The High Calling of Wives and Mothers
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The High Calling of Wives and Mothers

Titus 2:4–5  (ID: 2724)

Looking back on our lives, many of us can quickly recall our mothers’ tremendous impact on us and our homes. While our culture is confused about the great privilege and task of making a home, the investment a mother makes in the lives of her children remains invaluable. Alistair Begg presents a biblical perspective on motherhood, defining the priorities and purpose of mothers who are wholly devoted to God.

Series Containing This Sermon

Parental Priorities

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 21801

Sermon Transcript: Print

Now, let’s read just a section from Titus and chapter 1. We’ll read from verse 10 through to Titus 2:5, and you will quickly see where we’re going in this.

Perhaps just verse 5 to give us a context. Paul writes to Titus, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town.” And then he outlines the importance of leadership in the church. And in verse 10 we pick up his argument:

“For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they[’re] ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and [their] consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Now, Father, we pray for the help of the Holy Spirit so that in turning our attention to the truth of the Bible we might be enabled both to think and to respond in a way that bears testimony to the fact that you conduct a divine dialogue when your Word is preached, so that beyond the voice of a mere man you speak through your Word. And this is our earnest expectation and our humble desire and longing as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

A good number of years have passed since on a Sunday morning that was Mother’s Day, at our other campus, we have actually addressed the issue of Mother’s Day. And I was sort of ripe for Mother’s Day this year because of that. And so, coming to you here, I determined that we would at least pay attention to something that would be in accord with where, in some measure, the mind of the nation has turned.

Yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal, the piece by Peggy Noonan was actually on Jack Kemp. And at one point she quoted one of Jack’s sons—his oldest son, [Jimmy]—saying that it had been said that there would have been no Ronald Reagan had it not been for Jack Kemp. And Peggy Noonan, in writing the article, goes on in the next paragraph to say, “Whether that be true or not, it is true to say that there would be no Jack Kemp were it not for Joanne Main.”[1] And Joanne Main was his wife. And Noonan went on to say what we all know to be true: that behind every good man there is a woman who is fundamental to all that that individual is. And that woman, within the nature of the family, is of far greater significance than our contemporary culture gives her credit for being.

I come to you as someone who lost my mother at the age… I was twenty, my youngest sister was eleven, and our sister in between was fifteen. She died of a massive coronary in our family home on a routine evening, entirely unexpected, and in a moment she was taken from us. All of my life since then, the ensuing almost thirty-seven years now, have been lived without the benefit that some of you continue to enjoy. And many things in life come in twos and threes, but you only have one mother in the whole world. And therefore, it is a matter of some significance that it was America that led the world in acknowledging the unique role of mothers within the home. Many of us, I think, will have assumed that Mother’s Day was invented by Hallmark or by American Greetings, and we might be somewhat cynical in that, but there would be a measure of understanding in such an analysis.

I was intrigued to discover what some of you will know—namely, that it was about eight weeks before the outbreak of the First World War that someone brought before a joint session of Congress the idea of having the second Sunday in May devoted to mothers. The president at that time was Woodrow Wilson, and so it was that the bill was signed and brought into being and, as I say, America led the world in appointing the significance of the mother’s role within the home. Who could have imagined that within less than a hundred years, resolutions would be entertained, laws would be passed, and perspectives would be adopted which now erode the structure of family life and challenge the role of the mother? Here in America, we have, within less than a century, exalted the place of womanhood and motherhood and then begun just as quickly to dismantle it.

It is for this reason that we do well to pay attention to what the Bible has to say. Because you will notice as we read that the purpose of Paul in urging Titus in this way is to ensure ultimately that in these most practical of areas—and Titus is a very practical book, constantly concerned about the importance of doing good and being seen to do good, not as a measure of gaining acceptance with God but as an indication of the fact that these individuals had responded to the grace of God. And one of the testimonies to that was going to be seen in their conduct of life within the culture, and not least of all within the framework of the home. And you do not turn to Titus only to discover that the Bible clearly affirms the place of the family as the foundational unit of society—makes it clear that parents are worthy of the highest honor because they’re parents and that mothers have received a high calling and a sacred duty in being entrusted with these responsibilities.

It is imperative that we turn frequently to consider what the Bible has to say about the privilege and the priorities and the potential of being a mother.

