Last week we started looking at: What Jesus Said About our Emotions, and we’ll
be coming back to that next week, this week is all about mom.
If you were looking for a contestant for “Mother of the
Year” this mom probably wouldn’t have made your list. She was just a hooker, a lady of the
night. And normally we wouldn’t even
consider her to be in the running for “Mother of the Year” but then again, it’s
not “Wife of the Year” we are looking at, it’s “Mother of the Year” and the two
aren’t always the same. Maybe you know
the story, maybe you don’t. We don’t
know a whole lot about her, we know that she was a prostitute; we know that she
lived with at least one other prostitute, we know that she was a new mom and we
know that she had a major problem.
It seems that both the heroine of our story and her roommate
gave birth at the same time, which was probably an occupational hazard of their
particular profession. And they both had sons.
One morning shortly after the boys were born it was discovered that one
of the children had died in the night.
The cause given was that the mother had rolled over and smothered
him. It’s here that the story gets a
little confusing. The mother with the
dead child claimed that it wasn’t her son, that her colleague had switched the
boys in the night after the accident.
The other mother protested her innocence and maintained that she had
done nothing wrong and that the children had never been swapped.
One of these women was lying; both could not be telling the
truth. People do that you know, they
lie. Honest. I’ve been in the ministry for a hundred
years, well maybe not quite a hundred years but over thirty years, and I’ve
seen people lie. I have sat down with
couples in marriage counselling and she has said black and he has said white,
and to look at them you swear they were both telling the truth, and yet they
I’ve heard her say “He does this vile thing” and him say “no
I don’t, never have.” And I just shake
They sound like a couple of kids, “Did too” “Did Not”, Did
too” “Did Not”, “Did too”.
And so we have a problem, who is telling the truth and who
is lying? The story is found in the Old
Testament book of 1 Kings, David has died and Solomon his son has become king
Tamara is going to come to read the story for us, and I’m going to ask that you
stand for the reading of God’s word. 1Kings
To put this story into context
we need that understand that shortly after Solomon had become king, he went to
a place called Gibeon to offer a sacrifice to God and while he was there he had
a dream where God appeared to him and offered him anything he wanted. Anything.
Suppose God appeared to you and made you the same offer. “Say Bob, you can have anything you want, you
name it and it’s yours.” What would you
request? A better job, a bigger house, a
nicer car? More money, a happier
marriage, there are probably a dozen good requests that you could make, all
valid choices. But listen to how Solomon
responds in 1 Kings 3:9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your
people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself
is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Of all the things he could have
asked for he asks for wisdom. Maybe he
didn’t need to ask for wisdom, maybe he was already wise because listen to how
God answers his prayer, 1 Kings 3:12-13 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise
and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I
will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in
all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!
You gotta love that.
And so Solomon
goes back to Jerusalem
and throws a feast for his entire court. It’s not long after that the two
prostitutes show up with this compelling problem. This is to be the first test
of Solomon’s wisdom. It is an
interesting enough story that it has been used at the Harvard School of Law as
a case study.
So what can we learn from this story and from this mother?
1) She was Willing to
be Persistent. I wonder how many different avenues this woman how already
exhausted? Did the two women work for the same madam or pimp? Had she asked them to intervene? Had she gone to the local authorities? Perhaps the magistrate? Had they all given her the same answer,
“There is nothing we can do, how are we supposed to know which one of you is
lying?” How often had she considered
giving up, just throwing up her hands and saying “It’s no good, I’ll never have
my child back.”? And if she had of done that what would the result have been?
Her child would never have been returned, she would have gone through the
remainder of her life full of self-doubt and self-loathing. For the rest of her time on earth she would have
been plagued with “What if” and “if only”
And yet deep down inside she knew that somewhere there would
be someone who would listen to her, that somehow the truth would come out. Most of us will go to extremes for our kids,
we drive them back and forth to music lessons, soccer, hockey, baseball,
hockey, school events, dances, did I mention hockey? We want our kids to have the very best and we
are willing to persevere to make sure they get the very best.
And we don’t give up on them, we want them to do the very
best they can do in school, in sports, socially. And we push them and encourage them,
sometimes we berate them. But we do it
so they will achieve and be the very best that they can possibly be, although
sometimes I wonder if we are pushing them to be the very best we should have
been or could have been.
