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A Sermon for Mother

Son with aging mother
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Jim’s 88-year-old mother Esther always lived in her own home, but after a stroke, that was impossible. She was transferred from the hospital to a nearby nursing home.

“I had recently lost my job,” said Jim, “but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was able to visit her every day.”

One Sunday morning when Jim went to see his mother, an announcement came over the intercom: “The morning worship service will start in the lounge in ten minutes.”   

“Do you feel like going to the service?” asked Jim. 

“Yes, I think I do,” she said, so he pushed her down the hallway in a wheelchair. 

As they sat there waiting for the service to begin, a woman who worked at the nursing home approached Jim and asked, “You’re a minister, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” he responded. (Do pastors have a special look about them?)

“Our regular minister is on vacation,” she said, “and the substitute didn’t show up. Could you possibly preach for us today?” 

“Give me five extra minutes to collect my thoughts,” said Jim, as he grabbed a Bible. He chose to preach on Romans 8:28:   

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28 NIV

“I intended for the message to be a pep talk for my mom,” he said, “that all things, even in the difficult circumstances of living in a nursing home after a stroke, work together for the good of those who love Him.”

That was the last sermon Esther ever heard. She went home to be with the Lord the following Saturday.
 
Jim said, “It was a genuine privilege to minister to my mother in that way. God arranged for the substitute pastor to be a ‘no-show’ so I could give that final gift to my mother.” 

The next morning Jim and his wife were doing their Bible study. The verse for that day was Romans 8:28! Jim’s wife said, “It was affirmation to us that Jim’s last sermon for his mother was the one the Lord wanted her to hear. It was God’s perfect timing.”

There is another lesson we can learn from Jim’s story. It’s about obedience. How would you respond if someone asked you to deliver a message with five minutes’ notice? 

Jesus taught his disciples:

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 7:21, NIV 

And in the Gospel of John Jesus taught: 

If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15, NIV 

Jim had a choice about how he would respond. He could have turned down the invitation to preach, but he would have missed out on a wonderful blessing from God. 

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift you gave Jim through his obedience to You. 

Excerpt from God in the Midst of Grief, Copyright © 2011 by Diane Pearson, used with permission.

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