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God’s Gift of Motherhood

May 10, 2020

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Easter 5                                                    Trinity Lutheran Church

10 May 2020                                            Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Proverbs 31:10-31

 

Since motherhood is incessantly under attack from the unholy trinity — the old Adam, the world and the devil — until Judgment Day, let’s make good use of this Mother’s Day to reflect on the shape of the Christian life as it is connected with the divine gift of motherhood.  As the Lord engages us with His Word today He repents us, faiths us, and guides us to live holy lives according to His Word in our everyday lives – in motherhood especially.  More on that in a minute.  Such living is truly wise.  Biblical – divine wisdom given especially in the Proverbs.

 

The Christian life, of course, is twofold:  faith and love.  Faith in Jesus that saves.  Deeds or actions of self-sacrificial love for others.   Speaking of that St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that, “we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” This twofold shape is exhibited here in Proverbs 31.  This is God’s good use of you in your daily lives.  Check it out.

 

“An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels … Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” 

 

Those words go against the grain.  Don’t they?  When a man (no matter how old) looks for a potential wife he is most concerned or only concerned with what?  Come on!   Looks!  Body!  How many of us men have listened to the proverb’s wisdom?  Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  A Christian man wanting to be married should put at the top of his list a lady who is a faithful Christian.  A truster.  A faith-er. Beautiful drop dead gorgeous?  That’s double bonus round!  But not most important.  Praise her first and foremost because she “fears the LORD.”  And vice versa for you ladies when you look for a husband.  Priority #1 is that he’s a practicing Christian!  Who will exercise headship in the family – biblically.  Better save that for Father’s Day.  Better be here for that one.  Promise?  Good!

 

Now, let’s not forget that the “fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” (Proverbs 1:7).  This is what drives all the proverbs and therefore all of life for a Christian.  Along with her fear of the LORD would be her love and trust in the LORD.  All three, fear, love and trust go together.  They can never be separated.  She trusts that only the LORD Jesus is her Savior.  That only His grisly Good Friday Death and divine Good Friday Blood atoned for her sin.  That only in LORD Jesus is she justified before God.

 

Trusting LORD Jesus for her salvation means that she is free.  Free from the incessant attempts to justify herself before others and God Himself with her works or deeds.  In Jesus she is set free from the shackles of living only for herself.  Through faith in Jesus she is free to live outwardly toward her husband, children and community.  That’s spelled L-O-V-E.  Her passive reception of salvation from the LORD Jesus F-A-I-T-H leads her to a very active and busy life to help others L-O-V-E.  Listen.

 

She manages her household.  “Provides food for her household.”  “Portions for her maidens.” “All her household are clothed in scarlet.” She “opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”  She’s a shrewd businesswoman.  “Considers a field and buys it.”  “Plants a vineyard.” “Perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.”  “She puts her hand to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle.”  Notice her care for others in the way that she talks:  “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”  This wife and mother of Proverbs 31 exhibits what it means to life by faith and love.  Faith in Jesus.  Service for others.

 

No wonder then that “her children rise up and call her blessed.” No surprise that, “her husband also, and he praises her.”  Because she’s a faith-er of the LORD Jesus and because the LORD Jesus uses this trust-er in Him as His instrument to selflessly care for her family and her community.

 

What joy!  Motherhood is a gift from the LORD.  We are to receive it and use it as such as set free forgiven sinners by the Lord Jesus.  Through Mom the Lord creates life and cares for life.  Mom is the Lord’s hands and the Lord’s mouth to care for her family.  And it is not easy.  It’s very mundane.  Ordinary. Routine. Monotonous.  Like changing diapers.  Playing legos.  Making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crust cut off. Laundry 24-7.  Time outs.  Bed time stories.  During this pandemic being the Jack of all trades at home.  Juggling all kinds of different activities at once.  In addition to many joys, mothers bear all kinds of crosses in their vocation.  Difficulties. Exhaustion.  Frustration.  Heartaches.  But through it all God blesses your work Mom!  God is pleased.  It is holy work!  Ladies, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  There is great satisfaction and fulfillment in being a mother.

