Christian Family

Mothers You Are the Backbone of the Family

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There’s an old saying, “God couldn’t be everywhere at once, so he made moms.”

That statement has horrible theology in it.  But it attempts to convey the importance motherhood plays in our lives.  Mothers hold a special place and role that no one else can fill.

This post is the fourth in a series on the Christian family.  Our focus turns to the importance of motherhood. The foundation text is the famous account of the Wedding at Cana.

On the third day, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. John 2:1-2

 The Background

Weddings in Palestine were a cause for great celebration. These events would last for several days. A crucial part of the celebration was the lavishness of the wine. Wine aplenty wasn’t because everyone attending the wedding wanted to get drunk. To clarify drunkenness was a social disgrace. The Jewish social custom required that there be plenty of wine for everyone. Hospitality was sacred in Jewish culture. And running out of wine would have been a humiliating experience for the wedding host.  In a culture of honor and shame that would be devastating.

Mary understanding the situation came to Jesus and said, “They have run out of wine.” Jesus’ answer may seem abrupt—almost rude—if we don’t read it in context.

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” John 2:4

Being from the South, I would never address my mom that way.  The term “Woman” is not disrespectful. Jesus didn’t speak to his mom in English; he was talking to her in Aramaic. The term Jesus used was one of honor.  It should be translated,“Dear Woman” or “Gracious Lady.” The phrase “What have I to do with thee” is a Hebrew idiom.  Accurately, translated that means “Leave things to me, and I will settle them my way.” Mary said to the servants…

(v. 6) Do whatever he tells you.

There were six 20-30 gallon stone water jars nearby that were used for ceremonial washing. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. They did, and then he told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. The master of the banquet was not the bridegroom; he was more like a head-waiter. His job was to make sure the feast ran smoothly. The servants drew water from the stone jars and took some to the banquet master, and he said…

(v. 10) Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best till now.

As we look at how Jesus and his mother related to one another, there are three faith lessons that both parents and children can learn from this story. The lessons that this miracle is teaching are about a mother’s faith and how that faith can impact our lives. The first lesson we can learn is:

  1. Remain A Part of Your Child’s Life.

Parents often make jokes about how much they’re looking forward to getting the kids out of the house.  And that day the kids are out of their hair forever.  Kids often make jokes about getting out from under their parent’s control as soon as possible.

The fact is, however, the closer we remain to our parents or our children, even in adult years, the better off we’ll all be.

Mothers, the second lesson in this story is:

  1. Believe in Your Child’s Capacity

 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:11

I ran across this story to illustrate. The need to be aware of your child’s potential.

Wendell Burton is an actor and musician. In the early 70’s he was in “The Sterile Cuckoo,” and he played in some television dramas. Sometime in the mid-seventies, he became a Christian, and he recorded a couple of albums of contemporary Christian music.  We met when he performed at my church.

Wendell’s mother is a Christian, too. She was in a Home Bible Study at her church in Los Angeles, and a member of her Bible Study group was Bob Dylan. When she met him, she said, “Oh, Mr. Dylan, you should meet my son. He’s a songwriter, too. I’ll bring you one of his albums.” When she told Wendell about it, he was embarrassed. He said, “Mom, please don’t bother Bob Dylan. He’s not interested in my music.” Wendell’s mom said, “Sure he is! [How could anyone not like your music?]” So, at the next Bible study, she gave Bob one of her son’s records.

A couple of weeks later, Wendell got a call from Bob Dylan. He said, “I listened to your album, and I think it’s good. In fact, I’m working on a song right now, and I would like your input. Can you stop by my house and listen to it?”

Wendell said, “Only a mother would assume that Bob Dylan and I are on the same level as songwriters.”

When Mary was at the wedding in Cana, and the wine suddenly ran out, immediately she went to Jesus because she knew he could do something about it.

Mary was the one who recognized his potential.

That’s the kind of mother every son and daughter needs—one that realizes her child’s potential, even before everyone else has a chance to. Look for the strengths in your children; remind them of the good they can do.

The third lesson in this story is:

  1. Give Your Child the Space To Grow.

Mary told Jesus about the situation regarding the wine; she told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do; then she stepped out of the picture. Then Jesus solved the problem his way, using his method.

