Proverbs 1:8-9; Ephesians 6:1-4
Stephen Caswell © 2001
“A woman sat down in a quiet place
Reading a book with a pleasant face,
Till a child came up with a childish frown
And pushed the book saying, “Put it down.”
Then the mother, slapping his curly head,
Said, “Troublesome child, go off to bed;
A great deal of God’s book I must know
To train you up as a child should go.”
And the child went off to bed to cry
And denounce religion — by and by.
“Another woman bent over a book
With a smile of joy and an intent look,
Till a child came up and joggled her knee,
And said of the book, “Put it down — take me.”
Then the mother sighed as she stroked his head,
Saying softly, “I never shall get it read;
But I’ll try by loving to learn His will,
And His love into my child instill.”
That child went to bed without a sigh
And will love religion — by and by.
On Mother’s Day a minister gave this perfect tribute: My mother practices what I preach. Because today is Mother's Day we will look at the joys and responsibilities of Motherhood. With the changing values of today's society motherhood is often ridiculed. Mothers are often looked upon as second class citizens. The media continually promotes career women as the models of success. Yet the Bible doesn't see it this way. The Bible highlights the important role of mothers in raising godly offspring. Wise men down the ages have seen this too!
More Honorable Than Any Profession
When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls, who are to be the men and women of the next generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she only would realize it, a more honorable as well as more important position than any man in it. The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or businessman, or artist, or scientist. — Theodore Roosevelt Today, we will see two things regarding the role of parents and mothers in particular. The Commandments and the Promise.
Firstly The Commandments
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
a. Parents Must Be Obeyed
Prov 1:8-9 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
Mother As Greatest Preacher
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had four sons. They all became ministers. At a family reunion, a friend asked one of the sons, Which Morgan is the greatest preacher? While the son looked at the father, he replied, Mother! Mothers can make a huge impact on the home.
Parents Make Family Rules
The commandment in Proverbs chapter 1 asks children to observe their parents teaching. The parents are responsible for making laws for the family. The parents in each home are responsible to set the boundaries that they expect their children to live within. It is not good enough for parents to expect their children to know the rules without being told. Parents should also be careful not to make too many rules. Family rules should be based on the Bible. Since mothers spend more time with children than fathers do, they have a greater part to play in child training. They can also live out by example what they teach their children to do. They can point their kids to Christ. Prayer, discipline, love and example are all needed.
Baby’s Footprints Toward Church
Near a church in Kansas, there can be seen in a cement sidewalk the prints of two baby feet with the toes pointing toward the Church. It was said that 20 years ago, when the sidewalk was being laid, a mother secured permission to stand her baby boy on the wet cement. The tracks are seen today plainly. The Mother had wanted her little boy to start aright.
This Mother Prayed 60 Years
Dr. John F. Walvoord, in the chapel of Dallas Theological Seminary, one day told of a mother who prayed for her son for 60 years to be saved. One week before her death, the mother received a long-distance call from her son saying that he was saved.
Parents Must Make Themselves Heard
The command for Children to obey their parents in the Lord has responsibilities for both the parents and children. The parents are responsible to teach their children right from wrong. The children are responsible to obey their parents. The command to obey comes from the Greek word u&pakouw. It means to follow, be subject to, to obey. This word is a compound verb of the word ajkouw which means to hear. Our English word acoustics is derived from this Greek word. Parents are responsible to make their children hear their commands.
Obedience begins with paying attention to what is being said and then acting on it. At school many things are learned by the rote method. Teachers ask children to repeat their times tables over and over again. The same method is needed in child training. We must restate the rules many times before children will learn them well.
A missionary translator was endeavoring to find a word for obedience in the native language. This was a virtue seldom practiced among the people into whose language he wanted to translate the New Testament. As he returned home from the village one day, he whistled for his dog and it came running at full speed. An old native, seeing this, said admiringly in the native tongue. Your dog is all ear. Immediately he knew he had his word for obedience. Parents must teach their children to be all ear. To hear their commands and then obey.
Sometimes mothers will have to discipline their children because disobedience. This is an important part of making children hear you. If there is no consequence for disobedience children won't obey you. Instruction inevitably needs to be balanced with correction. The Book of Proverbs is filled with instruction concerning child training. Many verses speak of the importance of discipline. Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Ephesians 6:4 brings this out. And fathers! do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nurture refers to correction whilst admonition refers to instruction. Instruction is teaching that you put into your child's mind. Correction refers to chastisement or corporal punishment. The board of control applied to the seat of learning. Disobedience must have consequences or children won't learn to obey.
Hurrying my 11-year-old daughter to school, I turned right on red where it was prohibited. Uh, oh, I said, realizing my mistake. I just made an illegal turn. It's all right, my daughter said. The police car behind us did the same thing.
Children Must Obey Their Parents
Paul commands children to obey their parents. There is no bargaining on this. He doesn't say if you think the rules are just or fair. He says that children must listen to their parents and obey them completely. Colossians 3:20 expands on this: Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Paul says they must observe them in all things. The only exception to this is if your parents ask you to do something that breaks God's law.
Paul also gives some reasons why children should obey their parents. Firstly, he is writing to Christian families. These families are in the Lord. God gave this commandment to bring peace and harmony to the Christian home. Submission is necessary in human relationships. Everyone can't be the boss. Secondly, Paul says that it is right. In life people are faced with many choices. We must seek to make the right ones. Parents give rules to protect their kids. Obeying your parents is the right thing to do. Thirdly, Colossians 3:20 tells us that when children obey their parents it pleases God. If you want to please God then obey your parents.
