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Eternally Mom

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I talked to her this morning at 8:00am.  There was nothing in particular on my mind and nothing on hers.  We scratched for topics of conversation that were meaningful.  I asked her how the weather was.  I don’t remember what she said.  She asked me what the weather was like.  I knew that she didn’t really care.  We hung up and we won’t speak again today.  I will think of her repeatedly and she will think of me constantly.  Hearing my voice and knowing that I am okay does something for my mother each Sunday morning.  In her mind there is nothing better that I could have done with my life.  She’d be disappointed if I were the prime minister because I have become the answer to her prayers. 

When we had nothing but each other, she rocked my brother and I in an old scratched, squeaky chair and prayed that God would call us into the ministry.  He did.  She still prays.  Don’t treat me mean or I’ll tell her and there is no fury in hell like my mother’s when someone bothers her boys.  When I was 6 months old she held me and unbuttoned the shirt of her 47 year old father as he lay in his coffin.  She placed my hand on the cold chest and asked God to give her son the spirit that drove this godly man’s heart when it was beating. 

Did this lady impact my life – does she?  More than I know right now.  She’s near the top of the list of the most significant people in my life.  She will feel better for our few words together, better than I will because she loves me more than I love her.  I do love her but I can never muster the same sort of love that emanates from her.  It’s impossible for me at least.  No one can touch the love that a mother has for her child.  Perhaps that’s why we miss them so much when they are gone.  There is such a large hole that is left because no one is able to love us quiet like a mother loves us.  She knows that our service is beginning right now and probably is aware that I am preaching right now.  She thinks that I am the most perfect person in the entire world.  If you tell her that I am not you’ll be in her “bad person” book.  If she would fight for anyone in this world it would be me.  Until her dying day on planet earth she will be my mother.  This particular title and position brings her more pride and satisfaction than anything else that life has ever given her.

This is not a tribute to me but one to this called and commissioned lady who has been used by God to make my own existence richer than it might ever have been without her.  It is also a tribute to all mothers here today.  I believe that as we honor our mothers on Mother’s day that we honor what it is to be a mother and we worship the God who created and commissioned them.

Thank you, God,

 

For pretending not to notice that one of

Your angels is missing and for guiding her to me.

You must have known how much I would need her, so

You turned your head for a minute and allowed her to slip away to me.

Sometimes I wonder what special name you had for her.

 

 I call her "Mother."

 

-- Bernice Maddux

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. (Mk 15)[1]

 

13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. (Romans 16)[2]

Mothers just can’t help being mothers.  These are interesting scriptures that we read this morning.  I would have to thank Pastor Tom Ward for this insight.  I had never noticed these verses before.  They connect the wife of Simon the cross-carrier to Paul the cross-carrier.  She was a motherly figure to the Apostle Paul.  I am not aware of another scripture where Paul refers to a woman who had a godly, motherly influence on him.

Mom’s just can’t stop being moms.

1.Accepting the Assignments

I know that you have had a sense of personal calling and “mission” in your life.  I guess I would have to believe that this was from God because it kept you going through some circumstances that would have killed other “weaker” folk.  Your mission was to raise two boys in the best way that you knew.  There was nothing in your life that held a candle to this calling, this single purpose.  Perhaps it was an effort to honor the memory of your own godly father that drove you to dedicate yourself to this task.  That certainly would have been an acceptable motive in my own mind. God blessed you with wonderful parents and in their image you have been recreated for Bim and myself. 

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked. And the guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come."

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children," A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you."

And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I have given them strength."

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."

And the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence."

To be a godly mother is a wonderful aspiration and a call from God himself.

God’s call is not withheld for people who attain to a degree of perfection.  As a matter of fact, there is really no criterion that people have to meet to be called by God. I was called as an unregenerate sinner.  If I had died at the point that I was called, I know that I would have been eternally lost.  I know that as surely as I know that if my heart, this instant were to stop beating, I would stand in the next instant in the presence of Christ and his loving arms would welcome me.  I was speaking with a group of my peers the other day, thanking God that He loves me with no greater motive than to love me.  I enjoy His presence because He delights in me.

11 the LORD delights in those who fear him,

who put their hope in his unfailing love. (psalm 147)[3]

My imperfections and inadequacies have never surprised God.  He has never regretted His call on my life.  As I have made mistakes and errors in judgment, He has “delighted” in me.  Sounds strange to you doesn’t it?  How can God delight in us when we fail so much?  It’s God’s amazing love and grace and mercy.  We are the objects of his love.

I’m convinced that motherhood is a calling.  No man can love quite like a mother can love.  No man can nurture as a mother can nurture.  No man can make a home the same place that a mother can make a home.  The presence of a mother is much like the presence of God.  It is love unconditional.  This calling is not reserved for those who meet certain criterion.  You never have to be “perfect” to be a good and a godly mother. 

Do good, godly mothers make mistakes?  You better believe that they do.  Is their effectiveness destroyed by their mistakes?  Has God ever regretted calling or positioning a lady to be a mother?  You’ve never surprised Him with a single struggle that you have faced.  You have never failed so badly in your efforts to be a good mother that God has felt that he made a mistake to bless you with the chidren that He has given you.

