Making The Most of Whatever Time It Is

Exploring God's Timing As It Relates To Motherhood.

Ross Sawyers
May 9, 2021    41m
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In this Mother's Day message, we are taught about God's timing as it relates to the journey of motherhood. Many times, in the journey of motherhood, we experience ups and downs, joy and pain, and it helps us to remember that there is a season for everything under God. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: 00:00 Mother's Day lunch will be more about him, I think, I love it. What a gift that children are. Last week we had the opportunity to have in front of us, our graduating seniors. And this week we get to see so many that given birth recently, and to dedicate their children. And our church is old enough now where a family has dedicated a child, that we also see them as the ones graduating out, and all the things in between. We see the salvation of children and teenagers, and their baptism, and then to see them grow in their faith, their love for the Lord over time. And then there's just so many more milestones beyond the high school years that we get to be a part of. So what a gift today to be able to think about and honor our moms. In the 10 commandments that God gave Moses, one of those was to honor our father and our mother, and part of what we want to do this morning is to make sure that we really honor our mothers well.

Ross Sawyers: 01:12 If you don't mind, if you have the Scriptures, if you'll turn there to Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 1 through 8, is where we'll be anchoring ourselves in God's word. And I want us to think about how we make the most of whatever time it is. In other words, how do we make the most of the moment? And this scripture will help us as we anchor in to that idea. A few weeks ago, I was spending some time with Elvis Gallegos, our mission pastor, and as we were talking, I was talking about being focused and present. That's one of the things I continue to pray, that I can be totally focused in the moment, with whoever I'm with, or whatever the situation is. And he just made a comment, he said, we'll be where your feet are. And I've just lingered on that for a while, I thought that's a fantastic way to think about presence is just being where our feet are. And I really think that's the idea in Ecclesiastes 3,, that we would just be where our feet are, whatever the moment is, and whatever it calls for, whether it's a difficult moment or whether it's a good moment.

Ross Sawyers: 02:19 If you're familiar with Ecclesiastes, you might be wondering, gee, I thought we would be a little more upbeat on Mother's Day, then a book that basically says all of life is vanity, and emptiness, and futility. The writer r just says, he says, you can labor well, you can do well in your job, you can live in the neighborhood that you desired to live in, you can have the car that you desired to have, you can have the possessions, the toys, the adult toys that you like to play with and enjoy, you can do all of that, and he says, life can still be empty. You could also have a life that you never in greatest imagination thought it would be like this, this was not what I had in mind, that also can be empty and futile. Either way. It can be empty or futile. Now, if that's where the book landed, we would pretty well leave depressed, but that's not where he lands. He goes to great links to show the futility of life, but life actually has meaning, and purpose, and satisfaction, and joy, in all those things I just described, if God is at the center of it. If he's not, it's vain, it's empty. If he is, it's full, and meaningful, and satisfying, even in the toughest of spots. So I'd like forced to think about making the most of our time, making the most of whatever time it is in that particular moment.

Ross Sawyers: 04:00 Let's begin in chapter 3 verse 1, if you have the Scriptures, if not, you'll be able to track along with the scripture on the screens, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven." There's a point in time for everything. When we are thinking about our discipleship path at 121, one of the ways we've designed it is through these eight ways that are simple ways to teach everyone ways to grow in their intimacy and walk with Jesus. In the discovery Bible study method we're teaching, part of what we're asking when we study the Scriptures is what does this say about God? The Scripture is not primarily about us, that's not who the story is about, we're secondary characters in the story. God is the primary character, everything is centered on God, it's his story. So we want to ask, when we read scripture, what does this say about God? In verse 1, it says that God has appointed a time for everything. When we look at how life unfolds, and we'll see in the way he describes this here, when we see life unfolding, we don't have to wonder if God is in that or not. We don't have to wonder if there's an appointed time for that. We don't have to wonder if he's absent in this particular event that's occurred under heaven. God is sovereign overall, and is Abraham Kuyper said, "Every square inch is God's, and every moment in time is God's." And he is the one that has appointed time, he's appointed everything under that time, there is a time for every event under heaven, God is a sovereign God.

