Online Worship Service, Sunday May 10, 2020
Bible Text: Proverbs 31:28-30 | Preacher: Andrew Schaller | Sermon for Easter Four – Mother’s Day – Sunday May 10, 2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3–4, NIV84)
Proverbs 31:28–30 (NKJV)
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who respected and loved His Mother,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –
Anna Jarvis…do any of you recognize the name? I would guess that most of you don’t know that the modern holiday known as Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her own mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. She said that a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation that designated Mother’s Day a national holiday ‘to honor mothers’ on the 2nd Sunday in May.
Now I bet you didn’t know that the same Anna Jarvis was later resentful of Mother’s Day. She believed that companies like Hallmark Cards exploited the idea of Mother’s Day for profit. She organized boycotts of Mother’s Day and she threatened law suits. She argued that people should honor their mothers with handwritten letters, not buying gifts and premade cards. When the ‘American War Mothers’ began the tradition of selling carnations on Mother’s Day to raise money, the woman who lobbied for Mother’s Day…was angry and was ultimately arrested for disturbing the peace.
Nevertheless, today is Mother’s Day. In much of our world, the only requirement for praise is that you be a mother. Whether good or bad, lawful or lawless, Godly or ungodly, today every mother is celebrated simply for being a mother, just like Father’s Day and Sibling’s Day and Grand Parents Day.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we stop recognizing, loving and respecting our wives and mothers. We owe our mothers love and respect, after all the 4th Commandment is plain, “Honor your father and your mother, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Our mothers should hold a special place in our hearts.
However, when we look at the ideal mother described in Holy Scripture, we find that the glass slipper doesn’t fit every mother. The Holy Spirit doesn’t hold up every mother as worthy of admiration and emulation by all; but praises in particular the mother who fears, who respects the LORD.
This morning we meditate upon the final verses of the book of Proverbs. These words are part of a Hebrew Poem (acrostic, so called because beginning with verse 10 each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew Alphabet) describing a wife of noble character.
In Proverbs 18:22, Solomon declares:
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.
In Proverbs 31:10-31, the Spirit of God elaborates on that theme, describing not just any woman, but the kind of woman to be praised, one who fears the LORD. We are taught to thank God for Godly Mothers.
We begin with prayer.
Lord God, Heavenly Father, you shake the earth, you quake the mountains, the stars fight for you and the rivers sweep away your foes (Judges 5:4-5, 20-21), but my heart does not tremble before you. I am at times ruled by careless attitudes and filled with pride. Help me in my pride to tremble before you and humble myself at your greatness. Impress on my heart the seriousness of your anger over sin. Help me to see what is at stake in every temptation to sin and in every thing that would distract me from praising your glory. Fill me with respect, awe and childlike fear, that trusting in Christ, I may give all glory to you. Amen.
When young people get old enough to start looking for a spouse, very often the first thing they look at is appearance. It’s not a surprise, really. We want someone who is attractive. We look for someone who likes to have fun. It’s sad, but for many, godly character and faithfulness isn’t very high on the list.
How do I know? I was once a young person too. I’m not that out of touch.
In stark contrast to what our world values, this Biblical poem declares that Godly character in a wife and mother isn’t just a good thing, it’s priceless (Proverbs 31:10-12):
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.”
A Godly Wife and Mother is described as trustworthy, a woman in whom her husband has complete confidence. She is dedicated and supportive to her husband and family all the days of her life. While Her first concern is the LORD, a close second is her husband and family. She is industrious and keeps her family warm and clothed (Proverbs 31:13-24).
So, a Godly Wife’s real beauty is not to be found in what she wears or how she looks. In the Scriptures, the LORD says that true beauty is not the outer façade. Lasting beauty is found within, in qualities like strength, honor, joy, wisdom, kindness and industriousness.
It is said of the Godly wife and mother (Proverbs 31:25-27):
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
These qualities aren’t what most people call beauty…it’s the super models and Hollywood starlets. The Holy Spirit reminds us all that that kind of beauty is temporary even fleeting. So, it is written (Proverbs 31:30a):
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
Charm…the batting of the eyes and the furtive smile…is an outer deception; Beauty is literally like a breath, compared to one’s breath on a cold day…it passes away, it dissipates.
