Summary: When common sense fails, God enters with his commandment "Respect your mother."
May 8, 2005
Leviticus 19:1-3 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ’Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. 3 "’Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
Holy Children Love Their Mothers
I. Our Father demands that we honor our mothers
II. Holy children see God’s hand in motherhood
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer (cf. Psalm 19:14). Amen.
Mother’s Day is a day celebrating common sense! It is common sense to set aside time and effort to honor our mothers. It is common sense to look up to heaven and thank God for the precious gift that mothers are. It is common sense to return to our mothers the love that they have so willingly given to us.
But then again, maybe Mother’s Day shows that we have lost our common sense. Why do we need a special day to honor our mothers? Isn’t that something that children, who are at home, should do every single day? Isn’t that something that children who are away from home, should do on a regular basis? Did the holiday come into being, because we tend to forget our mothers? How many of us, in spite of having a national holiday, and notes on our calendars, and advertisements reminding us, arrived at this day and realized, “Oh, it’s Mother’s Day. I suppose I should call my mom tonight.”? Mother’s Day wouldn’t be a ‘stealth’ holiday, that sneaks up on us every second Sunday in May, if our mothers were closer to our hearts.
I firmly believe that heart failure is the most common cause of the death of common sense. When our hearts fail to love and remember with gratitude what we have received, common sense chokes on our selfish self-centered, self-indulging lifestyle. That’s why God gave us the Ten Commandments. They re-ignite our common sense. If you want to live in peace, love your neighbor. If you were created by God, you should thank him and love him. Because we often forget the common sense that God gave us, the Lord had to write it down again through Moses. We have an example before us today: “Each of you must respect his mother and father” (Leviticus 19:1-3).
You would think that God wouldn’t have to tell you that. To further emphasize its importance note where God places this commandment. It follows the first three commandments, which tell us how to honor and worship the Divine Majesty. And it is the first of the seven Commandments, which deal with how we are to treat the other people of the world around us. Look where God places it in our text today: “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. 3 Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths.” It stands right between God’s commandment to be holy and to worship God regularly. If we want to please God, who is perfect and holy, and worship him even outside of our Sunday worship, we do so, when we honor and love our mothers.
Sadly, God must command such things, because we have lost our common sense. Luther chided the monks of his day, because they sought to do the greatest and most lovely works, to worship God in such a way that God would find them pleasing, and would allow them to enter heaven based on the merits of all the good things they did. Yet in their vows of dedication to God, they also renounced their family ties! Against all those monks, who tried to think of the best ways to serve God, stood this one command: “Honor your father and mother.” Luther said, “Where will these poor wretches hide when in the sight of God and all the world they shall blush with shame before a young child who has lived according to this commandment. ” You could feed hundreds of the poor and give shelter to thousands of homeless, but if you despise your mother, you are despising God. A little child handing her mother a freshly picked dandelion has outdone you.
If loving our mothers is such a high and wonderful command, that man in all his genius, could not think of a better way to serve and honor God, then the opposite must be true. To disobey this command, to neglect our parents, to roll our eyes when they tell us to do something, to complain about our mothers behind their backs – could there be anything uglier in all creation. Just as God ranks this commandment among his commands to worship him and to be holy, it is just as vile and loathsome to disrespect our mothers, as it is to shake our fist at God, to threaten him and say, “You’re worthless! You do nothing for me. Go harass others with your demands of worship and honor. I have my own life to live!”