A Different Kind of

Mother's Day Message
Proverbs 1 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; 4 To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion; 5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. Proverbs 6 20 My son, keep your father's command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. 21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, Proverbs 10 10:1 The Proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. 15:20 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother. Proverbs 23 22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding. 24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.

I’m sorry folks, I don’t do Mother’s Day sermons. It’s not that I don’t want to. I just don’t know how. I shot my wad couple months ago when I did my message on Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy. Beyond that, the Scripture doesn’t have much to say about motherhood. And what it does say varies from praise to condemnation, which, I find, accurately reflects the life experience of many who are mothers, or and those of us who have mothers. You know the Commandment: The Scripture instructs children - especially grown children - to honor their parents. The Scripture condemns those who don’t and it describes the consequences both to the children and to their parents. [Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who neglected the needs of their aging parents, and justified their selfishness on religious grounds.] The Scripture instructs parents to live honorably and to make it their life’s mission to direct their children to walk in the ways of the Lord with love, patience, and perseverance. [Ephesians 6: 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.] The Scripture describes in tragic detail the consequences both to children and parents when parents fall short in their mission to live honorably. [Perhaps the worst example of the devastation a parent’s private indiscretions brought to his children is that of King David. The consequences of his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband is worthy of an entire study itself.] And many in such an assembly as this meet Mother’s Day with mixed emotions: Many reflect with joy and thanksgiving, as I do, over the blessings they experienced from God through a godly mother, While many grieve with painful memories of conflict or abuse in their home. And not a few are still bitter over what they perceived as favoritism

among the siblings. [Example: Twin boys born to Rebecca and Isaac Esau and Jacob. Esau was Isaac’s favorite, and Jacob was Rebecca’s favorite; and this favoritism brought tragedy to both children and parents.] Many a Mom rejoice in the blessings they have received in seeing their children grow in faith, love, and service to God, While the hearts of many a mother grieve over their wayward children. And there are still others who tell me of their difficulty with Mother’s Day. It’s the one Sunday of the year they had wished they had stayed home from church - Women who deal with infertility, and women who grieve over their decision to have an abortion. But with such a diverse audience as this - with such an extreme range of experiences and emotions - how does a preacher handle Mother’s Day, and somehow bring in the Gospel. I guess, brothers and sisters, the answer... is... the Gospel - the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Parenting is not an easy task. It’s an impossible task. Even we Christians parents are sinners, and we do our parenting sinfully. If our children turn out well, they do so, not because of us, but, by the grace of God, in spite of us. And we who have godly children do well to drop to our knees every day to (1) thank God for His blessing and influence in their lives, and to (2) pray for God’s continued protection and guidance for them... and for their children. And if our parents turn out well, we also do well, to drop to our knees every day to give thanks to God for such a blessing and heritage, which so many others can only wish to possess. Today’s Gospel lesson is the comfort and encouragement of the Good Shepherd [John 10:11-18]. He is the Shepherd, and we parents are but the under-shepherds. One of the texts on parenting which I did not read this morning...

Isaiah 49 13 Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted. 14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me." 15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands [alluding prophetically to the crucifixion of Jesus?]; Your walls are continually before Me. You may come to Mother’s Day with painful memories of the home in which you grew up. And you determine with all your will not to be the kind of parent that you had. But it is not a matter of will, but of grace. Your model and example of parenting does not need to be the parent you had, but God Himself, your heavenly Father. The cycle can be broken, and God makes you the person and the parent He wants you to be, to have the character of Christ. Two of my close friends and colleagues in deaf ministry, men whom I respect highly, and men, who with their godly wives, parent well, came from such sick and abusive homes, you would not believe could produce such men of wisdom, gentleness, and character. And it’s true... it’s not the home that produces such virtue, it’s God. Lord God, so work in us... to be like You. Amen.