Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Value of a Mother

Who can count the value of motherhood? What an impossible task!
During this time of celebration we want to do two things:
1) Try to communicate our gratitude…. Impossible!
2) Try to support moms in the promised pain of Genesis 3:16

To all the moms out there I say, “You do not have to be super mom. It is still the work of the Lord. The Proverbs 31 woman is a checklist like I Corinthians 13 on “love”. Trust God to see you through day by day. Ultimately, He blesses through the circumstances of your life and you will be blessed by leaning on Him.

I hold up as an example Sarah Edwards, the unknown, beloved wife of famous theologian and pastor, Jonathan.

Sarah had a hard life. Much of it is recounted in a wonderful book entitled “Marriage to a Difficult Man- The Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards”, written by Elisabeth D. Dodds.

The mother of 11 children, Sarah had the typical puritan wife’s role of hard work at home and support of a husband who spent a lot of his energy to ministry (I’m not condoning that, by the way. I need to be a great helper to my wife and children).

In the book, there is a reference to a study done by A.E. Winship comparing a family named ‘Jukes” and the Edwards family. The ‘Jukes’ (anonymously named to protect the family) were a notorious band of renegades who cost the state of New York 1.2 million dollars in welfare and custodial charges. They all originated from one immigrant who settled in that area in 1720 and produced a ‘tribe of idleness, ignorance, and vulgarity”.
Only 20 of the 1200 Jukes had ever had gainful employment!

Compare that to the legacy of Sarah Edwards. Her humble reliance on God allowed her to be a vessel of greatness to God’s kingdom. Of the 1400 Edwards linked to Sarah, the family produced:
13 college presidents
65 professors
100 lawyers (including a dean of an outstanding law school)
30 judges
66 physicians and a dean of a medical school
80 holders of public office including,
3 US senators
Mayors of 3 large cities
3 state governors
a vice president of the US
a controller of the US treasury.
Along with 135 authors and hundreds of missionaries!

Mr. Winship commented: “Much of the capacity and talent, intensity and character, of more than 1400 of the Edward’s family is due to Mrs. Edwards.”
My prayer is that our moms will see the fruit of this hard, frustrating, and beautiful labor of love!
Bless you!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

John Calvin On Enjoying Life and Enjoying God

“Scripture gives us plenty of teaching about proper use of earthly blessings and as we plan our lives, we must not ignore it. If we are to live at all, of course we need certain essential supports. But we should not exclude many things which seem to have more to do with pleasure than necessity. We must find a happy medium, so that we use everything in the right way, with a clear conscience.

(The Lord says)… that this life is a kind of pilgrimage through which we press on to the heavenly kingdom. If we are only passing through we must, of course, use temporal blessings only as they assist our progress and do not hinder us.

This world is a slippery place and there is real danger of falling, so let us set our feet where we can stand securely.

There are some good and holy men who when they saw constant overindulgence wanted to curb and correct it, but thought there was no other way than to allow men only the bare necessities. This is godly advice but unnecessarily severe, because it binds our consciences in closer fetters than they are bound by God’s Word.

Necessity, according to them, meant abstinence from anything desirable, so that bread and water was the rule.

At the opposite extreme, many today look for an excuse for excessive self-indulgence in the use of material things. They take for granted their liberty must not be restrained in any way, but that it should be left to every man’s conscience to do whatever he thinks is right.

I agree that conscience should not be bound by rigid laws, but because Scripture has laid down general principles for the use of material possessions, we should keep within the limits laid down.”
John Calvin
From “the Institutes of Christian Religion”
Book 3 Ch 10
How to Use the Present Life and Its Comforts