Summary: A Mother’s Day sermon that reinforces the value of a mother in a child’s life. An ounce of mother is worth a pound of preacher.
2 Kings 4:17-20 -- “17 And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.” “18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.” “19 And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.” “20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.”
The year was 1820 and Peter Richley was a grateful man. He had survived one of the strangest and most harrowing events known to mankind. The ship which he had been traveling on sank. He was rescued. By some strange twist of circumstance, however, this ship sank.
He was rescued again. But, this third ship sank likewise. He was rescued for a third time. Yet, his fourth ship of passage soon sank. And unbelievably, he was rescued for a fourth time, but this fifth ship sank as well.
It would have been laughable had it not been so serious. On the high seas, however, he floated with the serene confidence that somehow God did not want him to die. And sure enough, as if on cue, another ship came by and answered his call for help.
This ocean liner, The City of Leeds, was named after it’s British city of orgin. It was bound from England to Australia and traveled the same sea lane as Peter Richley’s downed ships. The crew of The City of Leeds hoisted Peter aboard. Dry clothing was provided to Peter. The ship’s doctor gave him a cursory exam, pronounced him fit, and then asked an unusual favor.
“There’s a lady on board who booked passage to Australia,” the doctor explained. “She’s looking for her son who disappeared years ago. She’s dying and she’s asking to see her son. She knows everybody on board and since you’re the only newcomer, would you pretend to be her son?”
Peter agreed. After all, his life had now been saved for the fifth time. He followed the doctor below deck and entered into a cabin. There on a small bed lay a frail woman with silvered-hair. She was obviously suffering from a very high fever. Deliriously, she was crying out. “Please God. Let me see my son before I die. I must see my son!”
The ship’s doctor gently pushed the young man toward the bed. Soon, however, Peter Richley began sobbing. For lying there on that bed was the reason that he couldn’t seem to die. Here was the lifeline that had kept him from drowning five times. For lying on that bed was none other than Sarah Richley—who had prayed for ten years to reconciled to her son, Peter.
The ship’s doctor stood in amazement as the young man fell down by the bed and embraced the sick woman. “I’m here mom! I’m here. It’s me!” Within days the fever had subsided and his mother awakened to find an answered prayer seated on the edge of her bed.
(This story was told by western writer Louis L’Amour in an interview he gave. This story bears out the saying, “truth is stranger than fiction.” In researching the Louis L’Amour website there were additional references that bear out this story to be a true story.)