Mother’s Day 2008 The Measure of a Woman

This sermon was prepared and preached by Pastor Mike Rose at First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday, May 11, 2008. Copyright © 2008, First Federated Church

Our children are making their way around the auditorium to give every adult woman a gift – We specifically want to honor mothers today, but also all women in general, as all women carry the potential of motherhood. Don’t get too excited about the gift. Although it is a key chain, it doesn’t have the key to a new Lexus attached, but it does have a tape measure and the reminder from 1 Samuel 16:7 that God measures our hearts. That leads me to the title of today’s message, The Measure Of A Women’s Heart. Take your Bible and turn to 1 Samuel 16:7. While your turning, I’ll share a little context concerning that verse. God never intended for Israel to have a human king over them; His desire was that they always look to Him as their King. But there came a time when they were no longer willing to be different than the nations surrounding them, so they demanded of Samuel the Prophet that they be given a king. Saul was selected and appointed as the first human king of Israel. From an external perspective, Saul was the image of what a successful king would be. He was tall, handsome, well respected. He had that kingly look. Bottom line, Saul was a complete failure. Despite his outward appearance, he did not have the inward character to faithfully walk with God and govern the people. In fact, one transgression was so grievous that God decided to take the kingdom from him and to give it another. So God told Samuel to go to Bethlehem and there, from the family of Jesse, he would discover who the next king of Israel would be. Fast-Forward – Samuel is now with Jesse and his family; both Jesse and Samuel naturally thought the oldest son Eliab would be the one. But, as Eliab was presented to Samuel, God spoke these words to Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Ultimately the son of Jesse that had the right stuff for the job was the youngest, David, a keeper of the family’s sheep. What’s the point here and what does it have to do with Mother’s day or the Measure of a Woman? Humanity has consistently shown difficulty determining the true worth or measure of others. You may ask, “What do you mean Pastor Mike?” I mean that we are very surface driven. If someone has the right features, look and aura, we have this tendency to think that what’s on the inside is the same as what we are seeing on the outside. In the same why if a person fails to have the right features on the outside (whatever those features might be), we tend to think that what they are on inside is the same as what we perceive on the outside.
The Measure of a Woman | FFC | 05.11.2008 1

It’s all very stereotypical, surface driven, chauvinistic. But here’s something to chew on – just because someone has it “going on” on the outside, doesn’t mean they have it “going on” on the inside. The outside can seem perfect, while the inside is hollow, shallow, falling apart. There is no direct correlation between one’s exterior and one’s interior. And you’re saying once again, “What’s the Point Pastor Mike?” The point is, we are so externally focused, often failing to recognize that what really counts with people is not so much what they’ve got “going on” on the outside, but what’s being developed on the inside. That’s God’s focus! His primary interest is what’s going on inside. He’s not impressed with a great exterior. He’s looking for a great interior! Turn to 1 Peter 3. In Peter’s first epistle (letter), he’s writing to believers in general, and he offers a variety of instructions on living a God blessed life. In chapter 3, verses 1-6, he gives instructions to wives who have given their lives to Christ. But, his instruction is not exclusively for wives (married women), but some of what he writes applies to women in general. Such is the case of verses 3-4. 1 Peter 3:3-4, New Living Translation (NLT) - 3Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. Ladies, I draw your attention to this passage because the world you live in works so hard to press you into its mold, which is the total opposite of what we just read. Every time you turn on the TV, browse through the newspaper, leaf through a magazine, you are being told that your value as a women is wrapped up in your outer appearance. Do you wear the latest fashions? Do you have the perfect figure? Are your nails and eyelashes long and luscious? Is your skin tan and tight? Is your hair done in the latest fashion? Is it the right color? Are your teeth straight and white? Do you look 10 years younger than you really are? Are your body parts big enough or small enough? These are the things our culture bombards you with each and every day through vast media outlets that call for your attention. A few days ago, I was watching the Today Show, and they were interviewing Dr. Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon who wrote the book My Beautiful Mommy. This is a children’s book that Dr. Salzhauer said: “… help(s) patients explain their transformation to their children. The story guides children through Mommy's surgery and healing process in a friendly, nonthreatening way.” [On the screen you see the cover for the book.] Look at how the child is so thrilled that mommy is a “10.” Isn’t that what every child wants? A Mommy who is a 10? I know it’s what every Dad wants – but seriously, do you know what’s wrong with picture? The very inadequacies, either perceived or real, that drive many women to pursue the perfect exterior remain when the exterior is “perfected.”

