Things My Mom Harped On

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When you shop at Wal-Mart, maybe I should say, If you shop at Wal-Mart you know that one of the great reasons for going there is that you can see almost anything on any given day. There is even an online forum called PEOPLE OF WALMART where people post all the crazy stuff they see, for better or worse. It is a cross-section of America. There was a mother …..pushing a shopping cart …..through Wal-Mart. Her daughter….. was riding in the cart,….. and she was continually screaming. Her mom kept saying ……..”Now Calm down, Ellen. It will be all right, Ellen. It’s almost time to go home, Ellen.” One of the checkout clerks …..saw this and said ….”Maam, you are to be commended …..at how patient you are…. with little Ellen.” The Mom said….. “Lady, ….I’m Ellen!” (Pause)

Being a mom isn’t an easy job! Sometimes, I feel bad for my mom; when I remember she had two of us, twin boys to take care of. One of her most harrowing journeys was when we first visited my aunt in Wisconsin, we flew into Chicago O’Hare, the Bulls banners were flying proudly at that time, and yet before we got off the plane, there my mom was walking with two 6 year olds, a large suitcase, and two barf bags—getting strange looks from people around us. Being a mom isn’t an easy job! So, let me start off by saying “Happy Mother’s Day” to all those who are mothers and grandmothers—Thank you! Here is the thing about moms, most of the time, they get really good at harping on things, and they are excellent at repeating themselves, because we all have the habit of selective hearing. Maybe your mom harped on finding a job, putting down the toilet seat, or learning to act properly in public. We might be able to say that mothers are concerned about us “living life on purpose!” Not forever living like we are in a college dorm, not forever bringing home our laundry. Today, we are going to look at the remarkable similarities between what our mother’s harped on and the areas that Jesus models for us as key to becoming Change Agents—keys to growing in our faith. ( I am indebted to the work of pastor J.K. Jones).

See if you can relate to the things my mother harped on when I was a kid:

My mother harped on practicing Holy Habits! Stories like these are always more fun when they happen to someone else. Since it happened to my brother it isn’t just fun it is hilarious. When he was between 4-6 years old, he decided to become a rebel and he started using words he had picked up at school or from kids in the neighborhood—He came home with a host of words for diarier and my mother got out the soap and decided that she needed to encourage some holy habits in my brother. Let me ground this in Scripture for you—(Luke 4:16) Holy Habits, Spiritual Disciplines, whatever you want to call them were a part of Jesus life. If I asked you to think of the holy habits in Jesus life you would probably think of solitude, prayer, but see if you noticed the one from Luke 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read.

We get a passage that we so easily brush past as we see Jesus rejected in his home town, and yet we get a window into his world before his ministry began. Children were allowed into the synagogue at the age of 5 and were expected to come at the age of 13, and then those who showed themselves to be devout, holy, and knowledgeable were allowed to teach others. Jesus makes being in the presence of God a priority! In today’s terms, we see the emphasis on being in church, in the presence of God and in the presence of his people.

I read about 4 pastors who were arguing over different Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful, eloquent English. Another said he preferred the American Standard Bible for its literal treatment of the text. A third man preferred a translation called the Moffatt translation because of its quaint, penetrating use of words. After giving the issue further thought, the fourth pastor said, “I have personally always preferred my mother’s translation.” When the other pastors chuckled, he responded, “Yes, she translated it. She translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I ever saw.”

This has been my personal experience. Growing up my mom was always seemingly the person that held things together behind the scenes, but over the last few years, I’ve seen more and more her translation of Scripture.My mom wasn’t much for public speaking, but I saw her serve, coordinate, run the computer, and then a few years ago she showed me the most shocking thing of all—She took a chance—the church she was attending shared a building with a Hispanic congregation and they bought radio time on an English speaking Spanish station that goes throughout South America. Now every Sunday night at 8:00p.m. you can listen to my mom share Scripture with people she might never meet on this side of heaven.

We see this more and more in the 21st century, moms and grandmothers taking their children and grandchildren to church, carrying the spiritual legacy. Paul remember this legacy in 2 Timothy 1:5- I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. If you are an aunt or uncle, single mom, grandma or grandpa know that as you strive to invest in your children or grandchildren, you are making a contribution to the kingdom of God. Don’t give up hope if your children seem far from God, continue trying to instill a holy habit in them through your holy model. It is the spiritual holy habits that we develop, that are instilled in us that have the power to overtake the unholy habits in our lives that bring us into the presence of God.

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