Summary: A Mother’s Day sermon.
A man came home from work to find his house in chaos. His children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud. Inside the house, a lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was wadded against a wall, and the living room was littered with toys and clothing. Dishes filled the kitchen sink, cereal was spilled on the counter, and a broken glass lay under the table. The man went up the stairs, stepping over toys and piles of clothes, looking for his wife. She was still in bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. “Never mind my day,” he said, “What happened here today?” She answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world I did today? Well today I didn’t do it.”
Today is that wonderful Sunday we call Mother’s Day, a day when we celebrate our moms and the priceless role they play in family and society. Moms, it’s not my intention today to add to your struggles as a mom, because many of you already feel overwhelmed. It’s never been harder to be a parent. But because parenting is so crucial and because God has called us to certain things as moms and dads, I do want to share some truth from Scripture about raising children. Though this is Mother’s Day, my message is specifically targeted to all parents; and in addition, I believe God has a word for all of us here this morning, whether we’re parents or not. In Psalm 78, the Lord gives us four principles for parenting with purpose.
Psalm 78:1-8, especially verse 4
“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Psalm 78:4).
Some of you mothers might be relieved that I’m not preaching on Proverbs 31. In that chapter, we read of a woman who might be described by some as “Super Woman” or “Super Mom.” Her husband says, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all” (v. 29). In other words, she is Number One; no one else measures up to her. So, moms, you should strive to be like her, but you also need to be realistic. You’re not perfect. It’s sort of like our goal to live like Christ lived. We know that in this life, that’s an impossible goal. But, still, we are to pursue Christ-likeness. The woman in Proverbs 31 is not meant to intimidate or discourage but to inspire. She is a model, an example, a goal.
1. We must teach our children God’s greatness (vv. 1-4).
How does the psalmist communicate to us in these verses? He first gets our attention: “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth” (v. 1). In modern terminology, he is shouting, “Don’t touch that dial! Pay attention! This is important stuff!”
This psalm recounts the amazing history of the nation of Israel. The people were responsible to pass on to the next generation what God had done for them in the past.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD’” (Ex. 10:2).
• “The praiseworthy deeds of the LORD.” We are to tell our children about the awesome things God has done;
• “His power.” We are to remind our children that God is above all other powers. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
• “The wonders he has done.” We are to teach our children that our God is a God of miracles!
It’s our responsibility to teach our children, our grandchildren, and our spiritual children God’s greatness. “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works” (Ps. 145:3-5).
2. We must teach our children God’s Word (vv. 5-6).
In the maze of moral confusion, God’s Word is able to guide us. Notice the multi-generational aspect of these verses: forefathers, their children, the children yet to be born, and their children. The psalmist is talking about four generations!
Grandparents, your spiritual assignment is not over when your children are grown. You are to influence your grandchildren spiritually as well! Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Of course, you need to be careful how you attempt to influence your grandchildren. Many grandparents are guilty of being too critical or interfering.