The Lord Jesus obeyed His parents. Luke 2:51-52: Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. If you obey your parents in all things then you will receive God's favor. God is pleased with obedient children.
b. Reverence Ephesians 6:2a Honor your father and mother,
Whilst Obedience deals with a child's actions, Honor deals with their attitudes. To honor our parents means much more than simply to obey them. It means to show them respect and love, to care for them as long as they need us, and to seek to bring honor to them by the way we live. The word honor timaw means to revere, to value, to esteem, to respect. Love motivates us to honor others. This means that we obey them when they are absent as well as when they are present. When children honor their parents they don't talk back to them. They aren't cheeky or disrespectful to their parents.
When children honor their parents they will accept their decisions even when they don't agree with them. They accept being told no to something that they wanted to do. God approves when we honor our mothers. Proverbs 15:20 A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother. To despise someone is the opposite of honoring them. God asks children to honor their mothers. A wise son will honor his parents.
How Washington Got Blessed
George Washington, when quite young, was about to go to sea as a midshipman. Everything was in readiness. His trunk had been taken on board the boat; and he went to bid his mother farewell, when he saw tears filling her eyes. Seeing her distress, he turned to the servant, and said, Go and tell them to fetch my trunk back. I will not go away to break my mother’s heart. His mother, struck with his decision said to him, George, God has promised to bless the children that honor their parents; and I believe he will bless you.
Mothers have a greater role in child training since they spend more time with the kids than fathers do. God has given parents the responsibility for laying down the family rules. We can't expect our children to obey us if they don't know what to do. Mothers do you teach your children what is expected of them? Do you ensure that they hear your instruction? Do you chastise them when they disobey you? Children do you obey your parents in all things? Do you do this out of respect for them? Do you honor your mothers whether they are present or absent? Would God be pleased with your conduct?
Secondly The Promise
Ephesians 6:2b-3 Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.
This commandment comes with a promise for those who keep it. God promises obedient children that things will go well with them. This is based on the law of sowing and reaping.
Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap, for he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit, will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Firstly, obedient children will save themselves from the pain of being disciplined. Disobedience brings its own punishment. The obedient child will avoid the pain of being chastised. Secondly, obedient children will enjoy their relationship with mum and dad far more than disobedient children. Disobedience brings tension and division into the home. Rebellious children disrupt the harmony that God intends for the home. No one enjoys it when kids are misbehaving. This is especially true for the parents and the offending child.
Thirdly, obedient children are given greater privileges because they have earned their parents trust. Parents won't give the same freedoms to children that can't obey them. Finally, obedient children will live longer on the earth. Paul was stating a principle: when children obey their parents in the Lord, they will escape a good deal of sin and danger and thus avoid the things that could threaten or shorten their lives. Children who break the rules at home more often than not grow into adults that break the rules of the land. But life is not measured only by quantity of time. It is also measured by quality of experience. God enriches the life of the obedient child no matter how long he may live on the earth. Sin always robs us; obedience always enriches us.
Execution For Disobedient Children
In 1971, President BoKassa of the Central African Republic celebrated Mother’s Day by ordering the execution of all men jailed for crimes against their mothers.
Kids are you honoring and obeying your parents? Do you respect them as God's appointed guardians for you? They have your well being in mind! Are you pleasing the Lord by the way you treat your parents? Are you living the kind of life that God can bless? Can God give you a long life because you have obeyed this commandment?
Children And Parents
The following appeared in Home Living, May 1980: My child, what can I give you?
I should like to give you everything so that you lack for nothing, not even one single desire, but I know that for want of many things I have come to be satisfied with what I have and to think of others and their needs. I should like to give you a life full of fun and games, but I know that because of many chores and responsibilities of my youth, I have learned to be responsible. I should like to protect you for all the errors of your youth, but I know that because of my failures, I have learned to make better decisions. I should like to give you a profession of wealth or importance, but I realize that man is truly happy only when he fulfills the purpose for which God has created him.
What then, my child, can I give you that would be of any real value? I give you my love, which means that I accept you, without reservation, just as you are and will be. I give you my personal presence in order that you will have the security you need during your childhood. I give you my ears, in the sense that I will never be too busy to listen to you-sometimes never uttering even one word. I give you opportunities to work so that you might learn to do it without shame and come to enjoy the satisfaction of work well done.
I give you my counsel only when it is necessary or you ask for it so that you might avoid some of the mistakes I have made. I give you my consolation when you have failed or feel discouraged, but I will not always protect you from the consequences of your sins. I give you instructions in the way of the Lord so that when you are old, you will never depart from it. I give you my daily prayers that the Lord will keep you and guide you in such a way that you, my child, will be a man or woman who will serve and glorify our Heavenly Father.
This I give you with all my love. Your Mother Lydia Lightner
Today we have looked at the role of mothers in the home. Their role is one of primary importance. Through their prayers, love, instruction, example, discipline and care they can raise godly offspring. Mothers don't think that your task is unimportant even though it is often a thankless job. A mother who devotes her life to the family will make more impact on the world than many career women put together. What can match the value of a young soul dedicated to God? Mums can I encourage you to pray for your children. Can I encourage you to invest your lives into them that the world might be all the richer and God glorified.
Num 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.