May 12, 2013
Sunday school teacher: Tell me, Johnny. Do you say prayers before eating?
Johnny: No, ma’am, I don’t have to. My mom’s a good cook.
Today is Mothers Day. Have you prepared gifts for your mom today? If you haven’t and don’t have any idea, google “Mothers Day gifts” and you will find, “Top Ten Mothers Gifts” easily. We give mom all sorts of gifts which range from the extravagant to the simple, from the store-bought to the homemade, from fancy flowers to cash. We want to shower mother with gifts, for indeed she needs to be reminded of our love and gratitude for all she has done.
Guess what. The Bible teaches us that there are gifts you can give your mom and dad, not just one day a year, but throughout the lifetime. They are priceless gifts that are necessary in the Christian family and should be given each day.
First of all, the Bible says that the gift we should give our parents everyday is honor! One of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your Father and Mother.” No matter what age we are, from nine months to ninety years, we should give our parents honor.
That means that we children are to treat our parents with great respect, in how we act toward them and in the way we speak to them. Do you know that in ancient Israel, if a child cursed his or her mom or dad, he or she was to be stoned to death? (Exodus 21:17) They took God’s law very seriously. The Lord demands that we speak with utmost love and respect to our parents.
Mom and Dad are the instrument through with God gave us life. We are here thanks to them. For this reason alone, I strongly believe that they deserve our love and respect and thanksgiving and we should honor them in how we act toward them and in the way we speak to them.
We can also honor them in the way we live. Whether we want it to be this way or not, the way we live is a reflection upon our parents. So, if we really want to honor our parents, we should live in a way that they will be proud of. We must live an honorable life.
One day, a son told his mom, “Mom, teacher was asking me today, if I have any brothers or sisters who will be coming to school.” “That’s nice of her to take such an interest in you.” Mom replied. And she said, “So what did she say when you told her that you’re the only child, my dear?” He replied, “She just said…“Thank goodness!”
One day, several convicts were in a prison library flipping through a merchandise catalog. On one of the pages there was the picture of a lovely home. One of the prisoners said, “Man, I sure wish I could give my mother a house like that to live in.” Another prisoner pointed to the nice car that was pictured in front of the house and said, “No, I’d rather give my ma a car like that, so she could come to see me once in a while.” Then the two men noticed their friend, Bill, just staring blankly at the magazine, so they asked him to say what he would like to give his mother. After thinking for a few minutes, he looked at them with tears in his eyes and said, in a sorrowful tone, “I wish I could give my mother a more honorable son.” That young man was grieving about the fact that his dishonorable life and actions had dishonored his mother.
A child’s life-style reflects on his parents. “Would my mother be proud of what I am doing? Are my actions honoring her? Would my father be proud of what I am doing? Are my actions honoring him? The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother.” It is the first and greatest gift we all children give to our parents.
Another gift that God says we must give to our parents is obedience. The Bibles says in Ephesians 6:11 and Colossians 3:20, “Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for that is the right thing to do.”
There are times when we think that our mother and father know absolutely nothing about the way life is in the twenty first century. We are aware that there are many times we think we know what is best for us, much more than our mom and dad do. But let me tell you something that may come as a surprise to you. Our mom and dad are much wiser than we are. They have a wisdom that can only be gained through years of living.
A mother is trying to get her son to eat carrots. “Carrots are good for your eyes,” she says. “How do you know?” the boy asks. The mother replies, “Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?”
Here is a light hearted presentation of what we all think about our moms and dads, at different points of our lives. Don’t get surprised because we all have the same tendency towards our parents
4 Years Of Age – My Mommy and Danny can do anything;
8 Years Of Age – My Mom and Dad know a lot! A whole lot
12 Years Of Age -My Mother and Father don’t really know quite everything.
14 Years Of Age -Naturally, Mother and Father don’t know that, either
16 Years Of Age -Mother? Father? They are hopelessly old-fashioned
18 Years Of Age -That old woman? That old man? They are way out of date
25 Years Of Age -Well, they might know a little bit about it
35 Years Of Age -Before we decide, let’s get Mom and Dad‘s opinion
45 Years Of Age -Wonder what Mom and Dad would have thought about it
65 Years Of Age -Wish, I could talk it over with Mom and Dad
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
The Bible says that parents do have gifts to give to their children. Verses 3 and 4 read, “And, parents, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” “Parents, do not provoke your children to wrath.”
What does that mean? Well, again, listen to what Paul says in Colossians 3:21 “Parents, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Parents can either beat their children down or they can build their children up. They can either discourage them or they can encourage them.
Jay Kesler, in his book, Ten Mistakes Parents Make with Teenagers, gives us, I think, an exhaustive list of how, if we’re not careful, we can aggravate, frustrate, and provoke our children:
Mistake # 1 – Failure to be a consistent model. “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Mistake # 2 – Failure to admit when you are wrong. “I’m the adult, I am right.”
Mistake # 3 – Failure to give honest answers to honest questions. “Because I said so, that’s why.”
Mistake # 4 – Failure to let your teenager develop a personal identity. “You want to be what?”
Mistake # 5 – Failure to major on the majors, and minor on the minors. “This room is a pigsty!”
Mistake # 6 – Failure to communicate approval and acceptance. “Can’t you do anything right?”
Mistake # 7 – Failure to approve your teenagers friends without making any attempt to get to know them. “Where did you find him?”
Mistake # 8 – Failure to give your teenager the right to fail. “You did what?”
Mistake # 9 – Failure to discuss the uncomfortable. “Can we talk about something else?”
Mistake # 10 – Failure to take time. “I’m kind of busy right now. Could you come back later?”
There is an Aesop’s fable in which the wind and sun argued over who was the stronger. The wind said, “Do you see that old man down there? I can make him take his coat off quicker than you can.” The sun agreed to go behind the cloud while the wind blew up a storm.
However, the harder the wind blew, the firmer the old man wrapped his coat around him. Eventually, the wind gave up and the sun came out from behind the cloud and smiled kindly upon the old man. Before long, the old man mopped his brow, pulled off his coat and strolled on his way.
The sun knew the secret: warmth, friendliness, and a gentle touch are always stronger than force and fury. We can be wind to our children or we can be a sun. The sun will work better.
One more gift to your children is here. That is, Paul says, “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” What does it mean? It means to help them know God and love God and follow God and obey God. It means to make sure they should be part of the Body of Christ Jesus, the church family, where they learn and grow to love God and love their neighbors.
Next Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, we will baptize three babies. As I prepare the sacrament of baptism with their parents, I stress the important role of parents to them. They have an awesome and important responsibility to help their children make the best decision they can ever make. That is, commit their life to Jesus Christ. That is the most precious gift parents can give their children, along with the church.
This morning I found this today’s devotional in the upper room. Gregory Weeks in Missouri wrote: My mother died a few days after my fourth birthday. The only knowledge I have of her comes from stories my family tells.
When I was a teenager, my dad handed me an envelope. Inside was a letter Mother had written to me before she passed away. I read her handwritten note: “I want to tell you how very much I love you and how I wanted and waited for you. You probably won’t remember too much about me as the years go by, but I want you to grow into a fine young man, to be always mindful of God, and to ask for God’s direction. Remember your mother loved you with all her heart and will always be with you in spirit.”
What gifts are you giving to your children?
What gifts are you going to give your mom and dad today?