Now, I recognize that every mother that is here and is represented here may not have been thinking this past week about their responsibility and privilege as a mother in terms of “high calling” and “sacred duty.” After all, the daily routines of lunches and laundry, of being a chauffeuse, of offering a food service may not immediately fall within the category of sacred privilege as you think about it. And we bemoan the passing of Erma Bombeck for her ability just to put her finger on things like this in a way that is perfectly understandable. And I quote to you from this fine lady of the past. “It hits on a dull, overcast Monday morning,” she writes.

I awake realizing … [that I am] out of bread, and [I have] a dry skin problem. So I say … aloud to myself, ‘What’s a nice girl like [you] doing in a dump like this?’

The draperies are dirty (and will disintegrate if laundered), the arms of the sofa are coming through. There is Christmas tinsel growing out of the carpet. And some clown has written [GO CAVS] in the dust on [my] coffee table ….

It’s [these] rotten kids. It’s their fault I wake up feeling [this way]. If only they’d let me wake up in my own way. Why do they have to line up along my bed and stare at me like Moby Dick just washed up [on] a beach somewhere?[2]

Well, if there’s any testimony that is representative of that that is true, then it is imperative—it is imperative—that we turn frequently to consider what the Bible has to say about the privilege and the priorities and the potential of being a mother. Those are my three points: first, the privilege; second, the priorities; and thirdly, the potential, or, if you like, the purpose.

The Privilege of Motherhood

It is a privilege that is to be exercised first of all, we acknowledge, in the face of a confused culture. In the face of a confused culture. It is surprising how quickly time goes by and how it is etched into the consciousness of a nation ideas that we thought were phenomenally funny or at least interesting from a sociological perspective fifteen and twenty years ago. Do you remember the movie Three Men and a Baby? I’m sure you do. You probably remember Mr. Mom. You probably remember Mrs. Doubtfire as well—all of them suggested to us as just harmless forms of humor looking, as it were, at the nature of marriage. But let us not be so naive: those were very clear expressions of a worldview that runs absolutely counter to all that the Bible has to say—a worldview that challenged and undermined the unique place of motherhood; a view of the world that suggested, at least by implication, that the role of a mother has little, if anything, to do with gender.

I don’t think it would be possible for us to be observing at this point at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century such a cataclysmic collapse in relationship to the nature of marriage as given to us by our Creator were it not for the pseudo-humorous softening-up process of the previous decade and a half. First, we have been made to think that this was funny and humorous and largely marginal and irrelevant. And then, suddenly, once the door of opportunity has opened, a gigantic steam engine comes pounding through, and we discover that marriage itself and the place of a mother is completely under attack. The fact that a mother’s body is the producer of not only the child but the necessary nourishment for the child is viewed as an evolutionary happenstance and is definitely not regarded as the infinite work of a personal Creator.

We stand at this point in history with two views of the world in collision with one another. One: that substance, mass, energy existed in and of themselves through a chance process; they eventually produced stuff, they eventually produced humanity, and humanity then invented God. That view stands in direct opposition to what the Bible says: in the beginning, God created everything. And having created man and woman in the image of himself, that same creator God established the way in which family life would be created.[3]

This has been challenged and continues to be challenged. And I want to quote to you from the ’70s—and I will move on from culture to the Bible quickly. But this is Jessie Bernard, writing in the ’70s. Some of you weren’t born. And this was what was written in sociological papers under the heading of The Future of Motherhood. It was billed as an ultra-provocative forecast of the psychological, political, social, and economic states of women in the next generation. So in the ’70s she writes, and she says, “This is provocative—I recognize it—but this is where it’s going.” And this is how she writes:

What we see today [’70s] is the tail end of a comet, the tail of a model of motherhood that began to disintegrate [when] it struck the twentieth century. [4]

Our society is engaged in rewriting the script for the role of women as mothers. This is no side show, no minor concern …. It is the heart of the matter, one of the most momentous projects relevant for the future of our species.[5]

And here we are, thirty years on, and all the chickens are home to roost. And here, loved ones, is what makes it so profoundly disturbing: from the pulpits and pews of too many of our churches there has emerged a growing army of individuals who seek to actually reinforce those godless views by themselves refusing to bow beneath the authoritative and liberating dictates of the Bible. Oh, if you push them, they would say, “No, we are divorced from such a perspective as that.” But by their living they call in question just whether they are prepared to allow the Bible to be their lamp, to be their light, to be their guide, to be their map, to be their authority. And that’s why it’s always important to have one foot, as it were, in the newspaper—whether it is the Akron Beacon Journal or the Cleveland Plain Dealer or the New York Times or the Washington Post or whatever it is that you like to read—to have one foot firmly there and one foot firmly in your Bible, so that you may be able then to read your newspaper in light of your Bible because of what you know concerning biblical truth.