Ross Sawyers: 05:49 We see unfolding here, the full range of human experience, the full range of human experience unfolds in these verses. And I want us to think specifically about moms today in light of this, and I also want us to think about children, of which all of us are. When we think about moms, Travis mentioned this when he was leading us in worship a few minutes ago, there are a number of ways that that people approach this day. There are moms who are grieving today. There are moms who have adopted children, moms who have fostered several children. There are single moms either by divorce or being widowed. There's homeschool moms, there's private school moms, public school moms, there's blended family moms, working moms, stay at home moms. There are moms who are spiritual mentors to someone that is not their biological daughter. There are moms who are also those moms to young men who need them. I absolutely love my mom, and I love my dad, and I'm so grateful for so many things in my home. What I did not have growing up was a mom and dad who followed after Christ most of the time, or who were a part of the church until my middle and high school years, then my mom was. But I'm so grateful for Marilyn Thomas, we were singing earlier in the first service, and she just came to my mind. And Marilyn Thomas was an attendance office worker at the high school where I attended, she took an interest in me, she prayed for me. When God saved me at age 16, I was at their house quite a bit in my high school years. So while my mom and dad fulfilled one piece of their role with me, there was a spiritual mom and others that God placed in my life, that were helping me in my walk with Jesus. And so, there are spiritual moms in here today that have stepped in the gap for those that may not have that in their homes. So when we think about you today, somewhere, I think you might've fallen in one of those realms of a mom, maybe multiple realms there. And if I missed something, I apologize, I did my best at thinking through as many scenarios as possible within our church.

Ross Sawyers: 08:31 When we think about that, though, we go to verse 2, he says, "There's a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted." There's a time to give birth. Now, what we know is that every person in this room, and every person who's worshiping with us online, and every person who's in the flex room worshiping with us, we know that every one of us today, that there was a time when we were born, there is a time when we entered into this world. And what I want you to know today, because sometimes depending on the circumstances of your conception and how you came into this world, there are people that think that they're not a value, not of worth, they weren't planned, I want you to know today that regardless of how you are conceived, that inside that womb, and when you exited that womb, God has his love set on you. He loves you, he values you, you're made in the image of God, that's why every person is of worth today. It's been born inside the womb, persons of value, because God puts the value on who you are, you're made in his image.

Ross Sawyers: 09:43 I want us just to read for a moment, Psalm 139 verses 13 through 16, and as we read this, would you just think about your mom and think about how God formed your mom? We tend to just think of our moms, like in the certain whatever...We don't tend to think of her this way, probably. So just think about your mom for a moment, and then if not that, just think about yourself today in the way God sees you for you, "For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb." That's what God did, he wove my mom in her mother's womb, and he formed her. "I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works. My mom was wonderful, my wife, who is a mom is wonderful, and we can know today that every one of us are wonderful in God's eyes. That's how he sees us, we might not believe that, but God believes that. "Wonderful are his works.", and he believes that, you're wonderful to him. And then this Psalmist says, "And my soul knows it very well." What a great way to live, knowing in the depths of my soul, that I'm wonderful in the eyes of God. "My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully formed in the depths of the earth; your eyes have seen my unformed substance." You saw my mom's unformed substance, "And in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."

Ross Sawyers: 11:12 Now interesting, isn't it that he says in verse 2, "There's a time to give birth and a time to die." It says in Psalm 139, is that there are a certain number of days that God has allotted for each person. Now, why some people get a longer amount of days and some people get a shorter amount of days, I don't know the answer to that question. I do know that God is sovereign. He's appointed everything that is under heaven, and he's sovereignly given us a certain number of days. Children are a gift of the Lord, and the that we have are a gift. There's a time to give birth and there's a time to die.

