One of the favorite passages in the Bible for pastors to use when preaching a Mother’s Day sermon is found in Proverbs 31. These verses describe the mother who is a virtuous woman, a wife and mother who never stops caring for her family.
More than once I have thought that ancient King Lemuel, who wrote these verses, could somehow see into the future a few hundred years and was describing my mom.
As long as I can remember, Mom worked hard for her family, from sunrise till well past sunset most days. Not only did she take care of all the things we thought a mother was supposed to do – cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing and once a week, baking bread and other goodies that were waiting for us when we got home from school – she also worked many years outside the home, only retiring when more or less forced to at age 86. She fought battles for us children that we often didn’t learn about until many years later. Every day, in many ways, she showed us that she loved us.
Along with the lessons she taught by example, she emphasized many of those lessons with verbal reminders:
- wear clean underwear; you never know when you might have to go to the hospital. More than once we found that advice carried much wisdom – and maybe even a little prophecy!
- Never put anything on top of your Bible. It is the word of God and should be treated with respect. To this day I don’t like to see anything, even a scrap of paper or a pen, on top of a Bible.
- If you are going to do something, do it right the first time. There are few things that are more embarrassing than doing something in a hurry, then having your mom have to do it over, because it wasn’t done properly.
- Live by the Golden Rule, not only when you are in church, but when you are at home, school or even in the grocery store.
- Think of others, and try to put yourself in their shoes. Somehow she taught us that things might not always be as they seem to be, because every situation, like every coin, has two sides. Before judging someone, make sure you know both sides of the story.
- One of the earliest lessons came before I started to school. We had a beautiful picture – gold words on a royal blue background – that hung for many years in our living room. Part of the verse said, “Go nowhere today you would not go if Jesus was with you. Say nothing today you would not say if Jesus was with you. Do nothing today that you would not do if Jesus was with you.” Why? Because Jesus is always with us, she said, even if we can’t see him. Every day I find that simple lesson to be more true.
The virtuous, hard-working woman described in Proverbs 31 could so easily be my mom. She has done so much for our family over the years and taught us so much that we will never be able to repay her – but that is part of her beauty, she didn’t do it to be paid back, only to love and be loved.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, I do love you and am so proud of you.
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Thought for the week — Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.