In Proverbs 1:8-9 we are exhorted to remember the warnings and instruction of our mothers and fathers. By remembering them and following their instruction, we honor them and our character is beautified.
My mother and father were missionaries in Peru, S.A. where my father died when I was only four, leaving my 27 year old widowed mother with my one year old brother and myself.
She returned with us to her home in Toronto, Canada where we lived until I was 10. From ages 5 to 10 I lived with various relatives in Toronto while Mother traveled throughout Canada and USA sharing her burden for missions. Then from age 11-16 I lived in Westervelt Home and School for missionary children with about 100 other children and teens in a rural area outside Batesburg, S.C.
When I was 13 mother married a bachelor missionary and together they served as missionaries in Haiti and had a son and daughter.
So mother did not directly have much influence on my life. However, my relatives, especially my preacher uncle, as well as my teachers at Westervelt Home had a tremendous influence on my life.
Through those important, years, I never felt unloved nor became bitter by my lot in life. Somehow I understood that Mother was doing the best she could for us under her circumstances. In fact, as I look back, I am filled with praise to God for the way He led me during those early, highly impressionable years.
Even when it seems to us that our parents are too old fashioned and do not seem to understand us, we should under God, love, respect and obey them. After we are married and are no longer subject to them; yet we can continue to love and honor them.
Let me share with you some important guiding principles and lessons I learned from my Mother and later from my Christian teachers at Westervelt: principles that have served me well down through the years. principles that have guided my relationship with God and have guided and helped me in relating to others.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
1. God’s glory is the most important reality in life; not my happiness nor my seeming success in life. I have learned that when God’s glory is first in my life, I am fully fulfilled, satisfied and content.
2. I can NEVER get away with sin without facing the consequences. God catches me and chastens me every time and I am comforted in the sometimes painful chastening. I learned well as a boy the truth of Numbers 32:23 “Be SURE your sins will find you out!!”
3. I stay right with God by dealing with sin when I am convicted. Keep short accounts with God. Don’t try to ignore or brush aside the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Don’t try to make flimsy excuses for your sins. Don’t allow unconfessed sin to drag on for months and years. Such years are wasted and fruitless.
4. God’s will is the most important concern I can seek. His will is the ONLY road of happiness, fulfillment and success. Romans 12:1-2 I dare you! I challenge you to prove it for yourself.
5. Spend time in prayer and in His Word each day. Read and memorize Psalm 27 which teaches us the secret of confidence and success in life.
6. When in doubt concerning choices and the right direction in life, give God and not the devil, the benefit of the doubt.
7. Seek God’s wisdom for your life from God’s Word. That’s God’s warning found in Proverbs 2. Here’s a good hint to keep you on track. For God’s wisdom as you make the decisions of life, read a chapter from Proverbs every day and you’ll read it through every month. Read several Psalm each evening to keep your heart in tune with God.
8 Even when you don’t feel like it, by faith be thankful to God for every thing and every one He brings into your life. I Thessalonians 5:18.
9. Don’t worry about the things you don’t understand about God and His ways. He is GOD. You and I are only human. Romans 11:33-36 and Isaiah 55:8-9. When you don’t understand Him or His dealings with you, worship Him.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MYSELF
1. All Christians have a sinful flesh nature. Keep it in subjection. Don’t let it tell you what to do. Don’t coddle it. I Corinthians 9:27
2. Put no confidence in your selfish, fleshly nature. Romans 7:18 Run from temptation and sin. II Timothy 2:22
3. Keep a humble, open mind to learn from others; especially other godly people, even if you disagree with them in some matters. Proverbs 27:17
4. Rest in God’s sovereignty. He is in control and has all circumstances under His control, regardless of how circumstances look to you.
5. Rest in His victory. Yes, we are in a warfare with the devil, but we fight best as we rest in Him and watch Him win victories for us. Hebrews 4:9-11, Romans 6 and Ephesians 6:12-13.
6. Always remember, you and I have no rights. We deserve nothing but Hell. All that we have, we have by the grace of God. So be grateful for your lot in life. Don’t whine that you have not been treated fairly by others. The world is not fair. If we got what we deserved, we would all be in Hell.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FRIENDS
1. Don’t be so concerned about finding friends. Be more concerned with being a friend to the friendless.
2, Listen to wise counsel and test it by the Bible. Determine what is right and do it; regardless of circumstances.
3. Respect others, especially our elders, our teachers, authority in general. but especially, our mothers and our fathers.
4. NEVER be rude to anyone.
5. Make no friends with angry people. Avoid them. Proverbs 22:24-25
6. Don’t co-sign for anyone; unless you love them enough to pay off their debt if they cannot pay it. Proverbs 22:26-27
7. Recognize that ALL contention comes only from PRIDE! Proverbs 13:10
8. Remember my preacher uncle’s motto which he practiced all his 96 years. “NO ATTACK: NO DEFENSE!” He was speaking of personal attack. I believe in my 78 years of life so far, God has enabled me to live by that warning also. When personally attacked stand still and as Moses in Exodus14:13, watch God defend you. But as a preacher, I am called upon in Jude 3 to earnestly contend for The Faith and the eternal truths of God’s Word. Preachers are called upon to attack the devil by exposing him and warning others of his devious ways.