Ross Sawyers: 12:07 On this Mother's Day, two years ago, my mom was sitting right over here. This is where she sat when she came and visited. She was faithful in her Presbyterian church for 30 plus years, and she would show up here often to be with her sons, and this is where she was. On that particular day, my brothers and I and our family, we were going to celebrate with her, and that was rare for us on Mother's Day itself. Because each of us have wives that are mothers, we were often with our own families, and we do separate things with my mom. But two years ago, in God's grace, we were actually all together, our whole family. And my brother Lloyd, it was either go big or go home for him, and so it went from, let's kind of gather up, to we were doing full on [inaudible], you know, right after church, and we celebrated well. And little would I know that in thinking about a time to give birth and a time to die, that that would be the last time that we would have a big family gathering with my mom, that would be the last meal that we would have with my mom. Because a week later she would be in the hospital, five weeks later from then, she would be telling us, as her three sons, hey, don't let them do anything else to me in this hospital. I'm ready to go, and I'm ready to go be with the Lord, just let me go, and then she passed, eighty five years old, full life. Can I just encourage you though today, that whatever age a mom is, whether it's, you were four years old and your mom passed, or 25 years old and your mom passed, or 58 years old and your mom passed, everyone grieves differently, and grieves hard, and let them grieve the way they grieve. Even though my mom lived a full life, I wish today, my mom was sitting right here. If there's a meaningful relationship with a mom, you want your mom, I don't care how old you are. But in God's sovereignty and in his goodness, there is a time to give birth, and there's a time to die.

Ross Sawyers: 14:40 Death reminds us of how unnatural it is when it happens to a child in the womb, a small child, a teenager, an adult child. "There is a time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance." The more the years mount in my own life, the more reflective I become. And what it seems to me life is, is a mixture of this verse, it's just a big mixture of sorrow and joy. There are times of laughter and dancing, and there are times of mourning and weeping, and it seems those are usually interwoven. It's not like I'm just getting a laugh and dance for a season of time, right in the middle of it, I'm getting to mourn and grieve. The beauty of it in Christ. when I'm deeply rooted in Christ today, whether I'm mourning, weeping, laughing, or dancing, there is a joy that is there simply because I'm in Christ today. There's a time to mourn and a to weep.

Ross Sawyers: 16:26 There's a four chapter book of the Bible in the Old Testament, it's called Ruth, and in the outset of
that story, we're introduced to Naomi. Naomi and her husband moved from Israel, from their land of Israel, to the land of Moab, to another country, and they have two sons at the time, they make the move. While they're in this land that is unknown to them, Naomi loses her husband to an early death, and loses her two sons to death. Her two daughters in law are from the land of Moab, and she tells them she's going to return to Israel, and she wants her daughters in law to stay there. This is familiar to them, this is the land where they're from, this is where their gods are, so you just stay here. And Orpah, one of the daughters in law, she does. The other one, Ruth, she says, no, no. And how cool to think about on this Mother's Day, daughters in law who love their mother-in-law. Ruth says, no, she said, I'm going with you. I'm going to where your people are, they'll be my people. I'm going to where your God is, and he'll be my God. I'm going to where your land is, and that'll be my land, I'm in it with you.

Ross Sawyers: 18:05 And she goes, the two of them, and they make the journey back. Big gradings for Naomi as she comes, and she didn't want any of that. She said, no, no, don't call me Naomi, call me Mara, which means a bitterness. God's hand has been against me, there's a bitterness in her as she mourns and weeps the loss of her husband and her two sons. In God's kindness, he raises up what we know is called a kinsmen redeemer, another relative would raise up to marry Ruth, his name was Boaz. And through Boaz, then that family name would be carried on, the kinsmen would redeem the name. And God protects those two widows, and then restores some things for them. You don't get the other part restored, it's a mixture of sorrow and joy. Boaz and Ruth would bear a child, and Naomi would be a grandmother. The child's name was Obed, Naomi would be the nurse for that child, no doubt, laughing and dancing at the birth of that grandson. Obed is the father of Jesse, Jesse is the father of David, who's the second King of Israel through whom the promised Messiah would come, Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyers: 19:44 You see, God has a way of taking that which is mourning and weeping and sorrow, and turning it into laughter and dancing and joy. Only God can do that, and only when we're rooted with him at the center, will that happen. It may be that you're weeping and mourning today, a broken relationship. It could be a child that's wayward, an adult child that's on a path that's other than what you desired for them. It could be that you had a mom that abandoned you, and that's made it really difficult to really do life in a lot of ways. So there is a time to weep in the morning, and there's a time to laugh and dance.

