A Mother's Wish For Her Son

Bible Book: Proverbs  31 : 10-31
Subject: Mother's Day; Mother's Prayers; Mother

Mother's Day is the third most celebrated holiday in the world, just behind Christmas and Easter. It dates back to ancient Greece, but it wasn't until 1872 that Julia Ward Howe (author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic")suggested the idea here in the United States. Anna Jarvis, the daughter of a Methodist minister, took up her cause. She felt the scars from the Civil War could be healed by honoring mothers. She died in 1905 before seeing her dream fulfilled.

However, her daughter (also named Anna Jarvis) took up the crusade. She spent a fortune trying to promote the cause. In honor of her mother's death, on May 12, 1907, Anna made a small tribute to her Mom at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Gafton, West Virginia. She donated 500 white carnations for everyone in attendance to wear. It was seven years later that President Woodrow Wilson officially established Mother's Day as a national holiday to be held on the second Sunday of May. (1914)

On a sad note, when Anna saw how commercialized the holiday had become; she became so embittered she filed a lawsuit in 1923 to stop a Mother's Day festival. She was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a mother's convention. She said, "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world." Shortly before her death in 1948, while living in a nursing home, she told a reporter that she was sorry she had ever started the whole thing.

In Proverbs 31 the original intended audience was not young women (this is what kind of wife you should be) but young men (this is the kind of wife you should get). Proverbs directs the reader away from the immoral woman and towards the good wife because its implied reader is a young man.

Proverbs 18:22, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."

A good woman described here has every virtue wisdom can offer (woman of wisdom).

One gains the fear of God and the good wife in the same way: both are gifts from God.

Proverbs 19:14, "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."

Contrast to Good Wife:

Proverbs 21:9, "Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman."

Proverbs 21:19, "Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman."

I. The Treasure Of A Good Wife 10-12

A. Virtuous 10a

Integrity, moral strength, good quality; strong in all moral qualities

B. Valuable 10b-12

Verse 10 "worth" - preciousness; surpassing value.

Ruth is the only woman in the Old Testament who is called "a virtuous woman" (Ruth 3:11) Solomon would have given a king's ransom for a woman like Ruth.

1. Speaks Of Love 11

Verse 11 "trusts" - one of the strongest words in a relationship. Destroy that and you will work the rest of your marriage mending; a woman of character and courage.

"no lack of gain" - she satisfied her husband's every need; (spoil) - describes the rich plunder of a victorious army. He benefits from her and what she brings to the marriage.

2. Speaks Of Loyalty 12

"she does him good and not evil" - (mischief); respect is the theme of this verse.

Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

Loyalty, respect, and support; she is not a hindrance to her husband, but a helper; supporter. Most of us must acknowledge that our successes in life have been closely related to the encouragement and efforts of our wives as they stand by our side.

Example: Worked as necessary during college, worked as necessary during seminary. Willing to move 4 times; including home twice.

II. The Thrust Of The Good Wife 13-22

A. Her Compassionate Work 13

"willingly works" - speaks of busy hands; the work of a wife or mother is never done. The homemaker does her job without the enticement of a paycheck; but she cannot be duplicated for any amount of money.

Dorothy Morrison wrote, "Homemaking is not employment for slothful, unimaginative, incapable women. It has as much challenge and opportunity, success and failure, growth and expansion, perks and incentives as any corporate career."

Motherhood is both a demanding and rewarding profession. Unfortunately, the reward often comes much later in life.

No one, not a teacher, preacher, or psychologist, has the same opportunity to mold minds, nurture bodies and develop potential usefulness like a mother.

How Much Should Mom Be Paid?

Sylvia Porter, a noted financial analyst, took her calculations to the computer and punched in an average hourly fee for a nursemaid, housekeeper, cook, dishwasher, laundress, food buyer, chauffeur, gardener, maintenance person, seamstress, dietitian, and practical nurse. She found that the labor performed by a mother each year at home would cost a family $23,580 in Greensboro, SC;

$26,962 in Los Angeles; and $28,735 in Chicago. But, since most Moms also function as coach, teacher, interior decorator, religious educator, mediator, counselor, and child psychologist, that puts a Mom's salary well into the six-figure range. So, guys we're getting a bargain. Take your Mom out to eat!

B. Her Commendable Work 14

(14) She knows where to find the sales and bargains.

(15) She is not lazy.

(16) A good head for business; personal initiative.

(17) Healthy; works energetically; vigorously.

(18-19) She knows the value of her merchandise.

(20) She works far into the night.

(24) She is unselfish; not greedy; generosity in spirit; hands are open (not tight-fisted).  Note: Thrifty as she was, keen as her eyes were to business, her heart went out to the poor.

(21) Provided a double change of clothes during the snow.

(22) Dressing well and decorating the home with pride.

III. The Truth Of The Godly Wife 23-27

A. Compliments 23

His sweet wife had encouraged his strengths, helped his weaknesses, counseled him wisely, built-

up his confidence, molded his character and gently smoothed his path.

He was "known" in the places where decisions were made. He owed much of his present greatness to his wife. Everyone knew that applause for him was applause for her.

B. Confidence 25-26

Verse 25 She was protected by her character and convictions. As her strength had been yesterday, so it would be tomorrow.

No fear of old age or the future. She has spiritual beauty and not just the artificial beauty of the world.

Verse 26 "wisdom" - ability to live life skillfully; Prov. 1:2 first and Prov. 31:26 last. "law of kindness" - kind and compassionate words for everyone. She is right in what she says.

IV. The Testimony Of The Good Wife 27-31

Timothy Dwight (former president of Yale) noted, "All that I am and all that I shall be I owe to my mother."

Napoleon was asked what could be done to restore the prestige of France. He replied, "Give us better mothers!"

A. Appreciation 27-28

Verse 27 Speaks of diligence; avoids laziness

Verse 28 Future tense; her family gratefully acknowledges all the benefits they have from her. As far as they are concerned, she is the greatest wife and mother in the world.

B. Adoration 29-30

Verse 29 "you excel them all" - none better

Verse 30 "charm and beauty" - not bad, they simply are inadequate reasons to marry a girl.

You can be deceived by passing qualities; find those that last forever. Seek for a girl who fears the Lord.

"fear" - to fear from an apprehension of danger and a sense of our own weakness, joined therefore with trembling. One who worships the Lord. She is spiritual.

C. Anticipation 31

She will reap what she sows.

If you find her, make sure that her gifts and accomplishments do not go unappreciated. She is splendid.