Honor both father and mother
“The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, “My head! My head!” His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” – 2 Kings 4:18-19
The third Sunday in June is observed as Father’s Day, and comes on the heel of Mother’s Day, which was the second Sunday in May. While all the stops are pulled out for the celebration, commendations and recommendations of Mother’s Day, the sound of praise for fathers is “muffled by the bugle of discontent and regrets” and mother/mama is the nomenclature for father. But whatever sad – and many times justified – sagas one may have for the absence of a father in their lives, the Bible admonishes us to honor both father and mother and length of days will be prolonged.
My late father departed this life some three plus decades ago, but daily I still hallow his memory for indeed he was a great father – and because of this my love for my Heavenly Father grows and abounds.
Our text for today is for me a classic story of real parenting. So many times we put a lot of blame on fathers when the role of the mother is so very important in the life of a child. A father provides; a mother protects.
The prophet Elisha usually took the route through the town of Shunem on his ministerial circuits and he was aware that a woman of wealth lived there. One day she invited him to a meal, and from then on, every time he went to Shunem he would have his meals at her house. One day she told her husband that she was sure that the man who often came to her house was indeed a holy man, and suggested they build a small room on the roof, put a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp in it, so that he could stay there whenever he visited.
One day Elisha returned to Shunem and went up to his room to rest. He told his servant Gehazi to go and call the woman. When she came, he said to Gehazi, “Ask her what I can do for her in return for her kindness. Maybe she would like for me to put in a good word to the king or army commander for her philanthropic benevolence.” She thanked him but said she had no need.
Elisha told Gehazi that her husband was old and they had no sons to carry on his name and so the woman was blessed in due time with the birth of a son.
Some years later at harvest time the boy went out one morning to join his father who was in the field with the harvest workers. Suddenly he cried out to his father, “my head hurts, my head hurts”. The father then asked a servant to take his son home to his mother.
Of course, we know the story of how the son died and his mother went to the Man of God in haste. When he asked her if all was well with her, her husband and her child, she told that all is well.
Many would say that this father did not care about the well-being of his son, but the father knowing the bond between the mother and her son, gave way to the tender care she would give for his healing. How many children in times of adversity have a father to call upon? This son had a bond with his father. He went with him to the field and acknowledged him when his head began to hurt.
This Father’s Day we need more fathers to know where their children are. They need to be called “father” rather than “that man”. Every now and then, fathers need to spend time with their children, especially their sons. It does not matter if the love dies for the mother, it should not be the same for the children, where there is no relationship between father and child.
Today the national, spiritual and moral cries of the hurts of children still permeate the air. They that hath ears to hear, let them hear.