WORLD’s Top 25 articles for 2018 – WORLD

As we near the end of the year of our Lord 2018, it is good to reflect on all that has transpired according to the sovereign plan and providence of our almighty God in this year. That, after all, is what we believe all the events of history are – the unfolding of our God’s perfect plan through His mighty providential hand. And, we also add this, that all these events of history – of 2018 too – are for the salvation of Christ’s church and the good of His redeemed and renewed people.

Many news sources produce year-end summaries of the year’s major stories, which are useful in helping us to reflect on the more significant events of the year. World Magazine (a Christian news source) has also produced its summary of the major stories it reported online throughout 2018. It included this list of 25 items today as part of its “Saturday Series” (which often feature books, writing, reading), and I thought it worth your while to point you to it here.

What follows here is the little blurb that introduced the list; after that I post here the last five news items (which were published at the “top” of the list on their website).

In 2018, WORLD’s online readers were drawn to major cover stories and timely features from the magazine, daily news reports from The Sift, and insightful Saturday Series essays. But issues related to marriage, family, and sexuality were often foremost in the minds of our readers this past year, as the website’s weekly Relations roundup makes multiple appearances in our countdown of the 25 articles that grabbed your attention the most.

25. A long way from home

Before getting lost in a cave, Adul Sam-on found direction for his future at a Thai church and school

by Angela Lu Fulton
July 13 | WORLD Magazine | Features

24. Moody Bible Institute leaders resign amid turmoil

Moody Bible Institute announced Wednesday the resignation of President J. Paul Nyquist and Chief Operating Officer Steve Mogck amid ongoing turmoil following staffing cuts

by Leigh Jones
Jan. 11 | WORLD Digital | The Sift

23. Willow Creek elders respond to new Hybels accusations

The elders of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago said in a letter Saturday they could have done a better job holding former Senior Pastor Bill Hybels accountable for inappropriate behavior toward women

by Lynde Langdon
April 23 | WORLD Digital | The Sift

22. Facing cultural storms

Six trends that are rapidly reshaping the lives of American Christians

by John S. Dickerson
Nov. 24 | WORLD Digital | Saturday Series

21. Turkey seeks life sentence for U.S. pastor

Turkish prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for a U.S. pastor accused of participating in the 2016 coup that attempted to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

by Leigh Jones
March 13 | WORLD Digital | The Sift

Find the other 20 top stories at the link below.

Source: WORLD’s Top 25 articles for 2018 – Media – WORLD

Adoption Isn’t Charity—It’s War – R. Moore

A little while ago while sorting through today’s emails, I learned it is National Adoption Day. It was Crossway publishers who pointed me to that fact, in an email highlighting some new articles published on it’s website.

Perhaps, like me (ordinarily), you might be tempted to pass over a highlighted article on adoption, and just delete the email and move on to the next. But if you have an adopted child in your immediate family (as we do), you stop and pay attention. Because you realize how significant one adoption is. And how special one adopted grandson is.

The same is true if there is an adoption in your broader family (as there is in ours and will be soon again), in your church family (as there is in ours at Faith PRC), and among your friends (as we too have). And when you hear the testimony of an adopted son about his Christian father and the influence he had on this son throughout his life (as we heard from a dear cousin last night at a very special family reunion), then you realize the power and blessedness of earthly adoption by Christian couples and families.

A gift from God our Father to His children. A means of grace. Yes, in the life of one lost soul. Multiplied thousands of times, one soul at a time, from all over the world, including nearby neighborhoods. Taken in by love, surrounded by love, raised in love, and pointed to true love. God’s, in Jesus. So that that adopted child comes to know and embrace and confess that divine love. And rejoices (glories!) in what God has done. For him! For her! And believing parents and siblings cry with joy, and treasure God’s work.

And then you better understand the picture of a higher, greater, deeper reality – what the Sovereign of salvation has done for you (for me!), another lost orphan in this cruel world of sin and darkness. You see, you and I were abandoned by the Prince of this world (a pretentious but pernicious father!) who promised us everything but left us nothing – destitute, deserted – in reality, dead.

