Proverbs 31:10-32                                                                                                                                                                     2 Timothy 1:1-7                                                                                                                                                               “Thank God For Godly Women”                                                                                                                                     May 8 2016  (Mother’s Day)   

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.  There’s an old saying that God couldn’t be everywhere at once, so he made moms. That   statement may not be theologically accurate, but it does convey a great attitude towards motherhood.  Our moms fill a place in our lives that no one else can fill. Every mom is aware that her job involves much more than cooking and cleaning and carpooling and many times working outside the home. It involves nurture, it involves guidance, it involves building character. And the job doesn’t end when a child moves out of the house.  So on Mother’s day preachers stand in pulpits and extol the virtues of motherhood. You, perhaps, came to Church today expecting to hear a typical Mother’s Day sermon,  but maybe this will be more than typical.  

          As much as all of us have been blessed by and nurtured by our mothers, I want to expand the typical “thanks Mom” of Mother’s Day to say: “Thanks!” “Bless you!” “Thanks for all you do!” to all of the women of Edgewood who play such a vital role in shaping the lives of the children, youth, and indeed all of us here at Edgewood.  “Thanks!” “Bless you!” “Thanks for all you do!” to all the women of Edgewood who do so much to help us accomplish what we accomplish as a Church.                        The sermon title in the bulletin for today says: Thank God For Godly Women. Yes, thank God for Godly mothers,  but more than that, Thank God for Godly women.  I am so thankful for the Godly mothers of Edgewood,  but I am really thankful for all the Godly women of Edgewood, whether they are mothers or not,  married or single,  who play such a vital role in our Church.  The Godly women who play such a vital role in the Christian education and nurture of our young people, who play such a vital role in all aspects of our Church, who serve in the kitchen as well as on the Session, who busy themselves with the crafts as well as with the leadership, who work behind the scenes and in the spotlight.  Wherever you look at Edgewood, you will find a Godly woman, whether they are mothers or not, blessing us all by their commitment to being the women God has called them to be and leading us as a Church to be the Church God is calling us to be.

Thank God for Godly mothers, but more than that, thank God for Godly women.

In our New Testament lesson from 2 Timothy for today, Paul is giving praise to God for the faith of Timothy, a faith his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois passed on to him. 

Passing on the faith. Making sure that others know about God.  That’s the work of Godly mothers, but more than that, that’s the work of Godly women.

When Paul wrote 2 Timothy he was in prison.  He had been arrested for preaching the Gospel of Christ in disobedience to Caesar’s orders. Paul sent Timothy, a young man he led to the Lord, to Ephesus to tend to the Church there in his absence. Paul established the Ephesian Church when he returned from his second missionary journey. Ephesus was an important place to establish a Church, as it was the capital city of 230 independent communities in the Roman province of Asia. If the Gospel was preached in Ephesus, it would spread outward from there like spokes on a wagon wheel. But Ephesus was a battleground between Christianity and paganism. Into this battleground Paul sent one young man to be a leader while he could not be there himself.  Paul sent Timothy in large part because of the work that his mother and grandmother had begun in him when he was a child, and the faith that had been planted in him. Paul knew that Timothy grew up in a Godly home. Paul knew that Timothy had a sincere faith.  Paul knew that Timothy’s faith  began in his grandmother, was passed down to his mother, who in turn passed it down to him. Though neither directly led Timothy to salvation, Paul did that, but it was his grandmother’s and mother’s actions that planted a seed that would one day blossom into the flower of Christian faith and leadership in Timothy.

All this is to say that Lois and Eunice were Godly women in a time when godliness was not fashionable. Thank God for women who are willing to be Godly,  even when it may not be fashionable or popular or easy.   Godly women, women who are willing to step up to the plate and give of themselves, their time, their very souls to serve God and others in the Church and the community, are a blessing.

Just as Godly women were desperately needed in New Testament times, Godly women are desperately needed today!

What does it take to be a Godly woman, a woman who is willing to step up to the plate and make a difference, who is willing to give of herself to serve God?

First, it takes accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. You can’t be a Godly woman until you do that. You have to choose the way of God over the way of the world. In Romans 12:2 Paul urges Christians: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. The world offers many things that look beautiful, yet turn out to be useless.   We need women who are committed to the lasting things of Christ instead of the worthless things the world tempts us with.  You may outwardly be the most beautiful woman in this Church today, but if you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior then that beauty is indeed only skin deep. You need to be beautiful in Christ.  You need to be a Godly woman, who loves God and is willing to step up and help tell others about Christ. Accepting Christ is the first step to being Godly woman. 

The second thing it takes to be a Godly woman  is this: be willing to spend time with and train your children if you are a mother, or any child who needs it, in the Church or not, whether you are a mother of not. Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-15:

4But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Timothy, as he was growing up, may have made all the same mistakes that our own children, and we ourselves, may have made. He may have gone through his rebellious stage, he may have spent time experimenting in the things of world, he may have  went out “with the boys” and he may have done all the wrong things. Yet his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice planted the seeds of the Gospel in his heart by teaching him about God from the time he was a child. They shared with him a love of the Scriptures. Later on in his life when Paul led him to Christ, this foundation laid by his godly mother and grandmother came into play. That’s the influence of a Godly woman!

I read of a man who. as a young child, prayed every night a simple prayer his mother taught him.  Maybe you prayed it also. I know I did.  The prayer was:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray, dear Lord, my soul to take.

His mother taught him that prayer when he was a small child, kneeling at the foot of his bed. His mother came in every night to kiss him goodnight, and she’d always ask, “Have you said your prayers?” If he had forgotten, he’d get up from the bed and say his prayers.  As a teenager he ran away from home, got in trouble and ended up in a Juvenile Hall. As he would lay in his bunk every night, he would remember and pray the same prayer his mother had taught him as a child. After his release from Juvenile Hall, he continued to not live the right way or make wise choices in what he did. One night he was knocked unconscious and left for dead by one of his “friends” while out partying, and when he woke up in the hospital the next day he prayed the same prayer his mother had taught him as a child. Finally, he accepted Christ as his savior and, with tears in his eyes, prayed that same child’s prayer.   After coming to faith in Christ, he said that the prayer meant something to him as a child, but it meant so much more now.  That simple prayer his godly mother taught him finally brought him to Christ. That’s the influence of a Godly woman!

We need you, the Godly women we have at Edgewood!  In fact, we need more women who, whether they are mothers or not, married or single, are willing to play a vital role in our Church.  We need more Godly women who are willing to play a vital role in the Christian education and nurture of our young people, who are willing to  play a vital role in all aspects of our Church, who are willing to serve in the kitchen as well as on the Session, who are willing to busy themselves with crafts as well as with leadership, who are willing to work behind the scenes and in the spotlight, who are willing to work wherever and do whatever is needed, and bless us all by their commitment to being the women God has called them to be.  We need Godly women who are committed to leading us as to be the Church God has called us to be.

We need more women who know Jesus as their savior, who are committed to taking the time to train our young people in God’s ways, or do whatever they can to make Edgewood the Church God would have us be!

I, and I trust that all of us, want to say on this Mother’s Day  “Thanks” “Bless you!” “Thanks for all you do!” to our Godly women here at Edgewood! We certainly thank God for you!  Amen.