Ross Sawyers: 20:36 Some of you may know Erma Bombeck, for years she wrote in columns to moms and families, and she was funny. She wrote and you know, there were 700 plus newspapers across the country she was in. And she just knew how to laugh, and she knew how to look at the things that were the mundane things in life, and how can we look at those and turn those into laughter and into joy. I was reading something the other day, and she said, it's in a news source that I receive, and thinking about mothers. And this is what Erma Bombeck said, "Cleanliness isn't next to godliness, it isn't even in the same neighborhood, she said, no one has ever gotten a...By the way, cleanliness is next to godliness, that's not in the scripture. Some people think because it's on your embroidered thing, you know, in the house that that's from the Bible, it's not, so just a little side note there. But she said no one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned on cheese from the grill or the toaster oven, she just found a way to make light and laugh.

Ross Sawyers: 21:47 My wife is more of an introvert, and the quiet ones you have to watch out for, but I love the laughter of my wife. And I love that my two sons and my wife have rhythm and love to dance, and I have none. And you never know this has been going on since they were small, and even now, you never know when they're going to break into some kind of a dance in the living room or the kitchen, and just bust out laughing because it's always something funny. But I almost can't think of too much better than being in the other room, and listening to my wife just burst out laughing when she's on the phone, talking to a friend, or when we're together and she's laughing. I love that God's given me a wife who loves to laugh and loves to dance. I'm grateful for a wife, who really the only thing she's ever wanted to do is be faithful to her husband and love him well, and faithful to her kids and love them well, and she has.

Ross Sawyers: 23:09 I'm grateful for so many that do that well. There's a pastor in Kansas, his name's, I'll just say his first name, is Tom, and his mother's name was Delight. How about that? There's a lot to live up to when you're named Delight, a lot of pressure with that, and apparently she was a Delight. Early on, she loved Jesus and started following Jesus, and she loved the scriptures, and she really had a heart and desire to be an international missionary one when she was able to do so. And she fell in love with a Minnesota farmer, never made it to the international mission field, she did raise seven children though. And Tom describes his mom and he said, as a mom, she just loved the scripture, she helped anybody that was in need, she always had a place at the table and enough food on any given night for anybody that came by, she was ready for them always to come by. When she was washing dishes, she sang hymns, she really practiced presence of God. But her husband met an early death, and Tom said in thinking about his mom, that despite being a widowed, single parent, that she had a resiliency in the suffering that was a model of Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." He just loved the model his mom was of following Jesus. He said she would tell him that there was such a great joy when he was born, and then he said he had the privilege of holding her hand when she took her last breath. He said, he wept, like he's never wept before, but he looks forward to the day, the new heavens and the new earth, where he will laugh and dance again with his mom, Delight. Oh, there's a time to weep and a time to mourn, and we should do it hard. And there's a time to laugh and a time to dance, and we should laugh and dance hard. There's a time for those things.

Ross Sawyers: 25:46 "There is a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; there is time to embrace and a time to shun embracing." Apparently pandemics are that time, we shunned embracing during those seasons of time, and then we can embrace, hopefully again.

Ross Sawyers: 26:01 "There's a time to search." And for those who have adoptive parents, sometimes there's a part in life where you yearn to know who that biological mom was, and you are on the search for that. And depending on what the circumstances were, that may be difficult and it may not be. "There's a time to give up as lost; and there is a time to keep and a time to throw away." You know those times don't you as a mom or as a child, multiple seasons of time where things just gathered, and it is a time now to decide what we're going to keep and what we're going to let go. And can I just encourage you this week to take this passage of scripture, and on a piece of paper, or if you keep a journal, go through this thinking about your own mom, or your kids. I've enjoyed thinking about that about my mom and Lisa this week, of these different kinds of times, and what are specific things within these times that you've experienced. I think that's a meaningful way to hang out in this passage.