But that Father on the heavenly throne looked on you and me with the eyes of love (because His heart was so full of it for you!), took us up His arms and placed us in His only-begotten, beloved Son, through Whom He bought us and took us home (O, what a family He has!). And then He took the Spirit of His Son and sent Him to change us from dead sinners into living children of the Father, from utterly destitute into the richest sons and daughters in the world, and in the world to come.

Deserted no more, we have fellowship with the Father, in the Son, through the Spirit, and belong to the biggest and best family in the world (the church of Jesus Christ)! It is the grandest adoption of all! If you doubt it, read Ephesians 1-3 again. And fall to the ground in praise of that glorious grace.

And then think about what that earthly picture can mean in a Christian family and church family. And ponder its implications for us.

Russell Moore has some things for us to think about in that Crossway article for National Adoption Day. Yes, he may write from a theological perspective different from our Reformed, covenantal perspective. But he writes as a Christian man and as a saved-by-grace sinner who knows what earthly adoption means because of his heavenly one. So, listen and learn from what he says. He don’t have to agree with everything. Just take the heart of it. Because that comes from the heart of our Father above.

Here is part of what Moore writes; find the rest at the link below.

The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world. As we become more attuned to the gospel, we’ll have more of a burden for orphans. As we become more adoption friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel. We are being called to look forward to an adoptive missional church. I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregations.

It is one thing when the culture doesn’t “get” adoption. What else could one expect when all of life is seen as the quest of “selfish genes” for survival? It is one thing when the culture doesn’t “get” adoption and so speaks of buying a cat as “adopting” a pet. But when those who follow Christ think the same way, we betray that we miss something crucial about our own salvation.

Adoption is not just about couples who want children—or who want more children. Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.

Source: Adoption Isn’t Charity—It’s War | Crossway Articles

A Tribute to Our Sacrificing Mothers: The Altar of Motherhood – W. Wangerin, Jr.

Ah, Mother, every summer since then I have thought of you and all of your sisters through the ages. I see you, darling, distinctly – as in a vision. I see deep, and I see this: that once there lay in the precinct of many mothers’ souls some precious personal thing. Some talent, some private dream. The characteristic by which they defined their selves and their purpose for being. To write? Maybe. To run a marathon? Or to run a company? Yes. Yes.

But then the baby came home, and then you and others like you made a terrible, terribly lovely choice. You reached into your soul and withdrew that precious thing and lifted it up before your breast and began to walk. Deliberate and utterly beautiful, you strode to the altar of love for this child and placed there the talent, the dream, some core part of your particular self – and in order to mother another, you released it. There came for you a moment of conscious, sacred sacrifice. In that moment the self of yourself became a smoke, and the smoke went up to heaven as a perpetual prayer for the sake of your children.

And when it was voluntary, it was no less than divine. Never, never let anyone force such a gift from any woman! – for then it is not sacrifice at all. It is oppression.

But never, either, dear children, take such an extraordinary love for granted. It is holy. For this, in the face of such women, is the mind of Christ, who emptied himself for us. And then again, for us.

Ah, Mother, I am so slow to know, but now I know – and out of the knowledge wherewith my own children have burdened me I thank you. From an overflowing heart, I thank you, Mother, for your motherhood.

little-lamb-wangerinTaken from chapter 17, “The Altar of Motherhood,” of Walter Wangerin Jr.’s Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? A Book about Children and Parents  (Zondervan, 1993; reprinted in 2004).

This comes at the end of the author’s story of his struggle to care for the household after he and his wife reversed roles for a time (including a summer when he about went crazy!). He had begun his writing career and she returned temporarily to working full time to help support the family. They both found out this could not last, prompting him to praise his own mother and his wife for their sacrificial labor in the home.

Which brings to mind my own dear mother and my own dear wife and the sacrifices they made for me and my siblings and for our children, respectively. From “an overflowing heart” I also thank you, precious mothers for your motherhood.

