Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Spoon

Sometimes I still miss my mom who died more than seven years ago. This is from May 13, 2012

I preached this Mothers' Day morning to our Chinese congregation. Although I did not focus on mothers, I concentrated on family with my topic being the Recabites and their story in Jeremiah 35. You may remember this clan in Israel who in response to a command from their ancestor, Jonadab, had not drank one drop of wine in hundreds of years. Jeremiah, at God's direction, brings them into the temple and offers them wine which they, according to their vow, refuse. Jeremiah then prophesies greatness for the Recabites and disaster for His children of Israel who had disobeyed His teachings as given through the prophets.

As I approached the wrap up point of the sermon, I reached into my suit pocket and pulled out the spoon you see at the top along with my baby portrait. There's a story just like there always is. My mother, as many of you know, was a victim of Alzheimer's. About thirteen years ago, before it hit or at least became so apparent, I was in St. Louis visiting my folks. They were in the stage of asking us what we wanted of their possessions when they died. Mom was adamant. I had already passed on both sets of china and the cabinet which housed those heirlooms. She asked if I wanted the silverware, the only set I had ever known for company in our house. Again, I explained that as a bachelor, it would be better use in the homes of my siblings. Finally, she thought of an idea. Mom went to the silverware box and extracted the baby spoon from the big knives/forks/spoons and carving utensils. She presented me with the spoon I was fed with as an infant and toddler. It was a solution only a mother could conceive. And it was my object lesson this morning.

The spoon has become tarnished over the years but in its day, it fed me all the stuff babies are forced to eat against their will, like creamed green peas and strained carrots, and the worst, squash. I'm sure there was JELLO mixed in and probably some Cream Of Wheat and I would guess my brothers Dave and Scott dined from the same spoon. But that's not all my mother fed me.She fed me a daily dose of the Word of God and all those Bible songs which are forever ingrained in my subconscious. She fed me a daily dose of discipline and blistered the backs of my legs when required. She fed me a daily dose of work ethic as an award winning elementary teacher who still found time to fix wonderful meals, keep an impeccable house, function flawlessly as a preacher's wife, and be a Den Mother and surrogate mom to a bunch of little boys in Cub Scouts. Most of all, she fed me a daily dose of love even when I was unlovable except to a mother and they sort of are obligated by law and nature and the Lord. She didn't know us the last nine or ten years but she never lost her sweetness or her kindness or her manners or her love. I've never lost the spoon which reminds me of the woman who brought me into this world and helped prepare me for the next one. Jesus told Satan that, 'Man does not live on bread alone.' Today, I thank God for the woman who fed me physically with that tiny utensil and spiritually with as big a heart as the Lord ever implanted into a mom. And on this day and every future day, praise God for mothers.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Just as a mother finds pleasure in taking her little child on her lap, there to feed and caress him, in like manner our loving God shows His fondness for His beloved souls who have given themselves entirely to Him and have placed all their hope in His goodness."
Alphonsus Liguori

God bless,
Steve (son of Sarah Nelda Chesshir Hawley)
Luke 18:1
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Susan said...

Steve, this was so sweet! I don't know when I will stop crying, but I could just picture Nelda giving you the spoon. I miss her!

In Christ's love,


Steve Hawley said...

Thanks, Susan!