So, let us then notice that if there is cultural confusion, there is biblical clarity. Biblical clarity. The role of a wife and a mother is not left to conjecture. It’s not a matter of personal preference. It is clearly established, and it is unfolded from the very first book of the Bible and all the way through. I can never remember the name of this movie. It involved Cher, and I can only remember one scene. I don’t think I even saw the movie, maybe only the one scene. But she’s in a discussion (and I use the word “discussion” guardedly) with her teenage daughter. It’s not going particularly well. They’re in her bedroom, and she, the mother, is absolutely frustrated. And as they dissolve into an argument and tears with one another, she screams at her teenage daughter, “How am I supposed to know what to do with you? You did not come with instructions!” And that is the cry of secular women today as they look out on the panorama of events and they find themselves completely bereft of any kind of framework or structure.

Well, if we will turn together to the Bible, the Bible makes it perfectly clear. By the time the New Testament was written, by the time Jesus had made his mark on history, by the time the apostles had written their letters, it is clear that the Scriptures, that the gospel, was challenging the tendencies of the Roman Empire and of the Greek philosophical structures, challenging their repressive and their chauvinistic tendencies. The gospel was actually a liberating power in the lives of women, who had been regarded as chattels, who were regarded as things to be used, whose lives, many of them, would make the events of contemporary culture seem pale in comparison. And the verses before us now are in accord with all of the rest of the Bible, because Paul is recognizing the role of mature women, who are able to bring advice and counsel to less mature women.

Now, don’t get hung up on whether you’re an older woman or you’re a younger woman. You are both an older woman and a younger woman. If you’re twenty, you are a younger woman than a thirty-year-old woman, but you are an older woman than a seventeen-year-old girl. So, you are both older and younger. So you play the role both, if you like, of a female Paul to some, and you play the role of a female Timothy to others. But clearly, what Paul has in mind here is the individual, is the woman, who has reached a significant age in life, and as a result of the chronology, life has brought to her experience and sympathy and understanding. And it is that experience and sympathy and understanding, interwoven with a solid knowledge of the Bible, that puts that lady in a position to be a good and a godly influence on younger women, and not least of all in the realm of motherhood.

We have a number of folks who’ve arrived for our conference from Northern India. And E. F. Brown was a missionary to the north of India, and in his day, he was asked what was most needed in the church in India. Do you know what he said? “More grandmothers.” “More grandmothers.” What an interesting response! Because he recognized the role of the mature woman who has lived through the battles, who has the scars to prove it, whose eyes have been softened by the experiences of time, to be able to put her arm around her daughter and her granddaughters and speak to them concerning the vital role they play.

Now, you will notice from the text that this teaching clearly is in the warp and woof of life. There is the instruction that is taking place in a way that is spontaneous and is natural and is unprogrammed. In other words, this is the encouragement that takes place at the baby’s crib rather than in a class. This is the instruction that takes place at a sink rather than in a study. This is the kind of influence that is found in a nursery, not in a seminary. And I want to say that for the encouragement of many, many women who are not ever going to be doing anything in classrooms, standing up front and giving talks; who are not giving instructions within the framework of a seminary or anything else besides. And they may be tempted, you may be tempted to say to yourself, “Well, you know, what can I really do? I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I make sure everybody’s on the bus. They come home in the evening, and I try to have things tidied up and ready to go, but what am I really doing, and what can I really offer to anybody?” I want to tell you: you can offer a tremendous amount. A tremendous amount.

And the influence that such a lady brings to bear upon other women is absolutely vital, leaving the young mother in no doubt that for her, there can be no greater task, responsibility, or privilege in the world than to make a home. No greater task, privilege, or responsibility in the entire world than to make a home. Now, you’re sensible people. Go and read your Bibles, and see whether the clarity of Scripture does not, as I suggest to you, challenge the confusion of our contemporary culture. And if from the pulpits of our churches there is not a solid trumpet sound in relationship to these things, it is no surprise at all if in a subsequent passage of time, another decade out from now, our framework will be a lot more alarming than it presently is.