“…Struck dumb by the impossible beauty” of God’s grace – W. Wangerin, Jr.

little-lamb-wangerinOne of the books I took along on vacation last week to continue reading was Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? A Book about Children and Parents  by Walter Wangerin, Jr. (Zondervan, 1993; reprinted in 2004. Mine is a first ed., hardcover).

As I have mentioned here before, Wangerin is one of my favorite Christian (Lutheran) authors. He has a way with words – sometimes humorous but always serious – as well as keen insights into the historic Christian faith and life. I came across some gems last week and decided to share a few of them here with you.

The first is taken from a chapter with the title “How Precious Did That Grace Appear,” which you may recognize as taken from the hymn “Amazing Grace.” As Wangerin describes his Lutheran confirmation ceremony (similar to our profession of faith), which involved answering questions about the Christian faith in front of the congregation (based on the Bible and the catechism of Luther), he relates the wonder of the truth of God’s saving grace – a blessed reality he came to experience more fully as he matured.

He tells of how he answered publicly and with conviction the question of his pastor “What is grace?” by quoting Eph. 2:8-9. But then, powerfully, he says this about the nature of the grace he just confessed:

I was a smart kid.

And yet I did not really know what I was talking about. I had just accomplished this most difficult task. I did it. Therefore, although I could speak well and wisely of grace, that was in itself the problem which condemned me: I could speak of grace, even glibly and casually. I was not struck dumb by the impossible beauty of the thing. I was not overwhelmed by the absolute absurdity, the flat illogic, the utter conundrum of this act of God.

Grace should not be.

In fact, by every moral and human right, grace cannot be.

Nevertheless, it is.

And without it, we die.

One ought to lay one’s hand upon one’s mouth in the presence of such a thaumaturge [that’s a great Greek-origin word to look up!] and answer nothing. One ought to confess that he has spoken without knowledge, that he has uttered things too wonderful for him, and so repent in dust and ashes.

But I was self-important in those days. I had not actually experienced love when I knew I didn’t deserve it.

Doctrine may teach us the definitions of our faith’s most fundamental truths; but the truths themselves elude us until we meet them ourselves and experience them: meet them, greet them, and find ourselves to be borne aloft by them. Then we know what hitherto we’d only learned by rote.

Wangerin is a faithful Christian husband and father and I highly recommend this book about his own godly rearing as a child and then his experience as a parent raising his own children. You will laugh and you will cry, but most of all you will grow in the knowledge and experience of that “precious grace” of our perfect Father.

 

I have another gem for you – this time about praying for a sick child. Marvelous!

Thinking and Acting Covenantally, Not Contractually – M. Horton

ordinary-MHorton-2014In connection with a critique of the avarice (greed) and narcissism (self-centeredness) of our present culture, theologian Michael Horton has some powerful things to say about the importance of Christians having a covenantal and not contractual way of thinking and living.

After describing how the contractual view of life works, where everything revolves around contracts and a conditional system of giving goods and services to one another (which can work this way too: “If at some point your partner fails to keep his or her part of the bargain, you can get out of the contract.”), Horton writes next:

A covenantal way of thinking is different. In the biblical covenants, God is the sovereign Creator and Lord. We do not ‘own’ ourselves, but we are God’s image bearers, accountable to him not only for how we relate to him but also for how we relate to others. God speaks, and we hear. Therefore, we never start from a position of autonomy [that is, ruling ourselves], electing to cede some of our sovereignty to God in exchange for certain benefits and securities. He gives us life, provides for us, commands us, and makes promises that he always fulfills according to his faithfulness. As his image bearers, then, we relate to each other covenantally: as husband and wife, as parents and children, and as members of the household of faith. In marriage, I yield my whole self to the other person and vice versa, regardless of poverty, sickness, or shortcomings, ’till death us do part.”

