Yesterday, I talked about honoring thy Father and what it means to have God's seed in you. So today, of course, is the rest of the commandment: honor thy mother. And again, I am not talking simply about the woman who gave birth to you.
The mother's role in the formation of you is the womb. She gives you the secure place in which to rest, to grow, to become who you have been created to be by nature of the Father's seed planted in you. She is your fertile ground. And in this sense, honoring thy mother means honoring the place you've been given to rest, to grow, and to become what you have been created to be. That is, your life situation.
Not all of us would be quick to honor our life situations. For some of us, life has been hard. For some, harder than it needs to be. Some of us have faced barren landscapes and torturous terrain. We have endured storms. We have cut our feet on the hard rock, stumbled through the thick underbrush. We have spent our lives working to get out of this place. And that's okay. But you still have to honor it. Whether it's been easy or hard, whether it's been fun or miserable, whether it's been good or bad, the life you've had has shaped you. It has helped God's seed in you to grow. (If you've been following along, I've been talking about this quite a bit lately, including earlier this week - Monday and Tuesday.)
We see this in the life of Jesus, too. We see Him honoring His mother - honoring His place in this world that has nurtured and grown Him. We see it when He frequents the Temple. He was a Jew by birth and by upbringing; the Temple played a huge role in who He was, even when He declared that He would tear that Temple down and rebuild it in three days. Even when He came to fulfill the law and not to follow it, the law was an important part of who He was, and we see Him again and again celebrating, rejoicing, worshiping, feasting, teaching, and learning in the Temple. We see Him ministering to the very places in which He grew up. It's often quoted that a "prophet is honored everywhere but in his hometown" and we think Jesus didn't do any work in Nazareth, but that's not what the Scriptures say. They just say He couldn't do as many miracles there. Which means, of course, that He did do some miracles. He shared His gift with the town that had watched Him grow up. We see Him engaging in all the things this world does - fishing, traveling, eating, paying taxes, going to the Temple, having a family (a mother, brothers, sisters). We see Him living the life of a normal man. Why? Because this is how He honors His mother.
This is how He honors the place that has given Him life. This is how He honors the cultural womb in which He has taken shape, the safe place that has allowed Him to develop the seed of His Father in Him. By living it. By living there. By engaging the culture. By embracing the opportunities. By remembering where He comes from even in the same breath that He remembers how He was begotten.
You see, a faithful life is a healthy mix of both. It's knowing the Father who has planted the holy seed in you and embracing the mother in which He has allowed that seed to grow. Embracing the life God has given you in the place He has given you. Taking every opportunity to remember where you come from even in the same breath that you remember how you've been begotten.
It's not always easy. There are things about the places we've grown up in that we'd much rather forget. But if you take a closer look at the place that has nurtured you, for better or for worse, you'll find that it's true - God's forming work has been taking place even here. The very unique, very beautiful, very intended thing God has created in you has been growing in this place. And while I'm not saying you have to be thankful for every single thing that's happened in your life, what I am saying is that you have to be thankful for the opportunities. You have to be thankful for the things that have grown you, even if those things are the hard things. You have to remember where you've come from and reflect always on how you came to be from there.
And then, live out of that place. Frequent the Temple that's been a part of training and shaping you. Minister in the same broken places you've walked out of. Share your gift with the circumstances under which you've grown up. Engage in the things of the place in which God has placed you - go fishing, take a walk, share a meal, pay your taxes, go to worship, have a family. Live the life of a man who's been there, from the heart of a man who's become more.
Because you're called to honor thy mother.