“LADIES, YOU’RE INCREDIBLE!” Prov. 31:10-31
INTRO – Met “Hope” in parking lot of McD’s on National Day of Prayer this past Thursday. Headed to McD’s to go to bathroom during the service. She asked me, “What’s going on over there? Y’all having church?” I said, “Yes, it’s the National Day of Prayer service.” “Well, I sure do need some prayer.” Stopped & asked her how I could pray for her. Told me about her $ problems, working multiple jobs, struggling right now. Asked her name. When she said, “Hope,” I looked her in the eyes & said, “There’s your answer.” Asked her if she knew Jesus, she assured me she did. “Then you have everything you need b/c you have the hope of Christ in you.” Prayed for her.
Ladies, there is hope for YOU, too! If you’re a mom here today, there is hope for you as you strive to be the mom that God has called you to be.
- If you feel that you’re failing in your job as a mother, there is hope.
- If you are struggling in some way, there is hope.
- If you’re kids are rebelling, there is hope.
- If you’re not a mom, but wish you could be, there is hope.
- If you’re a single mom, there is hope.
- If your relationship w/ your mom is strained or broken, there is hope.
- If you’ve lost your mom, there is hope.
- If you’ve never been saved, there is hope.
- For ALL of us here today – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, young, & old – there is hope b/c of Jesus!
Mother’s Day is a day set aside to honor moms for all they do. There’s no doubt that there are many of us here today who have been blessed immeasurably by Godly mothers who impacted our lives in incredible ways. John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist Church, said, “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.”
But, we also recognize that this day can be a difficult day for many people, & many women in particular. So before I move into the body of the sermon, let me just speak to some of the reasons this day may be hard. A woman once wrote a letter entitled, “An open letter to pastors (a non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day).” In it, she shared these thoughts about Mother’s Day:
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heartache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve AND rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
I originally named this sermon, “Mom, You’re Incredible,” after a book I bought for Vicki for Mother’s Day back in 1995. We were living in B’haven at that time. Reese was 7 & Rachel was 5, & they both signed it in their childlike handwriting. But I decided to name the sermon, “LADIES, You’re Incredible,” b/c, on this Mother’s Day, we want to encourage ALL of the women of our church. You have such an important place in the ministry of the Gospel here. Your unique gifts & talents help us continue w/ our mission of “Developing Devoted Disciples of All Nations.” Ladies, you ARE incredible, & I want to talk about 4 incredible traits that you have, or that you CAN have as you grow in your walk w/ Christ to become a Godly woman of excellence.
YOUR INCREDIBLE WORTH – v. 10-11 – Most of you know that we’ve been in a series of messages called, “Money, Money, Money!” The worth I’m talking about here is not the monetary worth of a Godly woman, though I don’t think there’s enough money in the world that would equal the value of the life & impact of a Godly woman. I’m talking about your spiritual worth as a Godly woman.
We don’t really know anything about King Lemuel (v. 1). All we do know is that this chapter contains the important truths that his mom gave to him. Think about the worth of HER impact:
- She impacted his life thousands of years ago
- Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King Lemuel wrote down the truths that she taught him.
- And, now, on Mother’s Day 2016, you & I are being impacted by the valuable impact this unknown king’s mom made on his life.
There’s no way you can place a monetary value on that!
Ladies, please understand how valuable you us, to your family, to the Church, & to the ministry of Christ in the world! As King Lemuel said, you are worth “far more than rubies.” The Hebrew word for “wife” here can be translated, “woman” or “female.” So, these truths are not reserved solely for those women who are married. Every woman here needs to understand & be encouraged b/c your worth is so valuable!
YOUR INCREDIBLE WORK – v. 12-25 – There is no doubt that this world would be in a terrible condition if it weren’t for hard-working women &, specifically, mothers. Listen to these statements about some of the incredible things that you do:
- They have the ability to super clean the house when someone calls and says that they’ll be dropping over in five minutes. They know exactly where an empty box is to quickly dump things in, which room to put it in, can vacuum and clean at once while putting their hair up, and can start the coffee. Can you imagine if that superpower could only be harnessed and used at anytime? Wait. We kind of already do.
- Will listen to the always overly descriptive dramalike he took my baseball cards or she has more ice cream or it’s not fair that she’s sitting in that seator I can’t go to school today because I don’t have the cool shoes or insert anything that kids love to argue about and then will apply more wisdom in Solomon in deciding the solution. And sometimes the solution means simply deciding to let them battle it out.
