Did you hear about the father who was listening to his son say his prayers one evening?
The little boy began, “Dear Harold…”
Quickly, the dad interrupted and said, “Wait! Why did you call God “Harold”?
The little fellow looked up and said, “That’s what we learned in Bible class.”
Shocked, the father could only reply “Really?”
“Yes,” said his Son, “Our teacher taught us the prayer, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold be thy name…”
Our word of the week is “Hallowed.”
It isn’t a word commonly used today. So maybe a child wouldn’t hear it correctly! In fact, about the only time kids think of anything having to do with “hallow” is on the last day of October, when in the United States we take them “trick or treating” on Halloween. Interestingly, Halloween literally means “all hallow’s eve.”
Halloween is not hallowed in a religious sense by Christians. It is a secular day set apart for children to wear costumes, carry bags from door to door and beg for candy. But maybe it’s a good time to remember what it means to “hallow.”
The Bible word is actually a form of the word for “sanctify,” “set apart” or “holy.” Thirteen times in the Old testament the word “hallowed” is used to speak of God’s name, God’’s Sabbath, or God’s people (Lev 22;32, Ex 20:11, Ezek 20:41).
Consider these three areas that ought to be hallowed in our lives.
(1) God’s name is hallowed. Holy. Reverend. His name is not to be used in vain. It is not to be used as an exclamation mark of shock or surprise on facebook or a text message that says OMG! The Psalmist proclaimed, “Let them praise your great and awesome name — he is holy. (Ps 99:3).
(2) God’s day is hallowed. He has a set apart day. In the old Testament is was the Sabbath or Saturday. In the Nest Testament it’s the first day of the week. We call it Sunday. In our society it’s easy to forget that Sunday belongs to God and not the NFL! Or vacationing. Or traveling. For too many Sunday has become fun day! Yet, it is a sanctified day. A day of worship. A day of remembrance. A day of spiritual fellowship. Hallowed. (Acts 20:7: Heb. 10:25).
(3) God’s people are to be hallowed. Sanctified. Set apart. Dedicated to Him. The Bible calls Christians saints (Eph 1:1;5:3). They are to be holy and hallowed unto Him.
In the New Testament the word translated “hallowed” is used 28 times and rendered “sanctify,” “sanctified” and “holy.” Paul admonished Timothy to be a vessel sanctified and useful for God by pursuing “righteousness, faith, love, [and] peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” and by avoiding “foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2. 2:21-23).
The Corinthian Christians, some of whom were previously fornicators, idolaters, homosexuals and thieves were “sanctified,” “washed,” and “cleansed.” They had now become vessels of holiness instead of containers of corruption. Their lives were set apart.
As we think about “little goblins” scarfing down the sweet treats from their Halloween haunts, maybe a good question for adults is “What is filling the vessel of my life?”
Am I drinking at a bitter fountain that leads to foolish disputes, discord, and division? Or am I imbibing at the sweet stream that yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness, faith, and love?”
Am I filling my soul with the husks of carnality, or the substance of spirituality?
Am I feeding upon the bread of life? Or am I like Esau trading my birthright for a mess of pottage that fails to satisfy the soul?
Am I presenting myself modestly, discreetly and holy in my dress? Or wearing costumes that are racy, suggestive, or unbecoming to my Christian profession?
In a culture that often has greater interest in Halloween than in holiness, may we hallow our Lord, set apart His day, and keep our own vessel holy, sanctified and pure.
—Ken Weliever, The Preacherman