9. Be empathetic. Always be aware of the feelings of others. Be kind, patient, gentle and thoughtful of others. Try to understand them and their viewpoints.
10. Always seek the unity and peace of God’s people. That is more important than your and my interpretation of Scripture and position on questionable issues.
11. Keep your word. Be true and faithful. Others are counting on you.
12. Recognize and appreciate the difficult people God brings into your life. They are tools in the hands of God to mold and refine our character. Get your eyes off them and upon God.
13. Be quick to forgive and never hold grudges.
14. Take every opportunity to warn sinners of God’s coming judgment and offer them the Gospel, the truth that Jesus died to bear God’s judgment and condemnation for our sins. John 5:24
MY RELATIONSHIP IN THE WORKPLACE
1. All work is honorable.
2. Do a good job at whatever you’re called to do. Do it as though God were your employer.
3. Be honest and fair in all your dealings.
4. Learn to be self-reliant. Don’t expect government or others to meet your needs. Don’t beg or hint for money.
5. Don’t be concerned about salaries and benefits. Rather, seek to please God and let Him take care of your needs. Remember this all your life. God is the source and provider of all your needs. Philippians 4:19. We’ve proven this true over 78 years so far. He has NEVER failed us.
6. Be clean, bathe, brush your teeth, comb your hair, shine your shoes. Keep your house and car clean as a testimony for Christ.
7. Always live within you means. Avoid needless debts. Remember the borrower is a servant (a slave) to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
8. Endure hardness and difficulties without complaining. II Timothy 2:3
9. Be on time for appointments. Don’t keep others waiting. You steal their time. It is rude and arrogant of professionals or anyone to make a habit of this.
10. Don’t procrastinate. When you have an assignment, get started on it right away. By staying on top of your schedule you avoid needless pressure.
11. Finally, if you’ve started on something, finish the job!
WHY SHOULD I LEARN FROM MY PARENTS?
1. These principles and guidelines will beautify your character.
2. They will enhance your testimony. I Timothy 4:12
3. They will open up doors of opportunity to you. Proverbs 22:29
4. They will give direction to your life. Proverbs 6:20-23
5. They may prolong your life. Exodus20:12 Ephesians 6:1-3
6. You will bring glory to God.
TO DESPISE YOUR PARENTS AND WHAT THEY HAVE TAUGHT YOU
1. Will bring shame to God’s name.
2. Will break your parent’s heart. Proverbs 10:1,15:20
3. Will bring God’s judgment on you. Proverbs 1:24-33, 20:20, 30:17.
Although this is a Mother’s Day message, it is just as applicable to those women who are not mothers. It is also applicable to young girls for you girls are going to be the future mothers and teachers of children of the next generation. That’s exciting to me, for I know the power of godly wives, mothers and teachers of children.
Looking back on my life, I can see the tremendous impact that godly women, including godly single women had on my life as I was growing to adulthood.
The Most Influential Women in My Life
Let me list them in chronological order, The first four were married. The last seven were single.
Mother and Dad were missionaries in Peru where I was born. Dad died when I was four and Mother returned with my brother and me to her home in Canada. Mother’s greatest influence on me was in the first ten years.
My mother’s mother, Grandma Smith, often took care of me during several of those early years while Mother traveled to churches in Canada and USA on behalf of missions. She certainly had a godly influence on my life.
When I was nine years old, I went forward in a children’s meeting in the People’s Church in Toronto, Canada to receive Jesus as my Saviour. A godly woman ( I don’t remember her name) knelt down with me with her Bible and led me to a simple child-like faith in Christ. God saved me and began a life-changing work in my life that night.
Mrs. Westervelt was the next influence in my life from ages 10-16. She operated a Boarding School for missionaries’ children in Batesburg, S.C. Mother enrolled my brother and me in that home and school as she continued her travels. Mrs. Westervelt, a stern, but loving woman, raised us along with about one hundred other missionaries’ kids from 1944-1949 from my last months of fourth grade through ninth grade.
Miss Vera Deardurff was my teacher at that school from fifth through eighth grade. Needless to say, she had perhaps the most powerful impact on my life of any woman, including my mother, as she instilled character principles and gave me my philosophy of life. Grades five through seven were in a one room school house. She also taught me eighth grade later.
Miss Violet Bohy was my piano teacher for five years at Westervelt School. She taught me by example to use my musical talent for God’s glory.
Miss Verta Needham, a Columbia Bible College student, was my Sunday School teacher in a small church in Columbia S.C. (Westervelt Home had moved to Columbia for the final year of their existence.) Verta asked me to lead a devotional time at a class picnic by the Congaree River in Columbia. As a sixteen year old boy, that opportunity set me on a path to becoming a pastor. Now after nearly fifty-five years of pastoring, I am still actively involved pastoring full time.
