Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Like a Mother

It was Mother’s Day yesterday and I’ve been giving a series of exhortations about parenting, so, perfect. Let’s take advantage of the connection.

Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he hadn’t come just to make a name for himself. He didn’t flatter to get what he wanted, “nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ” (1 Thessalonians 2:6). There was a sense of great responsibility in his work, but it didn’t include demanding great recognition.

If you had to guess what role he used as a comparison, what would you say? Those who are tracking should have guessed that of a mother. The very next sentence: “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

For what it’s worth, Paul could identify mothers, though he wasn’t a biologist. Paul could talk about mothers, though he wasn’t one. Paul could generalize about mothers, though sinful mothers wouldn’t work for his illustration.

Apostles could make demands, not just for obedience, but for honor. This is what Paul just said he was committed not to do. He was not seeking glory from men. His illustration works when mothers are not seeking glory from those they are responsible to serve.

Lewis had Screwtape tattoo this image in Wormwood’s mind:

She’s the sort of woman who lives for others—you can always tell the others by their hunted expression. (The Screwtape Letters)

Being a mother is a glory, unless the mother is demanding glory. Moms, when you look well to the ways of your household your children will rise up and call you blessed (Proverbs 31:27-28). When you look well to how well you are looked after, you will have received your reward (think Matthew 6:2, 5, 16).

Categories
A Shot of Encouragement

Clearly Outrageous

A new post from Rachel Jankovic on the joy that’s possible when we differentiate principles from methods. The principle here applies to much more than mommas pushing their favorite idols techniques. It creeps into any corner where someone says something that’s “clearly outrageous.”

Do not get caught up in method camps and chisel away at the number of saints you can fellowship with every time you read a new article about that thing that has become the most important thing. Do not build for yourself an arsenal of inflammatory topics.

On Women, Divisiveness, and Hobby Horses
Categories
A Shot of Encouragement

Motherhood as a Mission Field

Though normally found writing at Femina, Rachel Jankovic’s guest post on the Desiring God blog hits home for wanna-be gospel-centered moms (and dads). I recommended her book on motherhood/parenting a few days ago and it wouldn’t surprise me to see this article making a great chapter in a future book.

Jesus calls all His disciples to die, but

The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems.

That’s a pain, especially since we spend so much time at home. Likewise, the closer you get to actual sacrifice, the less attractive it appears.

Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now.

I like David Brainerd. Mostly. I feel the same about Jim Elliot (whom Rachel quotes), and others of their ilk. They spent their lives in obvious ways for heavenly purposes and are commended by evangelicals for such commitment. But we’re easily tempted to measure our heavenly mindedness according to earthly standards. If something is so obviously heavenly, how do we know that? By actual heavenly standards, or by ones that were easier to determine…by earthly standards?

Amidst all the “crazy love,” “radical” speak, the key is to actually be radical, not do what everyone thinks is radical. Daily-dying parenting is radical indeed.

God calls some families to plant their homes in foreign lands for sake of gospel fruit. Families that plant thankfulness at home, no matter the street address, will grow juicy gospel fruit as well.

You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time.

Categories
The End of Many Books

Loving the Little Years

by Rachel Jankovic

Loving the Little Years – Motherhood in the Trenches is the best book on parenting I’ve ever read. I’ll admit that I haven’t read as many books on parenting as I probably should have and I’m sure I’ve forgotten too much of what I have read. That said, every Christian mother and father should own this book, inside and out.

A certain sort of parent will not enjoy this book at all. Parents who view authority as a control mechanism rather than a means to fellowship, who prefer dispensing law rather than following it, and who expect change in their kids before change in their own souls should stay away from this book. On the other hand, parents who want to know and live the standard themselves and who want their kids to know and love the standard will develop much stronger muscles from this workout.

Rachel performs a tricky task, helping us toward the happy conviction that we fail so miserably by reminding us that the gospel of grace works. Death fills happy homes as dads and moms die to bring life, and she makes gospel dying look good. She illustrates that laughter is both a seed and fruit, a great blessing and at times an impossible mission. She observes the beauty of messes and the products of wastefulness. She humorously assaults petty, panicky, and proud parents. It hurts. And it helps, a lot.

I hope all the parents I know will read this book, repent (as necessary), and salt their childrearing with truckloads of God-fearing fun. That goes most for me and I plan to open this book again and again when I need to get a look above the trenches.

5 of 5 stars