A Mother’s Day Reflection – May 13, 2018

Proverbs 31:10-31  

Happy Mother’s Day.  It was Charles Dickens who wrote that if the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children, then the virtues of the mothers must be equally handed on.  I don’t remember exactly but I think it was about 5 years ago when Elizabeth raised her voice at me, shouting:

“Daddy, you didn’t pick up your hair after taking a shower.  Mommy had to pick them up.  How dare you!  Don’t let mommy pick up your hair ever again!  Ok, daddy?”

Mother’s Day. . . always special.  I think it is very true that Mother’s Day is more special than Father’s Day.  But, this is a difficult day for some.  It is difficult for some who have lost their mothers, especially if relatively recently.  It is certainly difficult for mothers who have lost children.  It is difficult for women who, for one reason or another, have no children of their own. 

For all those reasons, plus the nagging suspicion that all the hoopla is nothing more than a conspiracy between Hallmark Cards and the jewelers, candy makers and florists to make money, some preachers avoid any Mother’s Day references at all.  But I decided to stick with this theme, because, Anna Marie (our secretary) told me that usually more family members attend our worship service on Mother’s Day. 

Mothers are surely worth a day of celebration.  Think of the effect that godly mothers have had on some of the greatest people of history.  John Quincy Adams said, “All that I am, my mother made me.”  Abraham Lincoln declared, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Thank God for Mom!  And especially if she is anything like the incredible lady in our lesson from Proverbs.  What a woman!  What we read is an acrostic poem – each of the twenty-two verses begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet (which has 22 letters).  Perhaps the message is (that) this is the picture of a lady who has it all together, the A-to-Z woman. 

No doubt.  To paraphrase the words of Proverbs without exaggeration, she is a wonderful wife, makes clothes for her family that would be fit for a king, does the shopping, gets up before the crack of dawn to cook and clean, handles real estate, does the gardening, stays up half the night balancing the family accounts, does charity work, runs the equivalent of a clothing store with both retail and wholesale divisions, has a positive view of the future, is noted for her intelligence and kind disposition, teaches her children, a wise counselor to her neighbors, and is dutifully religious.  Wow!

Being a mother is a demanding task.  Someone has said, “The woman who creates and sustains a home, and under whose hands children grow up to be strong and pure men and women is a creator second only to God.”

Is there some magical formula to doing the job right, to being a successful wife and mother like the one we read about in Proverbs?  The wise writer gives the answer right near the end of the lesson.  After giving that long list of this lady’s rather incredible accomplishments, we find one short phrase to explain the secret of her success: she “fears the Lord.”  Her priorities are straight.  She does not neglect God. 

Thank God for moms who realize the importance of life’s spiritual dimension and share that with their families.  Thank God for moms who study the scriptures and teach their children what they have learned.  Thank God for moms who try to lead lives that will show Christ living in them and witness to the power of that faith.  Thank God for moms like that. 

The gospel, first proclaimed by Jesus, comes through witnesses: preachers, teachers, parents, and friends.  It is reported that Karl Barth, the most well-known theologian of 20th century, was once asked by a skeptical professor, “How is it that such a learned, civilized, intelligent man like yourself can believe in something like the resurrection?”  To which Barth simply replied, “Because, my friend, my mother told me so.”

It was a Rally Day program at the church and a little girl was to recite the scripture she had memorized for the occasion.  When she got in front of the crowd, the sight of hundreds of eyes peering at her caused her to forget her memory work.  Every line that she had so carefully rehearsed faded from her mind and she stood there unable to utter a single word.  In the front row, her mother was almost as frantic as the little girl.  The mother gestured, moved her lips, trying to form the words for the girl, but it did no good.  Finally, the mother, in desperation, whispered the opening phrase of the memorized Scripture: “I am the light of the world.”

Immediately the child’s face lit up and a smile appeared on it as she said with supreme confidence: “My mother is the light of the world!”  Of course, everybody smiled and some laughed out loud.  Then they soberly reflected that the girl, in some ways, was not far from wrong.  For the mother is the light of the child’s world. 

Someone has written a paraphrase of the 13
th chapter of I Corinthians from the perspective of a mother:

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper – not a homemaker.  If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness – not godliness.  Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.  Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.  Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.  Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.  Love is present through the trials.  Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.  Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.  Love is the key that opens salvation’s message to a child’s heart.  Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.  Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.  As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love. 

Don’t you like this?  Thank God for moms like that. . . who love their families and take wonderful care of them, and who have their priorities straight.

Mother’s day. . . a very special day. . . and one on which to say “Thanks, Mom, for all you have meant to me.”  But a day on which we can also say, “Thanks be to God. . . for a mom who has her priorities straight, who fears the Lord.  As the writer of Proverbs has it, “let her works bring her praise.”  Amen!

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