The Measure of a Woman | FFC | 05.11.2008

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What do you mean, Pastor Mike? I mean that a nose job, tummy tuck, lip enhancement or any of other procedures one may get to improve their exterior does not change the real person inside. More importantly, for the Christian, it does not take a person one step closer to reflecting the image of Christ, nor does it add on smidgen to your true value as a women. Ladies, young and old, listen to me, I beg you! Our culture is selling a product that most are buying. It’s the beautiful image product. The beautiful image product says that your value as a woman is in how you look, how sexy you can be, how many heads turn when you walk down the street. Forget intelligence, compassion, virtue, helpfulness, modesty, and by all means, forget Godliness. Those things don’t mean much. Go for the look, go for the image, make sure that all heads are turning, because that’s your true value. That’s what the world will tell you. That’s what the music industry will tell you. That’s what TV and Hollywood will tell you. That’s what most magazines targeted at women will tell you. But it simply isn’t true! Your value as a woman goes way beyond your exterior. On Thursday we laid to rest a women of great value, Michelle Parker. When Michelle died last Sunday, an outpouring of love and respect poured in  from the Governor to the person who drove the bus she rode each day. Hundreds and hundreds of e-mails flooded KCCI’s Web site paying tribute to Michelle. On Wednesday evening, hundreds of people packed the foyer of this church to pay respect to her. On Thursday, hundreds took time off from work to attend her funeral service here and to grieve her loss. All week long, KCCI ran story after story, taking up valuable air time to pay tribute to Michelle. Why? Was it because of her designer label clothing? Her fashionable hairstyle? Was it because her physical body was the envy of everybody in the community? NO! This community valued Michelle Parker because of her beautiful spirit, her gentleness, humility, compassion, patience, perseverance, kindness, true caring and the fact that she gave of herself and asked little in return. Michelle never married, she never had children, but she demonstrated in her life all of the qualities of a great mom, and she openly and willingly shared those with the city of Des Moines and the state of Iowa. Women with good-looking exteriors are a dime a dozen, but women with Godly characters, loving and gentle spirits, and compassionate hearts – those are gems not easily found in this world. Some will leave here this morning and say:
• • • • •

Pastor Mike preached against plastic surgery. Pastor Mike preached against designer clothing. Pastor Mike preached against wearing jewelry. Pastor Mike preached against wearing makeup. Pastor mike preached about having a fit body.

Please! Pastor Mike thinks this: if the barn needs a paint job, give it a good one. If the fence is leaning, prop it up. If the back-side is going south, firm it up! There’s nothing wrong with doing a little work to make the exterior easy on the eyes
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What Pastor Mike is trying to say is, don’t allow the world to pressure you into believing that is your true value – it’s not! What Pastor Mike is trying to say is, make sure you understand that what’s on the inside is way more important that what’s on the outside. What Pastor Mike is trying to say is what the Bible says: Man looks on the outer appearance, but God looks at your heart – 1 Samuel 16:7. God’s Word doesn’t say you can’t be beautiful on the outside. It says don’t let that be your genuine beauty or the beauty that you’re known for … “4You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” The measure of a woman is not her exterior, but the true person she is inside. I encourage you pursue the unfading beauty that is so precious to God.
The First Federated Church copyright, above, is for the sermon itself, not for any items quoted in the sermon, unless otherwise stated. All quoted items are done so in good faith, and the source is attributed when it is known.

The Measure of a Woman | FFC | 05.11.2008

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