And we try not to give up, even though at time that would
appear to be the easiest thing to do. As parents we are supposed to be the ones
that know the benefits of perseverance, they are children we are adults.
They can’t see the end result; they think we are just being
annoying when we continue to pester them about doing their homework, and
practicing their piano and brushing their teeth. But we know that in the end those are the
things that will make the difference. That when they are adults and have an
education, can play the piano and don’t’ have to keep their teeth in a glass
they will thank us.
And it’s not something that we do once, you know in grade
one your kid comes home, you say “Don’t forget to do your homework.” And that’s
the last time you have to mention it. And
every parent here knows the truth of Margaret Thatcher’s statement when she said “You may have
to fight a battle more than once to win it.” This woman was willing to
go the second mile and the third mile and the fourth mile, even if it meant
that she, a prostitute, would have to make her way to the throne room of the
King of Israel, the spiritual leader of the nation to plead her case.
As parents we all know the need to persevere in the things
of the world, school, sports, music, but how about the spiritual? Are we willing to go the limit to make sure
our kids are in church, go to youth group and are involved in spiritual things After all if they blow their education they
can go back for upgrading, if they don’t learn piano oh well, they probably
won’t make it to the NHL anyways and they can always wear dentures, but
eternity is forever. And remember you may have to fight that battle more than
once to win it, but it needs to be won.
I don’t know what Robert Strauss
was referring to but he could have been referring to parenthood when he said “It’s a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when
you’re tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired.”
And it was Julie Andrews,
who said “Perseverance is failing 19 times and
succeeding the 20th.” I think it was Suzanna Wesley, John and Charles
Wesley’s Mother who had nineteen children, twelve of whom live. Once she was
telling one of her children something and someone said “That is the tenth time
you’ve told that child that.” And Suzanna replied, “And if I’d only told them nine
times, I would have wasted my time.” You understand what she meant right? It might be the next time that sticks.
2) She was willing to
Make Sacrifices Here was a woman who was willing to give up everything for
her child, her time, her pride and even her child. We all know that raising kids require
sacrifice, right? Financially you all heard
how much it costs on an average to feed, clothe and educate your children. An
article in US News started off this way “To examine in coldly economic terms a
parent’s decision to have children is widely thought to be in bad taste. A
child, after all, isn’t precisely akin to a consumer product such as a
dishwasher, a house, a car, or a personal computer–any one of which, of
course, is cheaper to acquire and usually easier to return.” According to money sense magazine the cost to raise a child to the age of 18 is
$243,660.00 and that doesn’t include the price if you kids get really serious
about their sports or hobbies, that assumes you have health insurance for
dental, prescriptions and glasses and it doesn’t include their post-secondary
That’s a small bungalow, somewhere, or ten Harleys, 1.2
Mercedes SL550 convertibles, or staying with the fine German Engineering ragtop
theme, 12 Smart Convertibles. And that’s
before they go to college. But of course the sacrifices don’t end there. We make sacrifices of our time, or our
energy, and for the most part they think you enjoy getting up at 5 a.m. to get
them to hockey practice and that you enjoy waiting up until midnight or later
to make sure they get in safe and sound. And for the most part we are willing
to make those sacrifices.
And it’s those sacrifices that make us parents; South
African Writer Nadine Gordimer said “There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice.” And Mothers you know that, how many times have you used sacrifice as your
moral trump card? “After all I’ve done
for you, carried you for nine months I was as big as a house, my feet swelled
up like bedroom slippers, and do you want to see my stretch marks? And then,
and then, you want to break my heart, well go ahead.” There well may be folks here today because
mom played the guilt card.
But this woman was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice,
she was willing to give up her child. She would give up her opportunity of
being a mother in order for her child to live.
That’s what set her apart from the other woman, with the other woman it
was all about her.
I have a cousin who became pregnant when she was a teenager,
in Australia we’d say she fell pregnant, which always caused me to have all
kinds of weird mental pictures, opps, thump, “Dear I think I’m pregnant.” Anyway, when my cousin was still in High
School she gave birth, and gave the child up for adoption to a Christian couple
who couldn’t have children. She felt that as much as she wanted to keep her child
that they would have more opportunities with that family.
