Give Her the Praise She Deserves

Proverbs 31:28-31

Intro: Kids on marriage / Something practical

Sometimes on Mother’s Day, I will talk to the moms and express for all of us how much we appreciate you and all you do. Sometimes I’ll talk about great examples of mothers and talk about the qualities that godly mothers possess. This morning, I want to give moms the day off and preach to the rest of us. I want to talk to children and to husbands, and give you some homework to do.

What kind of gifts do mothers receive on Mother’s Day? Macaroni necklaces, plaster cast handprints, watercolor cards and dandelion bouquets – every one of them is precious and displayed proudly and stored carefully away. Later, we look through Dillards and Macy’s, Bath and Body Works and Garden Ridge Pottery. Sometimes we give gift certificates when we’re not brave enough to make a decision. We’ll buy them corsages and take them out to lunch. And in general we’ll pamper them and lavish gifts on them to make them feel special – at least until tomorrow – and then it’s back to laundry and cooking, and “Mom, what did you do with my…?”

What do moms really want from their children and their husbands? What kind of gifts are going to make a lasting impression and make them feel really, really special?
To begin with, you’re not going to find them in some store in the mall. There isn’t a price tag on them (though I’m not discouraging you from spending your cold, hard cash on flowers and lunch and some nice presents!)
What moms really want, though, are some things that only you can give and only mean something when they are delivered by you.

I’m going to suggest three gifts you can give that will be their favorite ones ever.

A. The first one is attitude. When the apostle Paul talks about families, he has one admonition specifically for children: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Do you want to be pleasing to the Lord? Do you ever ask WWJD? This is it: “Obey your parents in everything.”
I know that’s no fun. Obedience is never convenient or exciting – but obedience is exactly what God wants you to do. And let me define obedience a little bit, because around our house, it used to get a little fuzzy at times.
Obedience doesn’t mean:
· later or when you get around to it – it means do it immediately
· ask “how come” or “why me” – it means you say “yes ma’am, I’d be glad to”
· doing as little as you can get by with or doing the job so poorly you won’t get asked again – it means do your best job, go the extra mile by doing even a little bit more than asked of you.

I don’t know if I could describe for you what kind of a reaction you would get from your mother, if you actually obeyed her just like that. But let me tell you, you couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face for a week!

When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church, he said the same thing about children obeying, but he added a second command: “Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Did you ever think about that? Now, all the commandments of God are important – but this is the only one of the ten God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai that has a promise attached. God must think this one is especially important.

Honor your mother, treat her with respect. When you speak to her, speak with words and tone of voice that are respectful. When you speak about her, your friends should go away thinking, “I wish I had a mom that great.”

Do you remember those closing words of Prov. 31 about the noble woman?: Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gates.

Do you want to know why some children speak disrespectfully to their mothers? Because they hear their fathers speak that way to them. Men, your children are listening and taking their cue from you as to how to treat their mothers (and the boys are learning how someday to treat their wives.) Don’t ever tear down your wife in front of your children (or in front of your friends, or for that matter, don’t ever tear down your wife, period – even if, and especially if it’s just the two of you.)

You ought to be her greatest fan. God gave you the job of being her biggest supporter and encourager.
I can’t think of any other relationship in which Paul’s words in Eph. 4:29 are more appropriate or needed than in a marriage: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Run all your words thru that filter before you let them out of your mouth.

Children, honor and praise your mother. Men, honor and praise your wife. Do it in front of her, do it in private to her face, do it in front of others where she can hear it. Can you imagine what kind of joy that would cause in her?

B. The second gift: Have you ever heard someone say, “it’s a thankless job”? Of all the jobs I can think of, none is more thankless than being a mother. Why is that? What does being grateful cost you? How much trouble is it to express your appreciation to your mother or your wife for what she does?

God knows the pay isn’t very good. So why are we so stingy with the appreciation and words of thanks?
Because we take her for granted. She’s always there. Around our house, my wife does everything so smoothly and efficiently that I just don’t give a lot of thought to everything she does do that keeps us in clean clothes and good meals and a clean house. And all that is on top of a full time job as a school teacher. I take her for granted.
We ought to be on our knees begging her forgiveness and being more thoughtful about noticing what she does and expressing our appreciation.

At the end of Col. 3:15, Paul tags on one of those powerful little reminders about something so important: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
When Paul talks about thankfulness, he usually directs it toward God, and with good reason. But right here, he’s talking about our relationship with people, and he’s telling us to develop an attitude towards others – “be thankful.” And I can’t think of a more important relationship in which to use those words than in a family.

Find it, develop it, use it. What an incredible difference it will make in the life of the woman in your home who pours herself out in service to her family, if only she would regularly hear those words coming from your lips, “thank you.”

C. Finally, and I suspect this one is the most important of all. If your mother or your wife is a Christian, there is nothing more important to her than to have her family united in Christ.

Kids, your mother prays for the day when you will make Jesus the Lord of your life and be united with him in baptism. And if you should ever stray from God and his church, there is nothing that will cause her greater grief and concern. And she will not stop praying for your return till the day you come back to God.

I’ve talked with a lot of moms over the years, and hands down, their greatest concern has been for their children’s faith and salvation.

I’ll tell you what runs neck and neck with that concern: Some of you husbands and fathers have taken a back seat in your family’s faith. You’ve let your wife take care of that department. Sunday after Sunday, she’s brought the kids to church while you’ve had other things “more important” to do. And with tears your wife has prayed for your soul – and you don’t even know it, because you just assume it’s not that big of a deal. Guys, it’s that big of a deal.

Men, there is no gift you could give to your wife that would thrill her more than to see you come forward this morning and commit your life to Christ and be baptized –or for you to step out and come forward and commit yourself to being the spiritual head of your family.

Some of you young people have put off being baptized for some right time, and the right time never seemed to come. It’s come. Don’t do it because of mom, do it because of the grace of God and the blood of Christ, but do it.

In his book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice, Dan Rather tells of a time in 1965, on a hospital ship of the South Vietnamese coast near Qui Nhon. He was taken below to a recovery room – with just a few subdued lights here and there. The room was filled with dozens of young men. Each had at least one fresh amputation. Many had multiple wounds; some had multiple amputations. He heard moans, groans, and quiet weeping. Hews there some fifteen minutes and heard only one word spoken. It was spoken over and over; in whispers by some, in moans by others, and in a few cases as a low shout. The word was “mother.” None called for father, or for doctor or nurse. Only mother.

Paul said, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”