Passing on the Fire
Deuteronomy 4:9-11, Psalm 103:15-18
Kevin and Janet Krusmark from Jamaica - Robin’s Nest Children’s Home
Message: Passing on the Fire
We sometimes get locked into a traditional understanding of motherhood. When we celebrate mothers on Mother’s Day, or other times that we honor them, we tend focus on those who have given birth to children. We often give more honor and praise to the mom who has given birth to the most children or who has the most biological grandchildren. Though this is how most women become mothers, many women are mothers by adoption, some by mentorship, a few by giving of themselves to another who has no mother or someone who has a mother who does not act like a mother should. It doesn’t matter if you are a mother through giving birth or not, I would dare to say that most all women are mothers in some respect to someone.
No matter if you are a mother by giving birth to a child or a mother in some other capacity, godly mothers put on display the very character of God for the rest of the world to see. They show off the heart of God. The Bible tells us about many women who have a mother’s heart that may or may not have any biological children. But their heart of motherhood still becomes clear as they live out the heart of God in their own lives.
Mothers of the Bible - video
A mother passes on her faith, her godly character, and the very essence of her life for generations to come. Mother’s Day for most of us at the Chapel includes not just children, but grandchildren, and for some of you, even great grandchildren. Of course, I realize that being a mother is what began the process of all the grands and greats. We have a lot of verses in Scripture that talk about the wonders, the responsibilities, and the blessings of being a mother to a young child. Often, as they get older it becomes a bit more challenging, doesn’t it? In fact, as much as we love Proverbs 31, many women would like to meet the woman described there.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
We all know that raising children is difficult at times, but I am sure that everyone here, can praise the Creator for the many times they experienced His help and His strength during those years. I am also sure that every mother here exemplifies in some way the woman of Proverbs 31 though they may not see it at the time. Every mother learns and grows in their experience of motherhood and then when their children become mothers there comes the tension of how much advice to give and how much to be involved with the grand babies.
The Bible makes it clear, that when it comes to teaching children and grandchildren about our God that we are all responsible. Grandparents should be careful about overstepping in ways that might be offensive, but I think that it is important that grandchildren know and see the fire God has lit in the hearts of their parents and grandparents.
As Israel was about to go into the Promised Land, Moses reminded the people of all that God had done for them. But now they stand before the land of promise and Moses reminds them of the covenant they made with God. This relationship they have with the Almighty is something they need to make sure their children and grandchildren know about. They need to tell them all that God has done for them.
"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children—how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, 'Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.' And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom.
I sometimes imagine what it must have been like seeing the plagues of Egypt, going through the parted waters of the Red Sea, and standing at the foot of the Mountain of God. Seeing the power of God at work in their midst. God is telling the people of Israel not to forget. When they enter into the land of Promise and get settled there, they will easily forget how they got there. They need to tell their children and their children’s children about the fire from the heart of God that burned upon the Mountain of God. How that as they listened and committed themselves to Him, He began to do a great work in their lives.
This is no different for us. Mothers and Grandmothers need to share with their children and children’s children about the fire that burns within your hearts. Share how Jesus has changed your life. You cannot make them receive the Lord as their Savior, but they must be shown what God can do! They must be told the story about His saving grace in your life. How it is that God has changed you. As parents and grandparents, our children, no matter how old they are, need to see the fire that burns within. We are only given a limited number of years to do that. We need to invest in the lives of our children and grandchildren in every way we know how to.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
I’m not sure any of us need to be reminded about how fleeting this life is. There is a “but” in this passage.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
We need to live each day in such a way that our children and grandchildren know that our hearts and our lives belong to God. They need to see the love of God in us. They need to see us praising and uplifting God in the midst of trials.
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
Commending the works of God. To commend means to give high praise, to commit praise to God for what He has done. In other words, give credit where credit is due. Declaring His mighty acts is to put an acknowledging voice to the wonderous things He is doing in your life. We should meditate and proclaim the glories of God to the next generations.
Many times, I have heard people say, well, I’m too old. My children and grandchildren don’t care what I have to say. I am here to tell you that is not true. Even if we think our children and grandchildren are not paying attention or don’t care, you would be surprised what they pick up on.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
In other words, your spiritual life is visible for everyone to see, even those children and grandchildren.
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
We are never too old or too worn out to declare that Jehovah is upright, His is our rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.
Mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers, all have the opportunity to impact the generations that follow them. One of the passages often used on Mother’s Day is 2 Timothy 1:5-7. This is the Apostle Paul’s reminder to Timothy about the fire of his faith which was evident in his mother and grandmother and now is evident in Timothy also.
2 Timothy 1:5-7
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
My encouragement to all women this morning is simply this, pass on the fire of your faith. Make sure your children and grandchildren know how you came to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Write your testimony out, sit down with them and tell them what it means that you have experienced salvation from sin and a new life in Christ. Deep down inside they want to know what is important in your life.
And this doesn’t just apply to women with biological children and grandchildren. Whoever you have become a mother figure to, take time to tell them about the fire that burns within. They already know you are a nice person. They already love spending time with you. You may be showing them Jesus in your actions but tell them about how that came about in your life. Pass on the fire that God put in your heart.