In a covenantal paradigm, I am bound intrinsically to God and to others in ways that transcend any good or service I can calculate (pp129-30).

A little later Horton expands on this, applying it to our life in the church as well as more broadly:

Imagine the difference that a covenantal way of thinking could make in our view of church membership, in our marriage and family life, and in our relationships with others at work and in the neighborhood. When everything turns on my free will, relationships – even with God – are contracts that we make and break. When everything turns on God’s free grace, relationships – even with each other – become gifts and responsibilities that we accept as God’s choice and will for our good and his glory (p.134).

And this, then, is how he concludes this section:

So it is not simply by understanding doctrine that we uproot narcissism and materialism. It is by actually taking our place in a local expression of that concrete economy of grace instituted by God in Christ and sustained by his Word and Spirit. At least in its design, this economy is governed by a covenantal rather than contractual logic. In the covenant of grace, God says to us, ‘I’m with you to the end, come what may.’ Only from this position of security can we say the same to our spouse, children, and fellow believers. And from this deepest contentment we can fulfill our covenants in the world ‘as unto the Lord,’ even when others break their contracts (p.135).

I find this a wonderfully refreshing and encouraging way for us to see our life as Reformed Christians – and much in harmony with the PRC view of the covenant: never a contract or agreement, but a precious relationship of friendship and fellowship with our Friend-Sovereign, the living Triune God of perfect fellowship, built on His sovereign, free grace to us in Jesus Christ. What a way to think and act – in every sphere of life!

These thoughts are taken from chapter 7 of Michael Horton’s Or-di-nary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), which I am currently making my way through. The chapter is simply titled “Contentment.”

Book Alert: “Handle with Care!” – Dr. J. Kennedy

Handle-with-care-kennedyA few months ago I was made aware of a new book produced by Dr. Julian Kennedy and today I want to notify you of it while reserving fuller review for later (cf. note below).

The book is Handle with Care! A Biblical and Reformed Guide to Sexuality for Young People (Wipf & Stock, 2017; paper & epub, 114 pp.).

You will find this summary of the book at the publisher’s site:

God’s good gift of sexuality has been corrupted since the fall of man into sin so that man in his depravity is not able to use it for God’s glory and for his own good. Sex between unmarried (fornication), adultery, including divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality are accepted as normal in modern society and young people, even Christian young people, are being influenced by this Satanic lie that “if it feels good–do it!” This booklet is sent out with the prayer that it will save many young people from heartache and the curse that these serious sexual sins will bring on them. There is the good way, the biblical or reformed way for living chastely as a single person, finding and courting a mate, and marrying and staying faithful to that mate. This booklet has been a long time since inception to publication! First conceived thirty years ago, very few copies of an older version were produced by Covenant Keepers for young people in Singapore in 2011. The original has been substantially expanded by quotations from Protestant Reformed Church ministers.

In his “Introduction” the author offers us these important thoughts on this timely topic:

This booklet aims to explain the truth about sex, love and marriage from the view of the Reformed* Faith of Scripture. God alone, who instituted the first marriage, can tell us what love really is and how sex in marriage can be used for the greatest benefit. Much will be said in this booklet that contradicts the popular notions
about sex that are portrayed in the glossy popular magazines, newspapers and on TV soaps, in films, or in novels of today, where people hop in and out of bed and of marriages, with sad and destructive consequences to themselves and any children involved. God knows that building a lasting relationship on the rock of scriptural truth will mean it will stand in the storms of life. Prevention is better than cure, so practice godly courtship and marriage and save yourself from much heartache and many problems. The statistics on cohabitation, fornication, divorce, adultery, teenage pregnancy and homosexuality even among professing believers show how God’s instructions are being ignored and it is my prayer that this booklet will help many to find God’s best in love, marriage and sex.

We thank Dr. Kennedy for his contribution to the literature available on sexuality – rare because it is Reformed. Reformed because it is rooted in God’s Word (biblical!) and the Reformed confessions of the historic church.

