Summary: In God’s house, all receive blessings from the Lord’s Table.
"Not Without My Child" -Mark 7:24-30
-Pastor A. L. Torrence,
Cross of Life Lutheran Church
I want you to turn to the person next to you and tell them, “Neighbor! Oh neighbor! I don’t know about you but I made up my mind that Satan and his kingdom, cannot and will not take my child.”
The Oscar winning actress, Sally Field, once starred in a movie entitled, “Not Without My Daughter” which is the real life story of a woman named Betty Mahmoody. She was an American woman who went to the Middle East with her daughter and native-born husband. It was intended to be just a vacation where her husband visits his family living in the political climate of Iran. But Betty discovers that her husband never intend to bring his family back to America. Now, she becomes a stranger in a foreign land forced to live in a society were women are subservient, abused, and oppressed. Her husband and the government tell her that she may return to the United States; however, her daughter must stay behind. Without hesitation, Betty decides she will not leave without her daughter even if it means her death. She is willing to break down cultural barriers and face humiliation for in order to get her child back home to safety.
In our text, we see another woman, seeking to get her child back to safety. She is stranger in a foreign land seeking help from the Lord. While Jesus sought rest from his labors, this woman sought rest from her troubles. She is tired frustrated parent desperately in need of some help. And in her struggles are some precious gems of wisdom that can help us save our children from grip of the enemy.
First, we learn that this woman is willing to go some extra distance to save her child. Mark tells us that she is a Syro-pheonician, a Greek. She was from Tyre, a small island off the coast of Sidon. Matthew calls her a Canaanite, a descendant of Canaan. Both writers are trying to point out that culturally, racially, and socially, she is different. Her situation is different from other families in her community. There may not be father figure in the home. She may not be part of the American workforce- she may be receiving some form of governmental assistance. Her situation is different. To the Jews, she was regarded a pagan, a heathen. And this woman knew of the long-standing hatred between her people and the Jews. But prejudice and racism did not hinder her from seeking help from her enemies. When you house is burning you don’t care who helps you put out the fire. She knew that when she came into the presence of Jesus, the saints would roll their eyes and talk about her. Oh come on, some of you know what’s it is like to go to ‘parents night’ and hear folks murmuring – that’s John Doe’s mother. Some of you know that your telephone number is no longer in the parent’s directory but it is now on list of emergency numbers. This woman had a problem going on in her home. Her child was out of control. She was in crisis. And obviously, for her to seek help outside of her culture, race, and possibly her religion shows that she was desperately seeking a solution. You see this woman realized that in order to save her child she had re-arrange her schedule, re-organize her priorities. Whether she wanted to or not, she had to take a day off from work and seek out Jesus. She had to go some extra distance to get some help from. God. You see many of us want help from the Lord but we are not willing to go out of our way to get that help. We are not willing to make time or take time for Jesus. This woman, in our text, need some help with her parenting skills, so if she had to leave work early to make a session with the Lord, she did it. If she had to cancel her only night out with the girls, she did so. If she had to lose a few dollars at work that would have paid the mortgage or rent, she did it, because she came to conclusion, it does not make sense having a house that is really not a home. No she was a desperate mother now seeking Jesus.
In today’s society, there are many like this woman still seeking out Jesus. There is a great spiritual thirst in the land. More people are seeking after the true God than before. And it matters not to them what the sign says out front – they just want Jesus. They are seekers after Christ. They are willing to go anywhere and do anything to get a blessing from Jesus. They are no longer driven by the aesthetic beauty of buildings. They are not hindered by denomination. They are not threatened by dogma and doctrine. They don’t care whether the preacher has a whoop or the choir has sway. Seekers just want to be in the presence of Christ. Seekers want to see the manifestation of Jesus in their lives. They are looking for answers and not entertainment. They want to know how to deal with their addictions and habits. They want to know how to mend their broken homes and raise that difficult child. Seekers just want to lay down their heavy burdens and find a sweet relief.