Summary: Mother’s Day Message focusing on lessons learned from my mother through her sacrifices.
Mother’s Day 2009: A Mother’s Love
This morning after I have delivered this message, we will take time for those of you who would like, to come up and share with the congregation something you learned from your mothers. For those of you who do not know, I was a “momma’s boy” for my whole life and I learned a lot from her. I learned things like how to get your own switch – one she would approve of - so she could whip you with it; I learned while getting the whipping about all the things I did leading up to it – she would tell me with each stoke of the switch; I learned not to bring home a bad report card or if I did, don’t bother with the excuses; and I learned what it meant when she called me by my one of my other sibling’s names because she was so flustered. Most of you have similar learning from your mother, but my message today is about a mother’s love which I think is different from most other types of love.
In Second Corinthians the twelfth chapter, we find a story of Paul complaining about his thorn in the flesh. There is some disagreement about what his thorn was, but this morning I just want to use this story to paint a picture for you for Mother’s Day. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the following is recorded: ”Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelation, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from exalting myself. Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” When you consider Jesus’ response to Paul request to have the thorn removed from him, Jesus told him that His grace was sufficient and that His power was perfected in our weakness. As you think on this story, I want you to consider the thorns that a good mother must deal with in order to be a good mother.
Twenty-three years ago today, on May 10, 1986, my mother died of a heart attack at the age of 48. Her heart had been damaged when contracted rheumatic fever as a small child. It was a Saturday morning around 6:00 a.m. when my brother called me to tell me they were rushing her to the hospital. I immediately got in the car to make the six hour drive home to be with her. I made the drive in less than five hours yet I was still too late. As I entered our neighborhood and turned on our street, I saw all of the cars lined up in front of my home and I knew she was gone. You see, where I come from people would gather at your home immediately when there was a death in the family so they could help you during the most difficult time you were facing. As I told you earlier, I was (and still am) a “momma’s boy” and on that Saturday morning I lost the one person that had greatly shaped the man that I was back then and continue to grow into today.
Now I will be the first to tell you that I am a little awkward in relationships. It takes me a while to give my trust, but once you have it, you got it. If you know me, unless I am extremely comfortable with you, it takes me some time to get comfortable enough to carry on small talk as that is not something I am particularly good at. I am not the best at expressing my frustration, anger, forgiveness, happiness, etc. I tend to keep my emotions pretty much in check so the few times you may have witnessed me being emotional was probably a shock for some of you. But I was not like this with my mother and when she died I felt I had lost the one person who fully understood me. But what was it that made this relationship so special? It was not because she had given birth to me. It was not because she had spent a lot of time with me. It had to have been something more. As I was driving home on that day 23 years ago, I realize what made it special. What made my relationship with her so special in my mind was her love – her mother’s love. My message this morning is a reflection of what I discovered during the five hours that I traveled home alone praying that I would be there in time and thinking about my relationship with her.