Who would ever have thought that there would be a number that could be called by our children, a 1-800 number, to call directly into some attorney’s office to let the attorney know that they would need to hire them? This is your seven-year-old boy, who’s been picking his nose and slapping his sister and being a downright disgrace, and you gave him the pow-wow treatment: you powed, and he wowed. And somebody told them, “If you phone 1-800, you can get a lawyer, and you’ll be able to get your father out of the house.” That sounds stupid, doesn’t it? It just sounds inane. It’s where we live.

The Priorities of Motherhood

Well, what are these priorities? I spent too long on that. I always spend too long on the first point. You know that anyway by now. So let’s hasten on. What are the priorities? Well, just four that we can identify right there in the text.

The older women are supposed to “be reverent in the way they live.” There’s to be a decorum about them. They’re not loose. They’re not squandersome. They’re not slanderers. They’re not giving it a lot of chat. You can’t find them in the local wine bar needing a wheelbarrow to take them home. But instead, they are “teach[ing] what is good.” “Teach[ing] what is good.” The word here is both that which is intrinsically good and that which is good and attractive at the same time. An injection is intrinsically good; a nurse who can do it very nicely makes it both kalos and agathos, both intrinsically good and attractive at the same time. And what is being suggested here, taught here, is the fact that when this instruction takes place woman-to-woman, then, one, they will learn “to love their husbands and [their] children.” “Train[ing] the younger women to love their husbands and [their] children.”

Now, elsewhere, the Bible directs husbands to love their wives,[6] and here wives “to love their husbands.” Taught to love. Taught to love. That’s a counterintuitive notion as well. How can you be taught to love? Isn’t love just something that you feel? “I feel it. And therefore, if I feel it, we go with it, and if I don’t feel it, then it doesn’t matter.” No, no, no. We need to be taught how to love. We have to be taught the difference, the huge difference, between the superficial philosophy that is offered at the checkout counter in the local supermarket and the transformational truth which is offered to us in the Bible. If you spend too long there waiting for your groceries, you may actually start to believe some of that stuff. And the people who teach it, of course, are the ones who seem to be involved in a sort of form of serial monogamy, whereby they move from partner to partner to partner all the time.

And it’s a kind of Barry Manilow approach, you know: “Doctor, doctor, can you please help me? I am trying to get the feeling again.”[7] Right? I don’t suppose you listen to him. You shouldn’t listen to him, but he had a song, and I remember I used to think it was such a load of nonsense: “trying to get the feeling again.” Goodness gracious, if most of us operated on the basis of our feelings in relationship to these things, the men would buy Harley-Davidson bicycles and ride off into the sunset, and they would hardly be out the door before their wives had beat them to it and headed off somewhere down south into the sun: “Let’s forget it now, right now!”

No, I need somebody to teach me how to love my wife. I need somebody to teach me how to love my husband and to love my children. And where such instructed love is missing, the gap—the gap—cannot be filled by career. It cannot be filled by your house. It cannot be filled by your looks or your commitment to go to the gym or a host of other useless substitutes. Barnes, in an earlier generation, says, “Mutual love between a husband and wife will diffuse comfort through the obscurest cottage of poverty; the want of it cannot be supplied by all that can be furnished in the palaces of the great.”[8] If this is true, it is never too late for a refresher course in the emotional, physical, mental, spiritual aspects of love.

I played golf yesterday morning with a young man I’d never met. He said, “What advice do you have for a thirty-three-year-old single man like me?” I said, “Get a wife, and get her as fast as you possibly can.” “What should I look for?” I said, “Somebody that is a Christian girl, somebody that is able to take you on, somebody that you would like to wake up beside in the bed. And if you find her, then marry her. It’s fantastic!” He said, “How long have you been married?” I said, “Thirty-four years.” He said, “Well then, I guess you probably know what you’re talking about.” I said, “Well, no, I wouldn’t go that far, but I suggest…”

It is never too late for a refresher course in the emotional, physical, mental, spiritual aspects of love.

Secondly, “to be self-controlled and pure.” What do we need in the mothers of our land? First of all, mothers that are learning “to love their husbands and [their] children,” who are “self-controlled and pure.” That’s required of all Christians, isn’t it? It’s not just unique for mothers or for women. We’re all supposed to be self-controlled and pure. The whole instruction of the Bible, the help of the Holy Spirit pushes us to that conclusion.

