Mother's Day

May 14, 2017Luke 7:11 – 17Mother’s Day

    I want to take a moment to thank mothers for all the work that you do.  If you are not a mother but help with children then this is for you also.  We thank you for being a doctor, nurse, healer (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), confidant, taxi driver, manager, chef, accountant, protector, house cleaner (25 an hour is the going rate), purchasing agent, coordinator, mediator, counselor, teacher,  parent, friend, prayer warrior, provider, spiritual guide and counselor, an encourager, a helper, a hard worker, comforter, a leader and so much more.  That is a lot of stuff and we need to be thankful for all your labor and recognize your contribution to society.  So I say God bless you today.  One bright spot in my house when I was young was my mom.  Mothers tend to be more compassionate then fathers.  Compassion is a good trait.   God is compassionate.

    For Christians I believe that being a mother is a calling from God.  It brings the highest joys and perhaps the lowest of times in your life.  Children know how to challenge us to love them and pay attention to them.  Being a mother is hard work and it lasts virtually all of your life.  It begins immediately when they are born and they want to eat every 2 hours.  Soon they go to school and when they drive and go out on their first dates.  Then it is college military or work and marriage and children.  Sometimes the child does not make the best decisions.  We get a picture of how God feels with us.   I think we get a picture or feeling of how much God loves us from being a parent.  We learn to trust God for the child and we grow in our prayer life. 

        I am going to share some stories today and then get into the passage of scripture.  Some of the stories are humorous and some not but they speak of parenting and moms.  James Dobson tells about a time he came home when his son, Ryan, was a small baby. It had been a terrible day for his wife. Ryan had been sick, & had cried all day. Once, as she was changing his diapers, the telephone rang & Shirley reached over to answer it before fastening up his diaper.  Just then Ryan had another attack of diarrhea.  She cleaned up that mess & put him in clean, sweet-smelling clothes. Then she took him into the living room & fed him. As she was burping him he threw up all over himself, & her, & the couch, too.   Dobson writes, “When I came home I could smell the aroma of motherhood everywhere.” Shirley cried out to him, “Was all of this in my contract?”  I know how Shellie puts it when she said I will be glad when I don’t have to wipe any bodies anything. 

     A person remembers very clearly the time he gave his two year old son, Steve, his very first responsibility. He told Steve to watch Susan, his baby sister, while he stepped out of the room.   He had only been gone a few moments when he heard a thump, & then Susan started crying.  He rushed back in to find that Susan had fallen from the couch & was stretched out on the floor. meanwhile, Steve sat there, looking so innocent.   He said "Steve, I told you to watch her." Steve answered, "I did." He watched her fall & he watched her cry.   He did exactly what he was told to do.    

    The true story is told - out of WW 2 & the holocaust that took the lives of millions of people - of Solomon Rosenberg & his family.  Solomon Rosenberg & his wife & their 2 sons & his mother & father were arrested & placed in a Nazi concentration camp. It was a labor camp, & the rules were simple. "As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you are exterminated."  Rosenberg watched his mother & father marched off to their deaths, & he knew that next would be his youngest son, David, because David had always been a frail child.  Every evening Rosenberg came back into the barracks after his hours of labor & searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another, & thank God for another day of life.

    One day Rosenberg came back & didn't see those familiar faces. He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping, & praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it's not true." Joshua turned & said, "It is true, poppa. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."  "But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg. "Oh poppa," he said, "When they came for David, he was afraid & he cried.  Momma said, 'There is nothing to be afraid of, David,' & she took his hand & went with him."  That was a sad story but it speaks of how mothers die to the things they want for their children.  Motherhood is a sacrifice. 

    Moms certainly form their children.  You moms have a huge impact on your children.   Preacher G. Campbell Morgan had four sons and they all became ministers of the gospel.   At a family reunion, a friend asked one of the sons, "Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?" While that son looked at his father, he replied, Mother

     Ian MacLaren, that great preacher of the Word of God, once visited a home and found an old Scotch woman standing in her kitchen, weeping.    She wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron, and when the minister asked her what was the matter, she confessed, “I have done so little. I am so miserable and unhappy.” “Why?” asked MacLaren. “Because I have done so little for Jesus.  When I was just a wee girl, the Lord spoke to my heart, and I did want so much to live for Him.” “Well, haven’t you?” asked the minister. “Yes, I have lived for Him, but I have done so little.   I want to be of some use in His service.”  “What have you done?” “Nothing. I have washed dishes, cooked three meals a day, taken care of the children, mopped the floor, and mended the clothes.  That is all I have done all my life, and I wanted to do something for Jesus.” The preacher, sitting back in the armchair, looked at her and smiled. “Where are your boys?” he inquired.

