Summary: Mother’s Day Sermon - Part 3 in a series on the Life of David
Insights from the Life of David – Part 3:
“Grandma’s Legacy: The Story of Ruth”
This week I heard some fascinating statistics on motherhood. In modern history the oldest mother on record was 69 years old when she gave birth to a child in April of last year. The youngest mother ever recorded was 5 years and 7 months. The mother with the most children was a woman who lived in eighteenth century Russia who between the years of 1725-1765 had 69 children! That’s right - 69!
Did you know that by the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work? In fact, women who never have children enjoy the equivalent of an extra three months a year in leisure time!
A Junior High science teacher lectured on the properties of magnets for an entire class. The next day he gave his students a quiz. The first question read like this: “My name begins with an “M,” has six letters, and I pick things up. What am I?” Half the kids in the class wrote, “Mother.”
That reminds me of the father who was trying to explain the concept of marriage to his 4-year-old daughter. He got out their wedding album, thinking visual images would help, and explained the entire wedding service to her. When he was finished, he asked if she had any questions. She pointed to a picture of the wedding party and asked, “Daddy, is that when mommy came to work for us?
It’s on this day that we celebrate our mothers and recognize what they’ve given to make us who we are. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Men are what their mothers make them” and an old Spanish proverb says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”
It’s on this day that we spend time with our moms who are here and remember those who are not. So before we begin our study of our scripture lesson this morning I think it’s important that we stop and say “thank you” to our moms. If you’re a mom will you stand. Let’s show them how much we love them…
While today is a joyous celebration there are many for who today is a difficult time. Some of you want or wanted to be a mother but for some reason have never been able to be. Some of you have not had the best mother in the world. Some of you have had a mother who has died. Some of you are mothers who have lost children to death. Some of you mothers are feeling the pain of a wayward child this morning. Please know that if today is not a joyous mother’s day for you, our hearts go out to you. May God comfort you.
As I spent time planning this year’s sermons back in January I realized that Mother’s Day would fall right smack in the middle of this series on “Insights from the Life of David” and I wondered how I could ever cover both topics at once. Then something hit me: David did not become the man he was without a strong upbringing. So, we can assume that David must have had a good mother in order for him to turn out as well as he did. But we’re not told about her. And so I started to trace his family tree and discovered that his great-grandmother was Ruth, the name sake of the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. You probably haven’t heard her story before. I’ve never preached out of this particular book. And while it’s only four chapters long we don’t have time to read the entire book. So let me summarize the story for you.
Ruth was set in a time before there was a King and when the judges ruled in Israel. This was a very dark time for the country as everyone did what they wanted to do and sin was rampant because God’s people had hardened their hearts. We read in verse 1 that because there was a bad famine in Bethlehem, a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi took their two sons to live in the country of Moab, a land of rich soil that was not overcome by a famine. But, Moab was an eternal enemy of Israel. It’s not going too far to say it’s a bit like Israel and the PLO today. The people of Israel had been instructed in the book of Deuteronomy never to enter into a treaty of friendship with these people. But Elimelech disregarded God’s law and went anyway.
During their stay in Moab, Naomi’s husband Elimelech died and then about ten years later, both of her sons die as well leaving behind their young wives who were from Moab, Orpah and Ruth. So now there are three widows. Now understand that widows in the ancient world had no social status and no economic means to survive. This would especially be true for Naomi, since she was an Israelite living in a foreign country. There was no Social Security system and she had no male protector or provider. In such a situation, widows back then would equate to the homeless in our society today.