Ross Sawyers: 27:05 You know, "There is a time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak." And when I thought about this one, I thought about Second Timothy chapter 1 verse 5, and Paul is talking to Timothy his young protégé who will follow him in ministry. And he's talking about his grandmother, Lois, and his mother Eunice. And he says they had a sincere faith, and they pass that faith on. And when I think about so many moms in our church that are passing on the Scriptures, that are speaking the Scriptures to their children. So many moms that are speaking and praying over their children. So many moms that are encouraging and cheering their children on, in those hard times in life, and there are a lot of hard times, and cheering them on, and you're the one right there, and you're the one embracing them. And then you've learned as a mom, there is a time that I don't need to speak, the best thing I can do is just listen, and the best thing I can do is just reach over and hug you and hang on to you, and that's all I got, and those will be some of the most meaningful words you never speak. "There's a time to talk, and there's a time to listen."

Ross Sawyers: 28:29 "There's a time to love; There's a time to hate." There's a time to hate the sin that wreaks havoc, and causes all kinds of brokenness in our world. It's okay, we should hate that. "There's a time to love." Love is to give ourselves away, it's for the benefit of another person. Erma Bombeck said, "A child needs your love when he or she deserves it the least." The time to love most deeply, the time to press in the greatest, is when a child deserves it the least. That's what Jesus did with us, he stepped in when we deserved it the least. As a child, it's time to step towards your mom when you think she deserves it the least.

Ross Sawyers: 29:29 I'll never forget this from what we call our Live weekends for our students, we call it Live, and the former name for that was Disciple Now. And we did one on family years ago when I was doing student ministry, and one of my good friends stood up to a bunch of students, and he said...It was probably, I don't know, 300 or 400 students, 200, I don't know what it was, but just a whole load of them. And he looks at them and he said, Hey, you need to give your parents a break. He had a 16 year old daughter, they had four kids, the 16 year old daughter was the oldest. And he said, I have a 16 year old daughter, and today is the first time I've ever parented her at this age, this is new for me too. And with each day that passes in raising a child, that is a brand new day, you've never done that before. I would say to us as adults, we should all give our parents a break, and then vice versa. Each day's a new day, we're trying to figure this out as each day passes.

Ross Sawyers: 30:37 "There's a time to love." A special needs mom, I read this story this week, and this particular mom said sometimes she wishes that she had the problems of somebody with, as she described it, a typical child. She said, I wish I had the problems of navigating social media with them. I wish I had the problems of trying to take care of conflict with friends because they don't really have an. I wish I had those problems instead of always making therapy appointments, and setting up IEP meetings. But she said, you know what? When I do that, I miss out on the joy of my own child.

Ross Sawyers: 31:26 A lady named Britt McLaughlin wrote a book for moms, and one of the things she said, "No matter how hard my children are to raise, they are the story God has asked me to live. And he's asked me to live that story in such a way that my responses bring glory to him." I started in verse one, God is the one that appoints the times in every event under heaven. He's the one that has given us our families, that is the story he is writing for us, and it's the story we're to live to bring glory to him. We're not going to understand that story, if we've not been written into it ourselves.

Ross Sawyers: 32:20 The last thing he says here in verse 8 is, "A time for war and a time for peace." And the way to live that story, and to get out of, if I can just expand here on the idea of that time for a war, that if we get out, there's a spiritual war that's going on for your soul and for mine. And the only way that we'll experience peace is to enter into the story of Jesus Christ. And when we look back at God's story and remember in Ecclesiastes, everything has value and worth when God is at the middle of the story. If God's not the middle of the story, it's futile, it's empty. We can be as smart as a whip, we can be as successful as the culture would say we can, we can be as woke as we can possibly be, and yet inside, deep, over time, it will be empty. But inside of God's story, a beautiful story, there is peace.