    She had four sons and had named them after Bible personalities. “Oh, my boys? You know where Mark is. You ordained him yourself before he went to China. Why are you asking? He is there preaching for the Lord.” “Where is Luke?” questioned the minister. “Luke? He went out from your own church.   Didn’t you send him out?   I had a letter from him the other day.”  Then she became happy and excited as she continued. “A revival has broken out on the mission station, and he said they were having a wonderful time in the service of the Lord!”   “Where is Matthew?”   “He is with his brother in China. Isn’t it fine that the two boys can be working together?  I am so happy about that.   Timothy came to me the other night--he is my baby and is only nineteen, but he is a great boy.   He said, ‘Mother, I have been praying and, tonight in my room, the Lord spoke to my heart about going to help my brother in Africa!   But don’t you cry, Mother.   The Lord told me I was to stay here and look after you until you go home to glory.’  “The minister looked at her: “And you say your life has been wasted in mopping floors, darning socks, washing dishes, and doing the trivial tasks.   I’d like to have your mansion when we are called home!   It will be very near the throne. God answered this dear woman’s prayer but she just could not see it.  Often we cannot see how God uses us. 

     She was there for her children.  I suspect that we have a number of issues in this nation because of a lack of parents who are not there for their children.    I graded 3 graduating high school boys last Thursday at Coe Brown high school and one of them grew up with his dad and sister.  His mom was absent and gone and he just did enough to graduate.  There were no extras in his project and I commented to one of the panel members that dad did not push him and mom was not there for him.  I have been doing this for years and one of the students I thought about failing.    Two of them heard some admonition from the panel.  One of the students came in late.  Never had a late student before either.   Mothers have to be diligent in keeping their child on course.   

    I like this passage in Luke that I have never preached on before.  It may seem like a strange passage for Mother’s Day.   There are some neat things in this passage.   We see Jesus traveling to a town called Nain.  There is no indication that Jesus was asked to go to this town or that he knew anything about this funeral.   As he approaches the town gate a dead person is carried out of the town.  It was a child the only son of a widowed mother.   Jesus just shows up.  There are 2 very different crowds here.  In the crowd that followed Jesus there was joy and excitement.  The crowd coming out of town was a funeral procession.  In a sense those 2 crowds represent all of mankind.  One crowd is with Jesus and is going to a heavenly city and the other crowd represents those that are lost. 

  The crowd from the city was a widow mother with her only son who is dead and those that are mourning with her.  That is plenty of cause for sadness.  There is no dialogue between Jesus and anyone there that we know of.   This mother can do nothing for her son. All she can do is weep and pray.   He is dead.  Perhaps it is her only child.  It is her only son.  Here we see two sons meet.  God’s only son and this widow only son.  One is alive and destined to die the other is dead but destined to live Warren Wiersbe writes.  There are 2 sons that meet.  Each one is the only son.   Neither one of them has a brother.   There are 2 suffers who meet.  The man of sorrows meets this suffering mother.   Jesus responds with a heart of compassion.  He tells the mother not to cry and he goes to the coffin and tells the young man to get up. 

    There are times when you can’t do anything for your child.  There are times when Jesus comes that you and I may not even know anything about it.   You may not even know that your child is in danger.  Jesus just shows up and deals with the issue.  This woman could not do anything for her son and there are times we cannot do anything for our child but pray.  We pray and labor and ask God to intervene.  We ask God for a miracle.   This woman got a miracle.  Not everybody gets miracles but this woman does.   Her son was raised from the dead.  The young man sat up and spoke.  All of the people saw it and word of the miracle spread like a wild fire.  Jesus provided just what was needed when it was needed.   The mourning turns into dancing.  Some day we will be ushered into heaven and into unspeakable joy.