Sermon By Terry Siverd / May 09, 2021 / Cortland Church of Christ
Perhaps there's no Sunday sermon in the entire calendar year that brings me more ambivalence than Mother's Day. Ambivalence – a word coined by Sigmund Freud -- is defined as: the existence of mutually conflicting feelings or thoughts. On one hand I welcome and relish this special day as a time to salute and commend our moms. But on the other hand, I dread it - - who am I to speak words of exhortation and admonition to you moms?
The challenges of parenting in general and motherhood in particular are the greatest in the world. Many have written about these challenges with catchy one-sentence observations. Children are natural mimics, who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners......Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said......Children: you spend the first two years teaching them to walk & talk, then the next sixteen telling to sit down & shut up......We did have to childproof our home about three years ago...but somehow they still get in......Mothers of teens know why animals eat their young......Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids......Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home.
Please take time to read my essay in today's FamilyMatters, “A Yardstick In Time.”
The power that resides in motherhood is truly beyond calculation. Sara Hale notes, “There is no influence so powerful as that of the mother.” Henry Ward Beecher likened a mother's heart to the child's schoolroom. An unknown author summarizes well: “Mothers hold their children's hand for a short while, but their hearts forever.” James Faust has penned, “The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.” Lisa Leslie captures this sentiment best in saying: “My mother was my role model before I even knew what that word was.”
The part of this day that I relish is that of playing a small role in providing support to you moms. I want to be your cheerleader; to lift up your hands; to sing your praises; to give you a much-deserved word of commendation.
Your work is so important!
Most of you moms know that and quite a few of you are taking your assignment very seriously. You are trying real hard to be a good Christian mother. We applaud you and we are praying for you!
The Bible speaks of two major presumptions about motherhood. First, that you moms will be (women) who fear the Lord (Prov.31:20). Titus 3:4 / love their husbands … love their children … keepers at home … that the word of God may not be dishonored. Secondly, that you moms will be teachers - - do not forsake your mother's teachings (Prov.1:8). Prov.22:6 / train up a child in the way he should go... Prov.29:15b / a child left to himself (who gets his own way) brings shame to his mother.
As I look among our church family I have several moms/households in the front of my mind. These are moms who still have young ones in the nest. Renee Maas Nobles (Raelyn) … Jennifer Kennedy (Cameron) … Kayla Alfred (Abigail, Emily & Bentley) … Sydney Flask (Gideon) … Amy Rossi (Nicholas) … Julia Chester (Gabby) … Valerie Fisher (Marissa & Tyler) ... Jill Woods (Bella, Brilea & Bobbi) … Haley Wildman (Nicolas, Lucas & Selah) … Charleigh Wildman (Kannon & Kruze) … Betina Aros (Albert & Geroge) … Jeannie Wong (Mia, Cienna, Charlotte, Natalie plus another one on the way). Some of you ladies who listen to our messages online from week to week fall into this same category - - having little ones still at home. You are on our minds and in our prayers as well.
And now for the part I dread. I'm going to presume to give you some advice.
The good thing about preaching is that you don't have to be perfect to do it. Today, I want to offer two brief admonitions.
DO NOT DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS!
This exhortation is from Zech.4:10. In several versions it is translated as a hypothetical question: who has despised the day of small things?. In various other translations it is rendered as a command: do not despise the day of small things. After the destruction of Solomon's temple and years in captivity, when the nation of Israel was finally able to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, some of them viewed such efforts with disdain, scorn and laziness. “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?” cf. Hag.2:3 and Ezra 3:12-13. The first two decades of motherhood are filled to overflowing with small things - - days of drudgery. grocery shopping … cooking & serving meals … washing dishes … doing laundry … changing diapers … making the beds … dusting … vacuuming carpets & sweeping floors … scrubbing the bathroom … helping with homework assignments … taking kids to extracurricular activities … baths & bedtime … etc. Adding to the challenge is that such becomes so routine. So many of these chores are daily. I saw this up close in the three months we recently spent at Sydney Jeanne's in Yuma. Some are inclined to view these small things as being menial, tedious & unpleasant, but THEY ARE NOT UNIMPORTANT. If you fail to recognize the value inherent within the small things, routines can quickly become ruts and ruts, graves. Some moms struggle mightily with these very things: drudgery, boredom & monotony, which can lead to depression. The glory of marriage and motherhood soon loses it luster and becomes dull and almost unbearable. On days like these you must remember that your work is so significant - - vitally important and essential in every way.
Read from Hag.2:4-5 - - But now take courage, Zerubbabel, declares the Lord, take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage, declares the Lord, and work; FOR I AM WITH YOU, declares the Lord of hosts. As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, MY SPIRIT IS ABIDING IN YOUR MIDST; do not fear.
SPEAK SOFTLY BUT CARRY A BIG STICK!
This motto summed up President Theodore Roosevelt's approach to foreign diplomacy. Being a keeper at home (Titus 3:4) requires good management skills. Good management skills requires a hands on approach. Good training demands discipline. Prov.22:6 says to dads and moms: train up a child in the way he should go... Prov.29:15 states, a child left to himself (who gets his own way) brings shame to his mother. Prov.29:17 adds, correct you son, and he will give you comfort. Prov.13:24 speaks of the rod of discipline saying, he who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently. To discipline our children we must hold them accountable.
While we were in Yuma, the Wongs built a chicken coop in the backyard and purchased six chickens. Their backyard was surrounded securely and snugly by a six-foot wall. Bo loved the backyard. You can see this coming - - Bo also loves to chase and kill small furry creatures (he's a terrier). Isaiah & Sydney Jeanne warned the girls not to let the chickens out of the pen when Bo was near. One day they did and Bo got one of baby chicks. Mia cried out, “Bo killed one of the chickens.” Sydney Jeanne set her straight: “Bo didn't kill the baby chicken, you did by disobeying.”
Sometimes moms (and dads and teachers, etal.) have to work hard at finding out what kind of discipline works. If one type is not working, we don't chuck discipline as a whole, but rather we must find another style that will. God has never given you moms the option: to discipline or not?. The question is not “should you discipline?” The question is, “will you be both consistent and persistent as you dispense discipline with love?”