Jump Start # 2539
Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her.”
In the past several weeks I have had the honor and the opportunity to speak at the funerals of several godly women. I knew all of them. Great faith. Great families. Great legacy. And, as I was driving today, this verse came to my mind.
There is too often an odd thing that takes place. The children who grow up in godly homes, fight that. They resist the teachings, the examples and the wonderful life that was shown to them. As these kids turn teens and into their twenties, they become rebels. They run as fast as they can from the Lord and His people. They embrace a culture of worldliness and ungodliness. It seems the bottom drops out of their lives. They ruin relationships. They ruin their health. They ruin their peace of mind.
But then, another very odd thing happens. And, I see this all the time. Some have grown up with terrible examples. Their parents were as mean as a snake. Verbal abuse and put downs were an every day occurrence. They never had prayers in the home. They never went to worship services. They grew up witnessing mom and dad fighting, drinking and sadly, even doing drugs. They saw the breakup of their home. Different people shuffled in and out of their lives as their parents bounced from lover to lover. Yet, with this terrible and sad background, some of these people find their way to the Lord. They find goodness, acceptance and love among God’s people. They are so happy to be a Christian. They commit and they stay with it all of their lives.
So strange to me. You’d think those who grew up with great godly examples would be the ones who shine. But often it’s not. Even Biblically we see this. Hezekiah was an incredible man of prayer and faith. His son, Manasseh, was a disaster. David was a great man of faith. Solomon was a disaster. Even in the Lord’s parable of the prodigal son, that boy grew up with a great father and example. Yet, he chose to live without rules, guidance and love. His life became a disaster. Pigs were his only company at the end.
Psychologists love to study things like this. Some would say that the godly homes were too strict and didn’t allow freedom of thought and expression. Some would say it’s a matter of freewill and individual choice. But it’s a marvel why good kids gravitate towards wrong things and why kids from terrible homes gravitate towards right things. You see this even doctrinally. Kids who have come from denominations, where anything and everything goes. Where play is in and the Bible is out. Where feelings are more important than Scriptures. Some of these folks learn the truth of God’s word and they stay with it. They see how superficial, phony, and shallow denominational and mega churches are. There is nothing there. Yet, kids who, as we say, grow up in the church, they are wanting to be like all the denominations around them. They want less structure. They want anyone in the pulpit and in the leadership. They want more social activities. They want less preaching and more playtime. They want to run from traditions and introduce everything that they couldn’t have as a young person.
Our verse, taken from what we call the virtuous woman shows us some things:
First, the children of this woman recognized what a wonderful blessing she was. Faithful, industrious, caring, committed and true—they saw those characteristics. They were raised with those examples. And, not at her funeral, but to her while she is alive, they bless her. They are not cursing her. They are not threatening to leave and never come back. They are not complaining about how unfair life is. They are not wishing to be like others around them. In their home was a godly example. They saw it and they appreciated it.
Second, we see the ingredients of a healthy home and relationships. The children, the husband, they speak well of each other. You can just see the love, joy and acceptance in that home. That doesn’t just happen. It’s not once a year at Mother’s Day. This was a home in which the foundation was God. Grace, forgiveness, patience and compassion are built upon that foundation. Was this mother perfect? No. Did she have bad days? Certainly. Did she ever get upset? Most likely. Did she and her husband ever disagree? I expect so. That’s life. That’s living with someone other than yourself. But it’s not a reason to call each other names, slam doors, shout and want to leave. Humbleness, gentleness, kindness and loving each other works through difficult times and differences.
Third, these children realized what they had before it was too late. The expression, from our verse today, “her children rise up and bless her,” implies the kids are still at home. They were in bed. They got up. And, what was it that they did? They blessed her. They were thankful to wake up and know that they had such a wonderful mom and dad. Sometimes, it’s not until the funeral that we get this. Sometimes, too late, we wish we could rise up and bless the godly examples that we had. But take this a step more. How many of us recognize the godly examples among us. Every Sunday we are gathering together and do we see the wonderful blessing of having godly shepherds to care for us? Do we see among us, men and women, who have dedicated their lives to the Lord. They love the Lord. Again, too often, and too late, we say these things at a funeral. When you get up this Sunday morning, think about the godly ones who will be among you. Be thankful for them. Bless them.
Fourth, we see here the powerful illustration of example. These children saw something in their mother. They got up and blessed her. Why? Because they saw all the things that she had been doing for them. They got up and mamma was already up. She was likely up making their breakfast. She was up and already thinking of her little ones. The power of example is greater than an verbal lesson. The other day I was walking down the hallway of the church building. There was a small piece of paper on the floor. My mind was swirling with thoughts about people, classes and sermons. I saw it and walked right over it. But I stopped. A thought came to my mind. And old friend, Jim Babcock, who is on the other side of the door now, would stop and pick up trash in a parking lot. I’ve seen him do that many times. That example made me turn around and look at that little piece of paper on the ground. I picked it up and put it in the trash. As I did that, I gladly said to myself, “Thanks, Jim.” The power of an example.
I witnessed an incredible event recently. It was at one of the funerals I did. The funeral was over. The audience had gone out. It was just the immediate family and me. The casket was still open. The family had said their final “see you later” (because there is never a “goodbye” among believers). They were just standing around in one large circle, arms around each other, all looking at the casket. And, one of them started to sing. It was a hymn. The entire group, with tears in their eyes, but smiles on their faces, were singing. Sad, but joyful. A life well lived was remembered. Children were blessing a godly mother and a Heavenly Father who made all of that possible. It was a moment that I wish all could see.
Moms and dads, keeping doing what is right. Don’t stop. Don’t get weary. Pray for those who want to run away from what is right. Pray for those who are trying to find their way back to what is right. Pray that others see good in us.
Her children rise up and bless her…