 

So, if your smelling what I’m cooking, we are to encourage and extol motherhood as God’s gracious giving.  As God’s care.  As God’s love. God loves your children, cares for them, protects them, grows them, and watches over them as you do the ordinary work of being a mom.  GOD IS AT WORK in the life of your child through the work you do as mom.  That’s a sacred calling because it’s based upon God’s most holy Word.  And as a Christian you are free to do the work of mothering the best you can, not because God needs you to be good mothers in order to earn anything before Him.  But simply because your kids need the best mother you can be.

 

Mothers, of course aren’t perfect.  And we shouldn’t expect them to be.  Where and when you fail, you repent. Confess your sin.  Tell the truth.  Ask Jesus to forgive you.  Ask your child or children to forgive you.  Ask you husband to forgive you.  Use Jesus and His Good Friday death properly in your family – namely – by forgiving each other.  And in the forgiveness they speak to you and that you speak to them, you are receiving and you are giving Christ’s forgiveness.  That’s how we go on.  That’s how we carry on.  Living by faith.

 

Jesus had a mother.  Remember?  Mary!  My dear sisters in Christ, I’m here to tell you to hold your heads high with pride.  The woman named Mary is called the “mother of our Lord.”  No man holds this honor or dignity!  So, ladies, if you’re looking for another example or pattern to follow in being a mother that lives outside herself toward God by faith and outwardly toward others in love, learn from Mary.

 

She stands at the end of a long line of chosen mothers in the Bible.  From Eve to Sarah.  From Rebekah and Leah to Hannah.  From Ruth to Bathsheba.  And a host of many other nameless women in the OT that carried the Promise of God, that through the Seed of the woman would come the Savior of the world.  Mary trusted God.  She trusted God in her virgin pregnancy.  She trusted God even when she had to cancel her big wedding and reception plans.  She trusted God even when she and Joseph couldn’t have a honeymoon.  She trusted God to use Jesus to be her Savior.  After the archangel Gabriel preached his annunciation sermon to Mary she exhibits what it means to live by faith par excellence:  “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  She trusted God’s Word.  Mothers, learn this from Mary!

 

Mary’s opposite, if you will, is Eve.  In Genesis 3 Eve didn’t trust God’s Word.  Satan deceived her and she trusted his hellacious lie that she and Adam could be like God.  As if their words were divine and infallible – trustworthy – not God’s!  THE DISGRACE OF EVE’S DECEPTION IS TAKEN AWAY BY JESUS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY!

 

At just the right time in the history of the world, “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law.” (Galatians 4:4)  The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the eternally begotten Son of the Father, entered our sin-infested world the hard way, our way, by the way of a human mother, Mary.

 

Every conception, every birth, reminds us of the birth of Jesus.  Jesus sanctified the womb with His presence.  He made it a holy place.  Motherhood, then, is holy work.  Every child born of a woman is an echo of Christ’s incarnation.  That is precisely what St. Paul means when he says in 1 Timothy that the woman would be saved by childbirth or the birth of a child.  Women are saved through the birth of their children as they live by faith in the birth of God’s Son through Mary.

 

Jesus honored His mother Mary.  As a child.  As an adult.  As He hung on the cross.  He was the perfect Son to His mother.  Perfect where we could not be perfect.  Perfect in our place.  As our substitute.

 

By His Good Friday dying and His Easter Morning rising, the Son of Mary forgives the sins of mothers against their children and the children’s sins against their mothers.  He’s nailed them to the cross.  He’s buried them in the blackhole of His tomb.  He’s drowned them in the flood of holy baptism.  You are forgiven.  You are at peace.  You are free.  Free to live as mothers and to give thanks to God for your mothers.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

In the Name of Jesus.  Amen

 

 

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