Mother's Day

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"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: ‘There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." - Proverbs 31:10-31

The text for my message this morning is taken from Proverbs 31:30: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

She keeps before her eyes the fearfulness of running away from God into sin and so stays close to God and his mercy. She should be praised by us all because that will strengthen her hand in God, honor the Lord, and make our own lives happier. And she can be recognized because she is confident and not anxious about the future, gracious wisdom is on her lips, she girds herself with strength, she brings her husband honor by her support, and she reaches out her hands to the needy. “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”

In nineteen hundred sixty-six
I happened on a girl,
And spent two years a-pondering
The value of that pearl.

She has a face and has a heart
All full of love and filling,
And so I sold my singleness
All fifty years, God willing.

And I have never once looked back
For fear of what I missed.
If ever God was good to me
It was the wedding kiss.

Four years and happy were the first
Without a child to bless,
And so we cultivated joy
And fields of faithfulness.

Then, like a mighty “Let there be!”
From Genesis page one,
Another soul was born on earth,
And we beheld a son.

But I had eyes for something more,
To watch God make another:
Out of a girl, my college pearl,
I watched him make a mother.

A kind of revelation this,
Just as the ancients say:
How much of Christ there is to see
In her maternal way!

Eight years and two more happy sons
All priceless to the minute,
Are like an unrolled, open scroll
With God’s own message in it:

“Charm is deceitful, beauty vain,
Though all the world has gazed,
But when a woman fears the Lord
She will be truly praised.” - John Piper

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, therefore, perhaps the way we should end is by reminding ourselves as sons and daughters—whether old or young—that the fountain of life, and the strong confidence and the deep satisfaction that come from honoring all the truth that our mothers taught us also comes back to them as a crown of joy and honor and blessing in their later years. "Do not despise your mother when she is old" (Proverbs 23:22). "Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you" (Proverbs 23:25). Do not forsake the teaching of your mother. It will be a wreath of grace to your head and a crown of joy upon hers.

Thank you, Lord, that you fill a mother’s heart with love, That you have instilled in her very being the need to protect her children if at all possible, Thank you for giving her the gift of nurturing her children, of teaching them, of comforting them, for feeding them and making a safe place for them. For guiding them to be all that God has created them to be. Fill every mother with love, wisdom and endurance, with strength and patience and joy. Give them ability to forgive again and again. Enable her to rely on You and call upon You, because You will give her all she needs. In Your precious and all powerful name. Amen.
May 12 2018