We get to celebrate Mother’s Day with Baby/Child Dedications in our church, Crossroads Greeley, together this weekend. Kids are such a delight to this world and we celebrate their lives, the lives of young parents and the marriages that sustain good parenting relationships.
For Mother’s Day we are going to look at 3 kinds of levels in maturing faith growth:
1. Rules… Toddlers need rules to grow in a foundation of faith and life walk. They thrive with boundaries and guidance in knowing what’s right and what’s wrong in life so that they can learn to build community well as they grow. In the book of Exodus in the Bible, we find a great set of rules called the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20). Some time ago, when Israel was just a toddler nation, God gave rules for them to follow in order to learn connection with the Father, and community with one another. Toddlers need rules to establish a foundation of faith.
2. Relationships… I think of the teen / young adult years of life development and wonder how relationships are formed. Do you ever find a young adult saying, “Hi, I’m James, and these are my life rules.” Not too often. But you do find teens and YA’s who seek relationships by being themselves, or trying to figure out how to be themselves in a crowd. I talked with a young man who is home from his freshman year at college and told me how hard that first year was for him. He had to push through the loneliness and sadness of being away from home, away from routine and out of money to survive. We laughed about eating hot dogs and mac for weeks. Growing in relationship / community is the very thing that young adults like to do. I bet the Christian community is the same. You look at Acts 2:42-47 and find that people “devoted” themselves to a few key things… teaching, fellowship, sharing meal and prayer. They were together and had everything in common. Real community is “having things in common” with a group of people where you grow in relationship trust with one another.
3. Commitment… When rules lay a foundation of faith and growth, relationships bloom into real community. Then, in another step of maturity, we learn that community expects commitment to one another. Like a good marriage, the bands of gold worn by the spice indicate life-long together promises. We say vows on our wedding day because we commit to promises before God and “these” witnesses as a life long step in maturity. Commitment to one another in community, comes from the same common word … “common”, together, faithful steadfast long-term reality in the same direction.
On this Mother’s Day, mom, I want you to know that you’ve taught me the rules of life very well. You taught me to say, “please” and “thank you”. To be courteous and kind, to be generous, faithful and to be a man of integrity. You taught me how to say, “I’m sorry” for the things I’ve done and for the things I’ve left un-done. You laughed at me when I got mad and punched a cupboard with a swear word, you didn’t scold me for getting hurt. You wrapped my skinned knees with bandaid kisses and gave me hugs in the rain after that silly fight in 5th grade with Simon.
You believed in me when I moved out of the house at 18 to live in Arizona and roof houses with my brother. You said, “Reid, you can do anything you set your mind to do, and God will bless your tenacious spirit.” You taught me to be brave in scary situations, to greet strangers as if they were friends I hadn’t met yet, and you taught me that God is sovereign and will take care of all that I need, not all that I want. You believe in me and I’m a better man, a better husband, a better dad, pastor and friend because of you, mom. I believe in you and want to thank you for making God the priority in your life, making dad the man you’ll love forever, and making our family an important community.
In our relationship mom, you backed off of the rules, let me grow up and taught me about commitment. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without you… so, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. Make it the best one yet and we’ll celebrate with you.
I want to say that you’ve made Hebrews 13:7 come to life for me… and you are the one who taught me the way of God through your faithful way of life.