Someone told me that when he was very young, his grandfather showed him how to use a hand saw. (That's the one about six inches wide with sharp teeth and no electrical power.)
"First," he said, "carefully make a pencil line showing exactly where you want to cut. Then check your measurement again to make sure you marked it right. Measure twice, cut once."
He continued, "Make sure the piece of wood you are cutting is on a smooth, steady surface. If it isn't, the wood could shift and throw you off the mark. Then, holding the piece of wood as securely as possible with your knee or hand or both, begin slowly to saw. Start the cut so you have a guide rut for the saw.
"And above all, keep your hand away from the saw!" As he said this, he held up his hand; two fingers were half as long as the others, fingers that had been cut off at the knuckle. My friend said his eyes must have widened as he absorbed the message of his grandfather's experience.
One of the reasons God gave us parents, grandparents, and guardians is that he wants us to learn from their experience. It may be hard to believe, but your parents used to be kids-a million years ago! They've done a lot of stuff, and they've even made mistakes. Not all their mistakes cost them a finger or two, but they have made your parents a little smarter and wiser than they once were.
That's why God commands us to honor our parents or guardians. He knows that their experience has taught them a few things, and he wants us to learn from them, without losing any digits or limbs! But there's another reason God wants us to honor our parents. Like all his commandments, his commandment to honor our parents reveals something about his nature. The fifth commandment reveals that he is a God who values respect.
Respect is important to God because it's a part of who he is. It's also important to him because a healthy respect for our parents (and grandparents) can provide for us and protect us, just like the grandfather's bad experience with a saw helped his grandson reach adulthood with all of his fingers intact!
REFLECT: Think back on the instructions and correction a parent has given you in the past couple of days. Have you honored him or her by taking those instructions to heart? How can you honor your parent or parents better in the future?
ACT: Wear a string or draw a line around the middle of one of your fingers today to remind you of the value of honoring your parents or guardians and learning from them.
PRAY: "God, you know it's hard for me to honor my parents when...
Help me to remember that they've had experiences I haven't had. And help me to show that I want to honor them by."