I don’t know what Paul has in mind, but when you think in terms of self-control, presumably, it has to do with finances. You’ve got to make sure that your wife is not out of control when it comes to credit cards. Self-control in relationship to the discipline of children. Self-control in relationship to the cleanliness and orderliness of a home, dare I say? Self-control in relationship to the things that a lady might read. Because even that which is allowable is not necessarily helpful. Beware of those silly romance books with that man with the long blond hair and the gigantic chest. Read your Bible far more than you read such things.

Thirdly, “to be busy at home” and “to be kind.” “To be kind,” “busy at home.” Now, this is clearly an emphasis on the unique privilege and prerogative of a mother in relationship to home life. Tremendous amount of ink has been spilled offering explanations as to why this doesn’t mean what it says. I think it means what it says. And husbands have a unique privilege and role to learn how to help and to honor and to affirm our wives so that they can live in the awareness that there can be no greater contribution to their children, to their husband, to society than such selfless activity in relationship to the home.

It’s remarkable, isn’t it, how demeaned it is, how marginalized it all is? I once said this—and I’m about to say it again, and I’ll probably get another letter—but I said, “Why would you want to be a dental hygienist when you can stay home and look after your little ones?” And I got this letter from a dental hygienist saying, “I hope all your teeth fall out.” And I wrote her back, and I said, “Well, I hope they don’t, but I wasn’t targeting you. It just so happened.” And, of course, if it’s demanded because of the nature of finances and other things, every family must work it out. But those years pass so quickly, you’d be better just to have two chairs and no couch and those first five years with your children than an extra bedroom and another half bath and five years that will never be back, squandered by the idol of materialism.

Self-control and kindness. Kindness. Why kindness? Well, because the challenges of the home can squeeze the last vestige of human kindness out of the saintliest mother. You see a mother. She eventually goes to the bath. In fact, I have two books that I’ve kept since our children were tiny. One was called Five Minutes’ Peace, and the other was Five More Minutes’ Peace. And it’s the story of a mother who eventually goes, and she gets herself in the bathroom. It’s the only place she can get away. And then eventually, one of them comes knocking on the bathroom door and comes in. And eventually, the final scene is of the mother, in all her resplendent nudity, sitting in the bath, with all of her children hanging off every piece in the bathroom. And the book ends; she goes, “I guess I just can’t get five minutes’ peace.”[9]

“To be kind.” Yeah, we need God’s help to be kind, don’t we? Your children will not remember you because you read the classics. You should read the classics. They won’t remember you because you graduated from a good university. That’s good to do. They will actually remember you for kindness. For kindness.

And the fourth and final priority is there, isn’t it, in the text? “To be subject to their husbands.” Good, I’ve run out of time; I don’t have to do this one.

It’s not difficult to live as God intends without paying heed to this; it’s actually impossible. Equality in spiritual standing before God as brothers and sisters does not negate God’s creation ordinance concerning the role of a husband and wife within the family. If you’ve ever found yourself totally lost, and then, when you retraced your steps, you came—and perhaps in a rural area—to a signpost and realized that some enterprising seventeen-year-old and his friend had decided it would be a wonderful thing just to spin the pole one-eighty: it still has the right name on the sign, but it only needs a slight deviation to send everybody in the wrong direction. The signposts have been spun in our generation. You can’t tamper with the directions without bringing in confusion and disappointment and discord and heartache.

The Purpose of Motherhood

Finally, you will notice that the purpose that Paul gives to Titus in this is also very clear. That’s the significance of “so that.” “So that.” What is this, just a manual, a self-help book in order that people will be able to be better equipped in the family and so on? No, it’s clearly not that. The purpose of this kind of living, you will see, is “so that no one will malign the word of God.” In other words, when the non-Christian looks on, they may not come here to listen to a sermon preached. They may not come to your evangelistic venture as you come and have a lady in to speak to some women who’ve come for coffee and so on. But they will observe you.

And what the Bible is saying is that the practical effect of such living on the part of wives and mothers will be such that people will have no basis to “malign the word of God.” They will not have reason to say, “Well, I don’t think the Bible is worth looking at.” They won’t have reason to say, “It’s just full of a bunch of bunk.”

They will have occasion to say, “Why are you the way you are? Why do you treat your husband with such respect? Is he the perfect husband?”

“Clearly, no.”

“Then why do you?”

“Because I should.”

“Do you feel like it?”

“Most times no.”