That’s not always the case, sometimes single moms make the
sacrifice of raising a child by themselves because they feel that it will be in
the best interest of the child. My mom was a teenaged mom, and she didn’t do a
half bad job with my sister and me, then again my sister is in and out of jail
all the time, well actually she works for the corrections department but I like
my story better.
Oh and when you make those sacrifices so they will be better
scholars, better hockey players, better musicians don’t forget to make some
sacrifices so they will be better people, better Christians. Like getting up on
Sunday Morning so they are in church, getting them out to youth events, paying
for them to go to Christian rallies and Christian Camps.
We have literature on the back table about Caton’s Island
which is second to none when it comes to summer camping programs. You say “Denn
we can’t send them to hockey camp, music camp, computer camp and a Christian
Camp” Yeah you’re probably right, so you figure it out.
3) She Was Willing To
Go To A Higher Power Here’s the question, do you take your kids to a higher
power? Not to the king but to God? Do you pray for your children, over your
children and with your children? I have
a confession to make, we weren’t very good at “Family Devotions” I hope that
didn’t just destroy your image of the perfect pastoral family. We’ve tried, and we would do it for a while,
read scripture and pray together, but then it would get tough, we couldn’t get
everyone together, we were tired and I know that was no excuse. And I know that doesn’t happen with anyone
else, but boy it was a struggle for us.
But we do pray for our kids,
Angela prays for them when she has her quiet time with God, I pray for them
when I have my quiet time with God and we pray for them together. And here’s something we did, I’m not
bragging, don’t get me wrong this is just something we did. Every day when our
kids went to school they knew that they were not stepping out through that door
until I placed my hand on them and prayed for them. When I wasn’t home Angela did it. We thanked God for who they are, we asked God
to protect them and be with them, and we asked God to draw them closer to
Him. It wasn’t always an eloquent
prayer, sometimes it was a rushed prayer, but we prayed for our kids every day
from primary to graduation.
You do not have what it takes
to be a parent, but God does and he can give it to you. If you aren’t praying for your kids then you
need to start and at the same time pray that God will make you a better parent.
James the brother of Christ tells us in the letter he wrote, in James 1:5 If you need
wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke
you for asking. And what parent
doesn’t need wisdom?
The question has to be:
Why? Why was she willing to be
persistent? Why was she willing to make
sacrifices? Why was she willing to go to
a higher power? Because she was a mother
and She Wasn’t Willing To Lose Her
Child. There are probably many of
you here today who have come at the request of your mother for the same
reason. And probably husbands who are
here to appease their wives on Mother’s Day.
And here is the truth boy and girls, the reason your mother is so
concerned about you being in church is she doesn’t want to lose you.
The thought of being separated
for eternity from the ones she loves is almost unbearable for her. In many cases it is mom who first embraces
Jesus as her Lord and she wants to pass that gift onto the ones she loves. Kids if you have never chosen to follow
Jesus, husbands if you aren’t Christ followers then it is breaking the heart of
your mother and your wife. She knows the
reality of John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No
one can come to the Father except through me.
The reason that your mom
pesters you about church and your faith and reading your bible, the reason she
is willing to make sacrifices to get you here, the reason she lays awake at
night and prays for you is because she loves you. And just like the mother in this story, she
doesn’t want to lose her children, or her husband. Your mother could have written the words from
3 John 1:4 I
could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the
And so part of why your mother,
or your spouse was so insistent about you coming today is because they are
hoping I will tell you what they want to tell you and that is this: They don’t want to lose you, they don’t want
to go to sleep each night wondering where you will spend your eternity. And they want so bad for me to tell you what
Peter told the crowd outside of the temple gate in Jerusalem Acts 3:19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins
may be wiped away. If you are
here today and you have never chosen to follow Jesus it is just that easy. Repent is what you do, it’s when you stop
following your desires, it’s when you turn away from the world and in doing
that you turn to God. It is the
decision that you make to commit your life, your past and your future to Jesus
Christ. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved
you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a
gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so
none of us can boast about it.
Are you ready to take that step today. It really is win win, you get a gift from
God, because his word tells us that the gift of God is eternal life, and in the
process you give your mother a gift that she has only dreamed of.