Knowing a book’s contents help reveal its value. I trust as you review this content of Handle with Care! that you will see its value:

Part One: What God Says
Chapter 1
Dynamite!—Handle With Care | 3
Chapter 2
Battle for the Mind—Impure Thoughts | 5
Chapter 3
Why Wait? | 14
Chapter 4
Homosexuality | 18
Chapter 5
Two Become One | 22
Chapter 6
The Proper Basis and Purpose of Marriage | 25
Chapter 7
Singleness | 29

Part Two: The Facts of Life
Chapter 8
How Does Sex Start? | 39
Chapter 9
Men versus Women—What’s the Difference? | 41
Chapter 10
Boy Meets Girl | 44
Chapter 11
Friendships | 46

Part Three: Finding the Right Mate
Chapter 12
The Meaning of Love | 51
Chapter 13
Finding Your Help Meet | 55
Chapter 14
For Girls Only | 57
Chapter 15
Courtship, Dating and Right Relationships | 59
Chapter 16
The Wedding is Soon | 79
Chapter 17
Family Planning | 81

Appendix—The Reformed Faith: The Five Solas | 89

I have requested a review copy of this new title. When I have that in hand, I will be better able to make a more full evaluation of this book.

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A Godly Mother

Mothersday2011

A Godly Mother

A special gift that God prepared for me –
‘Twas given me ere I saw the light of day;
This gift was someone specially prepared
To guide my footsteps in His holy way.

Day after day she cared for me and taught
Not just the skills I’d need for daily living;
She taught me first of all to seek His face
In joy and sorrow, working, playing, giving.

She held before me God’s own word, that it
Could be a light upon my pathway ever.
She helped me learn to sing Jehovah’s praise,
And told me of the love that naught can sever.

She taught me to confess my sins, and seek
to flee from evil thoughts and words and deeds,
To follow righteousness; stand firmly in the faith;
Turn from the wrong and follow where He leads.

So through the years, her godly walk has been
A source of strength – a life to emulate.
I thank the Lord for His gift of a mother
Who taught me reverence for His name so great.

A Mother’s Day poem written by Mrs. Thelma Westra, a fellow church member at Faith PRC. They may be found in her  collection of Christian poetry titled Poems of Praise (self-published), p.44.

Today may we rise up and call our godly mothers blessed, even as we bless the God who gave them to us (Prov.31:28). I am thankful for my own godly mother, for the godly mother of our children (my wife), and for her godly mother. You are truly beautiful women and your price is “far above rubies” (v.10). May you hear God’s honor and praise through us and your children today.

For another encouraging word to godly mothers and women in Israel, read Rev. Josh Engelsma’s post on the RFPA blog yesterday. Here’s the first part of it; find the rest at the link above.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. The stores are stocked with “World’s #1 Mom” cards. The greenhouses are filled with husbands and children picking out hanging baskets and flower pots. Mothers and grandmothers everywhere are receiving hugs and text messages of thanks.

They are not likely to be forgotten.

And this is perfectly appropriate. For many of us we have had faithful, loving mothers. We are appreciative of their devotion, hard work, and self-sacrifice, and we want them to know it.

But there are some for whom this day is not one of rejoicing. Rather it’s a day of sadness. It’s a day in which they hold their pain close and pretend like everything is alright. It’s a day they wish would be over again for another year.

Sadly, these women are likely to be forgotten.

They might be forgotten because we don’t know about their struggle. It’s too private, too personal, and they aren’t ready to share it. They also might be forgotten simply because, well, we forgot. We didn’t stop to think about what they’re going through.

But they’re there. They’re present among us, shouldering silently a heavy burden.

Toward a Christian View of Economics – Albert Mohler

biblical-economicsAs we start our next six-day work week today, there are many things on our minds. Probably a Christian view of economics is not among those things. We have schedules to keep, hours to fulfill, and, quite simply, jobs to get done. What benefit is a Christian view of economics going to do us?