Ross Sawyers: 33:17 The first piece of his story, God created. And he created inside of his perfection, Eve, the mother of all the living, that's where it all began for us biologically, God's perfect design. Unfortunately, there's a next piece to the story, and her eyes started wandering and she went after something that wasn't for her, and increasingly a bummer. Is that her husband who was to be a covering and a protection for her, went with it, and that cost all of us. It's why we have brokenness in our world. It's why, the curse in Genesis 3, that those who have biologically given birth, that there was pain in that childbirth, that's a result of sin. The child is a gift, the pain is a result of sin.

Ross Sawyers: 34:28 But my hunch is today, from moms I've talked to and those young women who desire to be moms, I wonder if this broken world, the greater pain is the inability to have a child? But God meets you in that spot as well. In First Samuel, we see that with Hannah as she pleads with God to open her womb. God did open the womb of a virgin, and in God's unfolding story, Jesus Christ, according to Galatians chapter 4 verse 4, came into this world, born of a woman, at just the right time. There's a time for everything, just the right time.

Ross Sawyers: 35:19 And we see in Jesus Christ, someone who lived a life and experienced everything I've just described. He was born into this world, he would die on an old rugged cross, and he would give his life for us in his death. It would be the most unique death of any death because he would bear the sins of the world and take on the wrath of his Father. There's a time to plant and a time to uproot, what is planted, Jesus, in an agricultural culture always talked about metaphors, or often talked about metaphors, that were about planting and uprooting what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal? He was killed, and he was a healer, he brought healing often to people. A time to tear down and a time to build up, he threw the money changers out when he tore down, he built up his disciples in following after him. A time to weep and a time to laugh, he wept when his friend Lazarus passed away, he laughed and he danced when he was with his disciples at the wedding feast and the parties that he was at. He mourned over the sin of Jerusalem, when he looked over them and wept over the city at their refusal and denial to follow after him. A time to throw stones, they wanted to throw stones at him after they gathered them. A time to embrace, he would embrace those around him. And then he told his disciples, hey, when you're going through this village and the people reject the message, then wipe the dust off your sandals and keep on walking, shun the embrace of that area. At time to search, he went searching for those for a loss, and a time to give up his loss. A time to keep, a time to throw away. There's a time to tear apart, a time to sow together. He was silent on that Friday that he was at the cross before his accusers, he spoke and taught often in his life so that we have the gift of his teaching. A time for war, he was in a spiritual battle for all of his days, and a time for peace, he achieved it in his work on the cross. The only reason you and I can experience a fullness in these times, is because Jesus Christ did so. There's a time for everything, and only those who repent and believe the message of Jesus Christ will know the meaning and satisfaction of life.

Ross Sawyers: 37:48 In chapter 3 verse 11 it says, God has set eternity in the hearts of people. In the most dire of situations, all of the sudden, everybody wants to pray. When prior to that, all they want to do is reject God. Why is that? Because there is a hint of the divine in every person and they know it. God has set eternity in the heart, and the only way to end this story well is to respond to Jesus Christ so that eternity is spent with him. Because in Hebrews 9:27, it says, it's appointed that there is a time to die, and then there is an appointed time of judgment, and only by God's grace through Christ will we stand in that judgment. Have you come to that recognition? A few years ago, it just finally struck me, my motivations are so sorry about three-quarters of the time, so mixed with selfishness and pride. And I thought, I've got literally nothing to offer him, except his grace on me is the only way I'll stand. And the story will end really well for those who know him, because in the new heavens and the new earth, no more mourning and weeping, that time's done. No more death, that time is over. Laughing, dancing, joy in the presence of Jesus, that time arrives with sheer joy and reunion with all those who know him.

Ross Sawyers: 39:35 I like what Erma Bombeck said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and would say, I used everything you gave me." I'm so grateful today for moms who are using themselves up to give everything they've got to love their children well, whether in the womb, as a child that's young, or as an adult child.

Ross Sawyers: 40:09 Father, thank you for so many that you've written into your story. Today, God, would you write anyone that is out of that story into it today? And then would you help us to live out the story that you've written for us, and to embrace that story and deliver it well? I pray in Jesus' name. Let's be quiet before the Lord, and I don't know what he's saying or not saying to you today, but let this just be a moment to consider anything it might be.

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Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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