Summary: When we show respect to our parents and when we teach respect to our kids, you look different, they look distinctive, and God is honored.
Respect is something that certainly seems to be fading. We go in a coffee shop or you travel someplace or you’re in a school, and we see kids who oftentimes are disrespectful. And I feel sorry for them because I know that they weren’t raised in a way to be taught respect. So we want to dig into that today.
Really this will be a very different sermon for you. Rather than it being a verbal sermon, I think this one will be more of a visual sermon. And what I want to do is I want to talk about three different times of the day that are very important when it comes to teaching your kids respect.
Of course, the first one is an obvious one, and that is mealtime. [Dave motions to a table which is fully set next to him onstage. He then sits down at the table.] Mealtime provides you with an awesome opportunity to be able to pour into your kids and to communicate with them and to teach them some of the basics of respect.
So we begin with mealtime because of the fact that this one hour, if you were to do it on a regular basis, reaps some incredible benefits. I’m not even saying you have to do it seven nights a week. But let’s say if four or five times a week you could say, “We’re gonna eat dinner together as a family,” do you know what would happen? There is a forty percent better chance of your kids getting A’s and B’s in school, three times less likely to experience with marijuana, two times less likely to experiment with alcohol or with cigarettes. Forty percent less likely to be obese as they enter into adulthood. All of that comes from just sitting around the table together? Yes. Study after study confirms it.
One of my favorite studies was done by Dr. Catherine Snow of Harvard. She followed and worked with 65 different families over an eight year stretch. Here was the conclusion that she came to: “Dinner time is of more value to child development than playtime, school time and story time.” Even more valuable than school time! Can you imagine that? It’s stabilizing. It breeds security.
If you have your Bible, turn to Deuteronomy chapter 6, or grab the one that’s right in front of you. Deuteronomy is the fifth book…fifth book of the Old Testament…Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And in Deuteronomy chapter 6 there is a passage that we’re quite familiar with, because it’s actually re-quoted in different forms over in the New Testament by Jesus. But in Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4 it begins: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” In other words, You are the one and only God. Verse 5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus quotes that in Matthew 22. We pick it up with verse 6. This is written just for families: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Now Deuteronomy doesn’t say specifically “around a mealtime setting,” but it does say that when you’re at the home and when you sit down together. So for me, I think that’s mealtime. And when you come together, the table represents something. It gets across the idea that there is something deeper that’s taking place here.
I mean, if you think about it, all throughout the Bible, whenever you see people eating together, there is a relationship that is being formed. It’s going beyond the shallow. It’s taking it one step further around that mealtime in the home.
In Luke chapter 19 we see Jesus going to the house of Zacchaeus, and He eats a meal with him. And what happens? Spiritual transformation takes place in this dishonest tax collector.
I think about in John chapter 12 where Jesus has a meal with Mary and Martha and Lazarus. There is a close kinship there.
Why did the Pharisees get so angry and upset with Jesus when he would eat meals with prostitutes or with tax collectors or with sinners? It was because they realized that He was forging a relationship with them. That’s what bothered them. That’s what made them upset and mad.
And this is a setting where you can teach manners, you can teach respect, where spiritual truths can take root. And in our fast-paced society going so many different directions it’s very difficult, and it gets tougher the older your kids get.