- Drive here and there and everywhere and back to here and there and everywhere again. And again. And again. Thank goodness for Starbucks and Pandora.
- Can erase bad dreams at night. Often it involves waking up completely, holding children, tucking them in again, moving them to her own place of sleep knowing very well that at that moment on her sleep will no longer be real sleep but will rather be a martial art exercise in avoiding feet and hands from smacking her in the face as the child who had the bad dream now slumber peacefully while rotating.
- Will cook meals. Will slave over meals. Will invent meals. Will make the best meal ever only to be met with I don’t like this and then the next night when it is boxed macaroni and cheese she’ll hear that this is the best meal ever. Just let it go. I suppose when you’re five macaroni and cheese with dried powder is the best meal ever.
- They are skilled negotiators and can make negotiating not feel like bribery. Even though, shhhh. . . sometimes it just might be. There are times when “If you go to bed and fall asleep in the next ten minutes I will give you a dollar” is perfectly acceptable. Grace, moms, grace.
- The are the Orkin Pest Control person disguised as a mom. Creepy crawly things? Scream for mom. Things moving in the house that shouldn’t be? Get mom. It doesn’t matter that you use an entire wad of paper towels – enough to wipe up the largest spill – to dispose of that spider. The fact is – you did it. You are bugs in your home worst nightmare.
- They can open things. Like these fruit cup things that are filled with juice to the top. Or doors while they’re juggling a toddler on their hip while holding four bags of groceries and a grande caramel macchiato. Or cans when the can opener is broken. If it’s stuck a mom can open it.
- Stay up late. No matter what.For the times when the teenager is out or the middle schooler needs to be picked up or when there is the crazy sleepover at her house and she’s uttered lights out a dozen times but still hears the giggles. (And then, moms are cool, they just let the girls giggle because they know that’s part of the whole sleep over thing.) Moms give up sleep. For 18 years a child.
- They hide chocolate. No more words needed. Just know this is a brilliant survival tactic.
When we look at these verses in Prov. 31, we see the incredible work that a Godly woman does. She’s a busy woman, serving & working hard for the glory of God in her family, in business dealings, in supporting her husband, if she’s married.
- Strong hands – She’s not just good at doing all that she does; she finds great joy in doing it.
- Servant’s heart – With Jesus Christ as the perfect Model of a servant, she ministers the love of Christ to those around her:
- Her husband – v. 12
- Her children, her friends, & her coworkers – v. 15, 17, 21
- Sensitive spirit – v. 20 – “She opens her arms to the poor & extends her hands to the needy.”
- Smart decisions – v. 16, 18
YOUR INCREDIBLE WISDOM – v. 26-27 – Closely related to the incredible work that you do is the incredible wisdom you show as you face & deal w/ whatever the world throws at you. It’s not enough just to be an industrious, hard-working woman. There are lots of those in every arena of life. The greatest strength that a Godly woman has is the wisdom of God. That trait drives every other area of a Godly woman’s life. God will give His wisdom to anyone who asks Him for it, man or woman. James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God & He will give it to you. He will not rebuke your for asking” (NLT).
Interesting to note that when I looked up the Hebrew word for “wisdom,” one of the definitions I found said, “skill in war.”
YOUR INCREDIBLE WEALTH – v. 28-31 – Not talking about your financial wealth. Talking about how valuable you are to all those who are in the your life, & the wealth that you bring to THEM!
- Your children – v. 28a
- Your husband – v. 28b-29
- All those who are impacted by your Godly influence in the world – your friends, coworkers, your Church FAMILY! – v. 30-31 – You deserve to be honored & praised for all you do. And a truly incredible Godly woman knows to turn that honor & praise right back to the One who it truly worthy – your Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ!
As a strong, Godly, incredible woman of excellence, you have the potential & power to enrich the lives of so many people! You can impact generations to come by living a life that is totally sold out & committed to the Lord Jesus! Our lives are so much richer when you do that. Your family is so much richer! Your marriage or future marriage is so much richer! Our church is so much wealthier spiritually when you are walking w/ the Lord like that! The wealth that YOU bring to our lives & to our world is so incredible when YOU are living a life that lets the light of Christ shine brightly. Look at v. 30 again – “Charm is deceptive, & beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised.”