Really, what matters is that you accept the assignment that God has given you and that you labor diligently to please Him in that assignment.

There is a period of time in the life of every mother when life ceases to be about you and your priorities and your interests.  When our children were younger, my wife was less able to be involved in the ministries of the church.  As they grew, she became more able to re-invest in the ministries and the programs of the church.

What is it?

[     That you exercise the ability that He has given you to love your children as no one else can love them.

[     That you seek God first in your efforts to be a good mother.  Your efforts to become like Christ will make you most successful as a mother

[     That you recognize that the incarnational presence of Christ in your life alone has the ability to effect a spiritual outcome in the life of your children.  As you become a grace dispenser, your children will experience God.

2.Doing the Homework

Not the housework but the homework that makes the difference.  If you do the homework the tests won’t be nearly as severe.  Home work prepares us for the tests of parenthood.  What is the home work?

[     Study the student.  They are not you and you do not know what they are thinking just because you gave birth to them.  The assumption that we know our children prevents too many parents from getting to know them.  If we worked as hard to get to know our own children as we do to get to know others, much conflict would be avoided.

[     Don’t exercise cheap, manipulative forms of control.  Don’t remind them of how much they owe you by virtue of all that you have done for them.  A person should at least know it when they are the recipients of services for which they will later be charged.  (ill.  Russ Hansen with shower gifts)  If the meter is running, let them know. 

[     Become the master of your emotions.  Displays of anger or hurt shut down communication.  If you really want your kids to be able to talk to you, don’t manifest anger or hurt.  Is this difficult – yes, very much so.

[     Teach them to believe in themselves and to feel good about who they are.

[     Teach them that God always loves them and He will rush to meet them at their point of need.  Do your best to nurture their own love for God.  If they leave home believing that God is some rigid killjoy who wants to make life a sterile experience, then they will spend a lifetime running from Him.

[     Prepare them to leave home.  That is your job.  To bring them to the place where they can walk out the door with confidence

3.Making The Grade

Mothers always know!!

John invited his mother over for dinner. During the meal, his mother couldn't help noticing how beautiful John's roommate was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between John and his roommate and this only made her more curious.  Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between John and the roommate than met the eye.  Reading his mom's thoughts, John volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you,Julie and I are just roommates."

About a week later, Julie came to John and said, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle.  You don't suppose she took it, do you?" John said, "Well, I doubt it, but I'll write her a letter just to be sure."  So he sat down and wrote: "Dear Mother, I'm not saying you 'did' take a gravy ladle from my house, and I'm not saying you 'did not' take a gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever  since you were here for dinner." Several days later, John received a letter from his mother which said:

"Dear Son, I'm not saying that you 'do' sleep with Julie, and I'm not saying that you 'do not' sleep with Julie. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her own bed,she would have found the gravy ladle by now. 

                   

Love, Mom"

Lesson of the Day - Don't lie to your Mother.........

The tests of parenthood.

[     Parenting by our own design as opposed to the expectations of others.  If we’ve done our homework we know that anyone objects to having their lives dictated to or controlled by a person who is primarily concerned with their own reputation as a good parent.  The only people who really need to be please with my parenting are my children.  This is how I honor my children and in turn teach them to honor me and in turn to honor God.

[     Letting go.  Giving them the freedom to walk away debt free.  If I have done my homework I understand that I can prevent my children from having to tear themselves away from me by letting them know that the door is open for them to leave and to tell them where the key is hidden for the times when they want to return.

[     Respecting their right to disagree with you and even to reject your values.  If I have done my homework I realize that I make my mistakes and that my opinions are sometimes based on misinformation or a lack of information or that I have jumped to conclusions.

[     Seasonal changes.  As our kids grow, our roles change.  If you’ve done your home work you will realize how important it is in all areas of life to accept the changes that come so quickly and constantly.  It is normal and natural for our children to want to gain independence from us as painful as it may be by times.  It really doesn’t mean that they don’t love us – it just means that they are in process.

[     Minding our own business.  There comes a time when we should speak when we are spoken to.

The Handwriting On The Wall

A weary mother returned from the store,

Lugging groceries through the kitchen door.

Awaiting her arrival was her 8 year old son,

Anxious to relate what his younger brother had done.

"While I was out playing and Dad was on a call,

T.J. took his crayons and wrote on the wall!

It's on the new paper you just hung in the den.

I told him you'd be mad at having to do it again."

She let out a moan and furrowed her brow,

"Where is your little brother right now?"

She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride,

She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.

She called his full name as she entered his room.

He trembled with fear - he knew that meant doom!

For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved

About the expensive wallpaper, and how she had saved.

Lamenting all the work it would take to repair,

She condemned his actions and total lack of care.

The more she scolded, the madder she got,

Then stomped from his room, totally distraught!

She headed for the den to confirm her fears.

When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears.

The message she read pierced her soul with a dart.

It said, "I love Mommy," surrounded by a heart.

Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it,

With an empty picture frame hung to surround it.

A reminder to her, and indeed to all,

Take time to read the handwriting on the wall.

Author Unknown


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[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

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