Published December 6, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Mom's Advice"

First, let me thank all of you who have sent along condolences and comforting thoughts since the passing of my mother the day before Thanksgiving. (Shelia wrote about the circumstances in this newsletter last week.) Your words of encouragement have been most appreciated.

The loving and gracious way the Lord took Mom home (without pain, without illness) was truly a blessing for those of us in the family. She just lay down and went to sleep. In fact, many people told us, "That's the way I'd like to go!"

At Mom's funeral service, I shared quite a few memories. But one of them was something Mom told me back when I was just a child, probably in grade school.

My father was a pastor and Mom was a dedicated Pastor's wife. I can still see her standing in the upstairs hallway near the steps when she said this to me: "Paul, your father is a man of God. Don't you ever do anything – anything – that would hurt him. Don't ever do anything that would hurt his testimony – his ministry – in the community. Don't ever do anything that would bring him shame."

Now, I don't remember what might have occasioned her words. I don't recall doing anything in particular that would have brought that on. But I confess that her words were very effective in throttling my actions growing up – and they have served me well ever since. I certainly did not want to do anything – ever – that would harm my father's good name, or, of course, that of Mom.

But it occurs to me that Mom's advice – her admonition – is really for all of us.

Proverbs 19:26 tells us, "He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach." Of course, that's based on one of the Ten Commandments: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). Paul calls that "the first commandment with promise" (Eph. 6:2).

But even more important to remember is that each of us, as a Christian, is a child of our Heavenly Father. As we live our lives every day, we should never, ever do anything that would bring reproach on our Father. We should never, ever do anything to disappoint Him. We should never, ever do anything that would bring reproach to the name of Christ.

If, before we do anything — anything at all — we match it up to that particular qualification – and if it passes muster – then we can be pretty sure that we're on the right track.

Thanks, Mom, for your words of wisdom. They continue to serve me well.

- Paul

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