My mother by this time had remarried a missionary bachelor on the island of Haiti. In my 16th summer my brother and I spent the summer with our Mother and step-Dad and little sister, Carolyn, in Haiti. One of the influences in my life were a group of about 6 young single ladies who were missionaries on that Mission Station in Aux Cayes, Haiti. I was impressed with the zeal and joy of those young ladies who had given their lives totally to serve the Lord there.
Miss Pamela Reeves was the next influential lady in my life. She was my Bible teacher as a Junior at Culter Academy in Los Angeles, California. Not only our Bible teacher, but our class sponsor, Miss Reeves radiated the joy of the Lord and taught that victorious Christian life in her Bible class.
Miss Ruby Grey, my English grammar and composition teacher at Bob Jones University, encouraged me to write. This Hidden Treasures web site is some of the fruit of that encouragement.
Miss Pat Gumm, a C.B.C. student whom I met while visiting Columbia Bible College in Columbia, S.C. in December of 1953, caught my eye and soon won my heart. We were engaged in August of 1954 and married in August of 1955, She has been my faithful, loyal, sacrificial, loving wife and mother of our two sons and one daughter for almost 54 years. God had His hand in helping me find just the woman I needed to complement my life as a pastor. She’s never been an Assistant Pastor. I wasn’t looking for an Assistant. Rather, she has been the wife I longed for and the almost perfect Mother of our children. We share the same values.
A Woman’s Place in the Church
According to I Timothy 2:12 a woman is not to teach nor usurp authority over a man; but that does not rule out the fact that God uses women to influence the lives of men and nations as mothers and as teachers and friends.
Miss Deardurff, Miss Bohy, Miss Needham, the single missionary ladies in Haiti and Miss Reeves, many of whom are now in Heaven, continue to influence my congregation through me as their pastor. Think about that!!!
Godly Mothers in the Bible
I think of Godly mothers of the Bible who had such a powerful influence on so many people through the ministry of their sons.
Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Read Exodus 2:2-9, Acts 7:20-23 and Hebrews 11:23.
Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel. Read her story in I Samuel 1:11, 20-28, and 2:18-19,
Lois and Eunice, the grandmother and mother of Timothy, a disciple and fellow pastor and evangelist of the Apostle Paul.
Consider their faith
I. It was an unfeigned faith II Timothy 1:5
That is, it was a genuine faith; not hypocritical. Some young people turn away from the faith of their parents. I wouldn’t presume to know why any young person turns from the faith of their parents. There are all sorts of reasons- some not even related to the parents.
Certainly some turn away because of the hypocrisy of their parents. Children are very alert to whether someone is real or hypocritical and they are repelled and repulsed by hypocrisy and double standards.
They must observe integrity in their parents their teachers and their pastor. Integrity is simply what we believe being integrated into the way we live each day.
Some women who attend church with their husbands are destroying their homes and turning their children away from Christ by their gossiping tongues and their rebellious attitudes towards their husbands. Feigned faith and feigned religion is ugly. It is a cloak put on just for show and children see right through it.
We can only live a genuine Christian life by coming to Christ, admitting our sinfulness and accepting His righteousness by faith and surrendering our lives to Him who alone enables us to live the Christian life. Anything less is hypocritical and repulsive to our children.
II It was an influential faith. II Timothy 1:5
It passed on from generation to generation. First to grandmother Lois, then to mother Eunice and then to Timothy. Salvation, of course, is not inherited from our parents; but our lives can have a powerful impact on generations to follow,
III, It was an under girding faith.
Grandmother Lois and Mother Eunice lived consistent lives that influenced Timothy positively, Possibly, Timothy’s father, a Greek, was not saved, or perhaps he had died. Regardless, the womens’ faith undergirded young Timothy. No matter how difficult your circumstances, you will find support in Christ. Deuteronomy 33:27 is true in any age. “The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
IV. It was a rewarded faith.
The rewards were not immediate, but they were certain. As James 1:13-15 warns us that sin does not always have immediate consequences, but the consequences are ultimate and certain; so, Hebrews 11:8-39 encourages us that faith does not always have immediate rewards, but those rewards are ultimate and certain.
Jochebed’s faith was rewarded as Moses became the deliverer and leader of Israel for forty years.
Hannah’s faith was rewarded as she saw her son, Samuel, became a great prophet in Israel.
Lois and Eunice’s faith was rewarded as they saw Timothy become Paul’s right hand man and become a faithful pastor to the church of Ephesus.
God bless you, Mothers and single ladies who influence children for Christ. May He keep you unmovable and unshaken in God’s Word. May He under gird you and enable you to accomplish the task of discipling the children committed to your care. May He one day reward you as you see your sons and daughters and students, and children you baby-sat standing fast in The Faith, living consistent, fruitful lives for Christ and serving Him with all their heart.