notice that it is not conditional. It doesn’t say if they are nice, or if they deserve it. It says, “Honor.” God says “Just do it.”
As a child this week, think about how you can honor your parents. Make it a goal. Schedule it. As a parent or grandparent, think how you can teach a child this week. Make it a goal. Schedule it. “Honor.” The first commandment with a promise. “Just do it.”