But, as we know from experience as well as from what we have been taught, perspective makes all the difference in the world. Our world and life view shapes all we do and how we do it, including our daily work.

In the February issue of Tabletalk Dr. Al Mohler penned an article for the rubric “City on a Hill” titled “Toward a Christian View of Economics,” and I believe it is a good piece for us to consider as we start the week.

The principles he sets forth apply not only to corporate economics, but to personal economics as well. When you read these, check your own personal view of work, money, and stewardship with these points. How biblical is your economics?

He prefaces his article with these words:

Regrettably, many American Christians know little about economics. Furthermore, many Christians assume that the Bible has nothing at all to say about economics. But a biblical worldview actually has a great deal to teach us on economic matters. The meaning of work, the value of labor, and other economic issues are all part of the biblical worldview. Christians must allow the economic principles found in Scripture to shape our thinking. Here, then, are twelve theses for what a Christian understanding of economics must do.

And then he gives those 12 theses, the first 5 of which I give you here (find the other 7 at the Ligonier link below). Later in these theses, Mohler has some significant things to say about the family and how healthy families factor into good economics.

1. It must have God’s glory as its greatest aim.

For Christians, all economic theory begins with an aim to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). We have a transcendent economic authority.

2. It must respect human dignity.

No matter the belief system, those who work show God’s glory whether they know it or not. People may believe they are working for their own reasons, but they are actually working out of an impulse that was put into their hearts by the Creator for His glory.

3. It must respect private property and ownership.

Some economic systems treat the idea of private property as a problem. But Scripture never considers private property as a problem to be solved. Scripture’s view of private property implies that owning private property is the reward of someone’s labor and dominion. The eighth and tenth commandments teach us that we have no right to violate the financial rewards of the diligent.

4. It must take into full account the power of sin.

Taking the Bible’s teaching on the pervasive effects of sin into full account means that we expect bad things to happen in every economic system. A Christian economic understanding tries to ameliorate the effects of sin.

5. It must uphold and reward righteousness.

Every economic and government system comes with embedded incentives. An example of this is the American tax code, which incentivizes desired economic behaviors. Whether they work is an issue of endless political recalibration. However, in the Christian worldview, that recalibration must continue to uphold and reward righteousness.

Source: Toward a Christian View of Economics by Albert Mohler

Late Labor Day Thoughts: The Reformation and Christian Vocation – G. Veith

Though it is late this Labor Day and I am weary (partly from a ten-mile bike ride with grandchildren and partly from some home projects that this beautiful day afforded us the opportunity to do), I do want to make a post on the subject of labor tonight.

God-at-work-Veith-2002Sorting through some books I picked up at a local thrift store Saturday, I found  a duplicate copy of Gene E. Veith, Jr.’s book God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Crossway, 2002). I took it home today and started browsing it, and found it to be a profitable work on the nature of our work as Christians. And Veith, being a good Lutheran, rooted his explanation of vocation in Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the biblical doctrine of calling and the believer’s office of priest.

In his opening chapter, “Introduction: The Christian’s Calling in the World,” Veith describes the classic Reformation doctrine as taught by Luther. I can only give you a few glimpses, but this book is certainly worth your time.

‘The priesthood of all believers’ did not make everyone into church workers; rather, it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling. A major issue at the time [of the Reformation] was the prohibition of marriage for people in the religious orders. The Reformers looked at Scripture and insisted that marriage is ordained by God and that the family, far from being somewhat less spiritual than the life of a hermit or anchorite, is the arena for some of the most important spiritual work. A father and a mother are ‘priests’ to their children, not only taking care of their physical needs, but nourishing them in the faith. Every kind of work, including what had heretofore been looked down upon – the work of peasants and craftsmen – is an occasion for priesthood, for exercising a holy service to God and to one’s neighbor.

I found these paragraphs profitable too:

The Reformation may have resulted in a ‘Protestant work ethic,’ but this was not due to the pressure to prove one’s election by worldly success, as certain social scientists ludicrously maintain. Rather, the work ethic emerged out of an understanding of the meaning of work and the satisfaction and fulfillment that come from ordinary human labor when seen through the light of the doctrine of vocation.

