Summary: Even though we aren’t perfect, there is something about a mother’s love that points us toward God’s own perfect love.
Mother’s Day 2009
The Perfect Mother
May 10, 2009
There were three young children who loved to get up early and watch out the window for the garbage truck. They took great delight in watching the waste hauler empty the can, then work the lever that caused the truck to compact the trash.
On the morning of Mom’s thirty-fifth birthday, the husband said to the children with a smile, "Kids, do you know what makes today so special?"
The five-year-old rushed past Mom’s outstretched arms to the window and replied, "It’s garbage day!"
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. While we celebrate mothers, we also remember that this day can be rather painful for people if you have lost a mother or even lost a child. Just remember that the Lord is here and we are here for you today. I hope that you might be able to celebrate the celebrations of others even while you may be grieving your own losses.
In that vein, let’s look at a passage of a mother in Matthew 15:21-28
From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, "Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit." Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, "Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy." Jesus refused, telling them, "I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel." Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. "Master, help me." He said, "It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs." She was quick: "You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table." Jesus gave in. "Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!" Right then her daughter became well.
Even though I’ve entitled this message, The Perfect Mother, I will admit up front that this is a little misleading. Because basically, none of us are perfect. No one except Jesus has been able to live without transgressing someone and transgressing God. I’m sorry but there is no mother in the bible that is perfect. Eve was great for a little while but that ended pretty quickly. Mary, mother of Jesus, was a phenomenal woman who was favored by God and exceptionally blessed but I do not believe she was perfect.
But I do see in this story, a woman who shows us something that is perfect about mothers (at least should be). This woman shows a glimpse into not just mother’s but what it takes to follow Jesus. We might not be perfect. We might not follow Jesus perfectly but surely we can see moments in which the perfection of God’s love manifests itself in our lives. I see this unnamed Canaanite woman.
So if you seek to follow the ways of Jesus and want to know more about and perhaps get a glimpse into how to become the perfect mother or perfect father or perfect whatever, there are several things to point out.
The Almost, Not Quite, Well… Not Really that Perfect Mother
• No one is perfect
As I already mentioned, the first thing we need to remember is that no one is perfect. This is the irony the less perfect that we think that we are, in some strange way we may be a little more toward perfection than if we thought that we are all that. This is often called humility. It is not thinking of yourself more highly than your not.
I see this woman displaying that here. She knew that she wasn’t Jewish and therefore didn’t measure up to the usual cultural standards. Yet, she wasn’t about to let that hold her back and she refused to accept that the usual cultural standard applied in this case. Why? Because her daughter was very sick and was being tormented by a demon.
I love how the message puts what the disciples said, “She is driving us crazy.” Indeed no one is perfect. Not one of us has got it altogether—no matter how much we hide it from others. No one has all the answers but this woman knew where she had to turn to get the answers that she needed. She was desperate so she turned to Jesus and literally begged him to help her daughter. She seemed willing to do anything to help her daughter. And that leads us to a second thought:
• God has answers
The perfect mother and even not-so-perfect mother knows who to turn to. This woman knew that she needed help. She knew that she couldn’t do it alone so she turned to God. She sought out Jesus. Who do you turn to when you need help?