“Then why do you?”

“Because the Bible says.”

Then the person will say, “You seem to pay an awful lot of attention to that Bible.”

And you say, “Yes, I do.”

And they say, “Why is that?”

And you say, “Because God’s Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,[10] and God’s way is perfect—absolutely perfect.”[11]

He hasn’t put anything in the Bible to spoil us. He puts everything there in order to point us to the fact that although, as our songs have said, we’re broken, we’re sinful, we’re turned in upon ourselves, we make ourselves the center of the universe a thousand ways a thousand times a day, and yet here he has given to us, in the person of Jesus, a Savior. That Savior comes, forgives our sins, turns us upside down. And since we were upside down, he’s now turned us the right way up. And now that we’re the right way up, we’re able to see what we couldn’t see before. And we discover that this is a great privilege to be a wife and to be a mother. And there is little doubt, I feel, that one of the greatest apologetics at the present time for distinctive Christianity is to display—not in an ostentatious, pugnacious way—but is to display ironically and humbly the difference that Jesus makes in our hearts and in our homes, so that by our lifestyle we commend the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is very different, moms, from producing perfect kids. You’re not going to do it. Or becoming perfect wives. Or in being perfect mothers. No, what is necessary is just being honest enough to admit our defeats, to acknowledge our struggles, and to bow down before the Lord Jesus and say to him, “Lord Jesus Christ, here I am. My life is short. My days are numbered.” Imagine, some young mothers that are here—do the math now, and imagine that you will only have eleven years with your daughter, as my mother had with her youngest. And ask yourself how well you’ve invested the years so far. And then don’t be depressed by discouragements, but use them to spur you on to say, “I want to devote my life, I want to devote my body, my mind, my talents, the arts and graces that God has given me to seeing my unbelieving children become the followers of Jesus, and then for them to love Jesus more than I could ever love them.”

Think about it. What do you think Jesus would have said on a Mother’s Day? I thought, “Maybe I’ll close with a poem. I could find a nice sentimental poem. Mothers like that, you know?” But then I thought, “No, that’s not the thing to do.” And so I went to my Bible again, and I remembered that in Luke chapter 11, Jesus was speaking, and all of a sudden, a lady called out in the crowd: “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”[12] That’s a nice thing to call out. In other words, she looks at Jesus and she says, “Your mother was a great lady! Blessed be your mother who nursed you and gave you birth.” Jesus would never have been dismissive of that. But do you know what he said in reply? “Blessed rather are those who [heed] the word of God and obey it.”[13] Blessed are those who listen to the Bible being taught, who read the Bible, and to take it on board.

I am so encouraged, by you, to think of all that God purposes to do through you in this community. And on this particular day, it is without contrivance that I say to you, on behalf of my gender: we honor you; we value you; we pray for you. And under God, we believe that one day, sooner or later, your children will arise and call you blessed[14] and will bless God for you and for your memory. And that, my dear sisters in Christ, will be your greatest and your best legacy. There could never be a more significant investment than that.

Let us pray:

God our Father, we thank you for the Bible. We thank you that it always turns us to Jesus, the one who forgives our sins, who heals our broken hearts, who enables us to face the challenges of a new day with the promise of his help and his strength. We thank you that we have in Jesus one who is wonderful, one who is kind, one who is merciful—a wonderful friend. And we pray that the friendship of Jesus may be our portion, so that we then in turn may be a friend to our children and in turn to those who are around us. For we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

[1] Jimmy Kemp, quoted in Peggy Noonan, “He Had the Power of the Happy Man,” Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2009, Paraphrased.

[2] Erma Bombeck, At Wit’s End (New York: Fawcett, 1983), 10.

[3] See Genesis 1:27–28.

[4] Jessie Bernard, The Future of Motherhood (New York: Penguin, 1975), 15–16.

[5] Bernard, xiii.

[6] See Ephesians 5:25.

[7] David Pomeranz, “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again” (1975).Lyrics lightly altered.

[8] Albert Barnes,Notes, Explanatory and Practical on the Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus, and to Philemon(New York: Harper, 1849), 311.

[9] Jill Murphy, Five Minutes’ Peace (New York: Scholastic, 1986).

[10] See Psalm 119:105.

[11] See Psalm 18:30.

[12] Luke 11:27 (NIV 1984).

[13] Luke 11:28 (NIV 1984).

[14] See Proverbs 31:28.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.