It isn’t just here in Proverbs. The real qualities of a godly wife and mother are praised in other places in Scripture.
The Apostle Peter, who was a married man (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:30-31, Luke 4:38-39), was also moved by the Holy Spirit to write about the qualities of a godly woman. In 1st Peter he wrote in a way similar to Proverbs (1 Peter 3:1-6):
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
It is no wonder then that it is said of a godly woman:
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
I realize that parts of our society look down on the type of woman pictured in Proverbs. They don’t value the qualities described in these verses. Frankly, the Godly wife and mother is pictured as locked in the home in chains. She is pitied because she misses out on all that life has to offer by raising her children. It’s sad that our society mocks and undervalues a Godly wife and mother because it’s part of the reason that our society is crumbling from within.
It is a thing of beauty to see children raised by a conscientious, believing mother. It doesn’t always go perfectly, nothing int his life does, but it makes the heart glad to see the next generation taught to be respectful and thoughtful, loving and caring molded by the Scriptures and led by a Godly mother. It’s no wonder that as they grow older and see their peers having been raised with different values that they return to love her more and more. They return love and respect.
So, have you taken the time to thank your mother for having brought you to Jesus? Have you thanked her for her hours of help with school work, rides to school, countless meals and other care? Have you returned to tell her that you appreciate all the things that she has done for you?
Now don’t just thank her for the mundane things, but above all for her good example and spiritual support. Thank her for helping to raise you in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
But…Don’t do it because I say so or because ‘the mother is the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.’ Please understand that the reason that a godly mother does these things should not be personal recognition, but to glorify God, to express her faith in Him who bought her and entrusted her with children, a generation to raise. Let it not become a matter of personal pride, but let us glorify God for Godly mothers.
Or…Maybe you don’t think that your mother is worthy of praise. Maybe you think she didn’t measure up to this high ideal. Maybe you think (in your now exalted position) that she could have done things better. Maybe you place her among the ‘runners up’ mentioned in verse 29?
“Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
It’s true that God gives gifts and ability to every human being, to every mother and wife. Still, the LORD (and these words are God’s not those of some male chauvinist) declares that the Godly wife and mother ascends above them all.
But honestly, how many mothers fall in line with this godly picture? For that matter, how many Fathers would rate highly according to God’s Word as a godly father and husband? How many children are obedient and always honor their father and mother? The facts are clear, we all fall short. We all sin.
In the end, Anna Jarvis was wrong. I understand the sentiment she expressed when she said that your mother is the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world. Truly, much of what a godly mother does goes unrecognized and unpraised by the world. Much of what she does happens behind the scenes. I ask myself, what would I be without a godly mother? What would I do without a godly wife? I don’t want to think about being without either.
Still, there is one person who has done far more for you than your mother…
He perfectly measured up to every command of God as your substitute. He was perfectly obedient to every commandment of God and always from a heart of love. The life that He lived – without sin – is credited to you, by faith. He set a perfect example for even while He died on the cross, one of His greatest concerns was someone else, someone reliable to take care of His mother.
It’s true that some mothers give up careers and accomplishments in order to raise godly children. They make sacrifices. They work long hours and give up sleep to comfort weeping children. They would even die to protect their children. These sacrifices are worthy of praise, if done in faith. We owe them love and respect.
Still none of those sacrifices delivers from sin.
Jesus sacrifice does. It delivers from sin, guilt, and eternal death. Jesus laid down His life so that we might dwell with Him in the Father’s House eternally, apart from sin, sorrow, death and crying.
We should thank God for godly wives and mothers…not merely because they are ‘ours’ but because they are gifts from a gracious God and Father. God help every mother and wife to strive to be a person who stands in awe of the Lord and His Word. A person who loves because she knows the love of Jesus. A person who seeks to praise her Savior God for being faithful to Her. For…
A woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.