That the Reformation was the time in which the Protestant church enjoyed its greatest cultural influence – in art, literature, music, as well as in social institutions – has to do with the doctrine of vocation (p.21).

To Mom: RFPA Blog

This post first appeared Friday, May 6, 2016, on the blog of the Reformed Free Publishing Association. It is used here by permission of the author.

It is a wonderful tribute to the blessing of our covenant mothers. May they hear such praise from their children (and husbands!) today. By God’s grace, because of Christ and His Spirit.

To: Mom

NEW BLOG POST | May 6, 2016

Dear Mom,

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to let you know how thankful to God we are for you. Our gratitude certainly isn’t limited to this one day, but we don’t mind having a special day to show our appreciation for all you have done and are doing for us.

Time would fail us to tell of the many things for which we are thankful. We could go on for quite a while about your love, your patience, your self-sacrifice, and a host of other things. But we’ll save that for another time.

What we want to say “thanks” for today is the different roles you fill so capably in our lives. We know that the world doesn’t think too highly of your position. We know they look down their nose at you as someone who is uneducated and has no real skill set. We know they like to run down your calling as something unglamorous and undesirable.

But we disagree. We know better. And here are just a few of the reasons why:

  1. You are a highly trained doctor and nurse. You keep a fully stocked pharmacy in the house and know how to use it. You are always ready with a kiss for that stubbed toe, a Band-Aid for that skinned knee, and regular doses of ibuprofen for that high fever. When we feel like we have to throw-up during the middle of the night, you’re there to catch it with a bucket and clean it up when our aim is off. And when you need backup, you’re always happy to cart us to the doctor’s office and get us what we need. And don’t get us started on your bedside manner. Simply unparalleled.
  1. You are a renowned nutritionist and chef. Every week you plan our meals and return from the grocery store with hundreds of dollars’ worth of food for us. You keep a close eye on our junk food intake, and are quick to supplement our diet with a steady stream of fruits and veggies. Your kitchen is open seemingly around the clock—for breakfast, lunch, and supper, and every moment in-between. And, what often goes unnoticed, is that you double as head dishwasher as well.
  1. You run a top-of-the-line clothing department. We’ve never lacked for clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet. You’ve spent countless hours at the mall, at the second-hand store, at the garage sales, hunting for new pants (because we wore holes in the knees) and new shirts (because we spilled supper on them) and new shoes (because our feet grew two sizes over the summer). And then you wash them. And fold them. And mend them. And iron them. And put them away. And pick them up off the floor. And then wash them again.
  1. You operate a chauffeur-service that could rival Uber, except you don’t make a dime. You take us to and from school. You make a special trip with the lunchbox that we left on the counter. You take us to doctor and dentist appointments. You drive us to practice and ball games. You take us to piano lessons. You haul us to and from our friends’ houses.
  1. You are our first and favorite teacher. You helped us learn history and science and spelling and geography. You stayed up late helping us with our math homework. But especially you taught us about our heavenly Father. Since we were just a few years old, you taught us about God, and creation, and sin, and forgiveness, and the cross of Jesus Christ. You read us our first Bible stories. You taught us to pray on our knees before bed. You taught us our catechism lessons. You reviewed our memory verses for school. You taught us to sing the Psalms. You taught us about repentance and forgiveness, about love for God and love for our neighbor.

And, what’s even more astounding, is that you manage to fill all these roles (and more!) at the same time!

The reason why we mention these things is not to praise you (because we know you wouldn’t want that), but just to let you know that what seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated was noticed and was appreciated.

So, thanks, Mom! And know that we are deeply grateful to your and our Father for placing you in our lives.

We “arise up, and call [you] blessed” (Prov. 31:28)!

With all our love,

Your children

__________________

This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.

Published in: on May 8, 2016 at 8:48 AM  Comments (1)