Mary said to the servants:

(v. 5) Do whatever he tells you.

Mary didn’t try to tell Jesus how to perform miracles or how to be the Messiah. She let him make those decisions on his own.Every parent must learn when to step back and allow their child to make his or her decisions. Sometimes they’ll make decisions you don’t agree with–decisions that you don’t understand–but you have to be willing to allow them to handle the details of their lives themselves.

When your child was little, you were the only one who could offer the kind of love, nurture, encouragement, and support that he or she needed. Now that they’re full grown, you still can do it. They may no longer live in your house, but they still need you. They need you to be involved in their lives. They need you to recognize possibilities that they may not be able to recognize in themselves. And they need you to stand by them in support as they make their way in life.

Other Articles in this series on the Christian Family:
https://revheadpin.org/2016/08/25/the-homefront-is-crumbling/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/08/11/is-the-apostle-paul-a-male-chauvinist/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/09/01/fatherhood-only-real-men-need-apply

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Christian Family, Racial Healing

How to Raise Children Who Embrace Diversity

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“Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.”  Nelson Mandela

If you are reading this as a parent, you have an earnest and sincere desire to leave a lasting legacy in your family line that will improve the trajectory of diversity in the world.  But if you are also like many parents that do not have diversity in your current ancestry, the glaring question is, “Where do I begin?”  Let me start by asking you some questions to ponder.

  1. What attitudes did the members of your family and your friends in school have toward people with a different nationality?

This may be a very sensitive topic, but I pose this question because you will need to dig deep to figure out what bias you are bringing into the picture.  If the answers to this question are difficult to hear, do not lose heart.  The amazing thing about what God does in the individual heart is that the attitudes of your family and friends are not necessarily yours.  While it is true that these beliefs were influential because they came from family and friends whose opinions we valued, these attitudes were often the result of misinformation, possibly based on some bad experiences with other people.  You have recognized that this is not what you want to instill and engrain in your children.  Now, you have an opportunity to take what you have learned and seen and be a blessing, a light to those who still carry negative views, while at the same time teaching your precious little ones to embrace people who are different.

If, on the other hand, those aspects of family and friends were positive, take the time to explore what mindset or family attitude led to that approach. It could be a good model to replicate with your family.

  1. What role are you playing in widening the racial divide in America? Are you passing along generalities and stereotypes that further this division? Are you judging a whole group of people based on the words or actions of a few? Have you remained silent when you could have spoken up to stop divisive talk?

You may have heard it said, “Do what I say don’t do what you see me doing?” Yeah, that sounds good, but the most impactful sermon you preach to your children is the one they watch you modeling daily.  You can speak all the flowery language you want, but if your actions don’t match your words, you are wasting your time and theirs.  They will follow your walk far more closely than your words.

Here is a very practical exercise for you and your family. Identify one person of a different ethnicity, national background, skin color or that you would typically struggle to love and begin building or improving an existing relationship. Add the person to your family’s daily prayer list, and ask God to open your eyes to opportunities and give you the wisdom to build a relationship with that person.

Make a list of ways you can reach out to this neighbor. Look for areas of common interest, ground on which you can stand with this neighbor.

It is my heartfelt belief that many people have good intentions, that they care about the racial divisions in our country. I also believe many have no idea how to help and where to start. And deep down, many think the racial division has reached a point that it is too far gone to save. I hope that is not true. If we give up, the outcomes are bleak.

Parents, you have a tremendous opportunity to share the hope we Christians have in Christ, the Light of the World, with your children as we create a foundation for future generations who embrace the beauty of diversity.  Help your offspring become that vessel that shines brightly in the lives of all God’s people. The forces speaking against unity and reconciliation resist the light of Christianity because it is a threat to their way of life. It is a threat to the darkness of sin. So, the world will hate Christians just as it hated Jesus. But remember Jesus, who rose victoriously from the grave. The expectant joy of the resurrection is a source of comfort for Christians. Jesus is saying, “Look to the clouds; your Savior will return.” Keep your ears open to the voice of the Bridegroom and drown out the voices in the world. “The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete” (John 3:29).