Turn with me to the book of Exodus this morning. I ask that you allow me license to use a little play on words this morning to stress, not stretch a truth. It has to do with the subtitle for Mother’s Day – “Poor Choices”.
The bible is filled with stories of people who made poor choices in life. Today, in recognition of Mother’s Day, we are going to attempt to discover why moms in particular seem to make more poor choices than do others. But before we focus on mothers and their poor choices, I want to take a look at some men in the Bible who also made poor choices. To help us remember these men we will call them 3 Old Joes.
We will take these 3 Joes chronologically:
The first old Joe made a poor choice concerning his opportunity to secure his career. All he had to do was to appease his boss's wife and lay with her.
Then Joseph's master took him and put him into prison ... But the LORD was with Joseph ... (Genesis 39:20&21a)
When Joseph refused her advances and instead ran away, she lied about the incident and in turn accused him of attempting to molest her.
This poor choice Joe made cost him everything he had thus far achieve in life … that is everything except his relationship with God.
Joseph number 2 made a poor choice when he chose to marry a woman who was already pregnant with someone else's child. Things got so bad for them after they were married that when it came time for the baby to be born the best Joe could provide for his wife was a stable cave in a distant city far away from family and friends.
And she brought forth her firstborn and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
If only Joe had have listened to his friends and put her away. He could have done it privately. But he made his costly decision and lived with it.
For a long time afterwards Joseph was acutely aware that one of the greatest and most powerful kings in history was fully committed to hunting his family down and killing their son. Joseph had to completely leave the country to protect his family’s life. Because of his poor decision this old Joe lost everything … well everything except his relationships with Mary and Jesus.
Joseph number three was a very wealthy man in Jerusalem. So rich in fact that he owned a business which occupied prime real estate right on the corner of the two main intersecting highways just outside the city gates. You might say he had cornered the market. On his property he had a garden and in this garden Joseph spent quite a sum of money building an exceptional burial tomb for himself and his wife. It was a tomb unlike others one would find around Jerusalem.
This tomb he had carved into the rock of Mount Moriah adjacent Golgotha. It was a very spacious tomb with two connected chambers facing each other. One chamber held two parallel loculi so smoothly finished in stone that they appear like twin beds in a 5 Star Petra hotel room. The other side contains a large visiting chamber where mourners could come and weep in private. Outside this ornate tomb there was a huge rock which was set on a slight incline in a channel so as to easily roll across the door and firmly seal the entrance. This was no ordinary tomb but rather a new tomb fit for a king.
When Joseph had taken the body he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb ... (Matthew 27:59&60)
Joseph of Arimathaea made a poor choice when he decided to disregard his state and station in life, forget his reputation, throw all caution to the wind and to publically identify himself with a convicted man who had been executed by the joint personal appeal of the High Priest of the Jews and Pontius Pilate himself. Joseph compounded his poor choice by begging Pilate for the dead body of this executed convict and then, as if that was not enough, Joseph buried that dead body in his own special newly finished tomb. Ultimately this act could have cost rich old Joe everything he had ... All he could hope to have after such a poor choice as this would be a relationship with the Body of Christ.
There are plenty of other men who made poor choices … like:
Zacchaeus: He made a poor choice to convert his assets to cash and to give away all of his wealth to people in need. It cost him everything he had … well, everything except his relationship with Jesus.
And even Jesus Himself made poor choices. Well you know …
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Jesus made a choice to become poor for your sake …
There are plenty of examples of men making poor choices such as these in the Bible. However some of the poorest choices in the Bible were made by women and it seems many of them were made by mothers.
Mothers are often faced with some of the most costly decisions known to man. And I believe mothers make more poor choices and costly personal decisions than anyone else.
By now you have discovered what I am referring to this morning when I say "Poor Choices". Poor choices are choices made by individuals to do with less or to do without so others don't have to. Again, when I say poor choice I mean a conscious decision to do something for someone else which could end up costing you … a choice that could end up making you poor in the eyes of the world. In other words:
A choice to do with less or to do completely without so others won’t have to.
In this respect a poor choice is a choice we make to give our riches, our comfort or our very lives in order to insure others who have no choice benefit from ours. Mothers are masters of poor choices. There is no love like the love of a mother ... No one else so motivates to such selfless acts.
Motherhood is not a life of giving up but rather a life of giving to.
One mother who epitomizes poor choices is a woman named Jochebed. It seems Jochebed found herself pregnant again only this time things were different. The Egyptian Government had decided to disallow any new births of male children among their captive Jewish population. Every newborn baby boy was to be killed at birth by the attending Egyptian midwife in accordance with the orders of Pharaoh under penalty of death if not obeyed.
Have you found the book of Exodus yet? Let’s look at the last verse in Exodus chapter 1. Exodus 1:22
So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:22 NKJV)
Chapter 2 continues the story with verse 1:
And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. (Exodus 2:1-3 NKJV)
The poor choice in this case was simply a choice to do with less or do without to do what's best.
Why do moms make so many poor choices - out of love. There is no greater expression of love than laying down one’s life for others. (John 15:13)
Moms, like Jochebed, make poor choices every day in order to care for and meet the needs of their children and others they don’t even know. Such is the heart of a mother. (Testimony of Mother’s Day lunch 15 years ago.)
Mother's thank you for all the poor choices you have made in our lives. Thank you for often doing with less and for even doing without so that we might have what you think we need. You inspire us with your selfless acts. May God bless you for giving so much, so often, to so many.
Now let me ask the rest of us … Why should mothers get to make all the poor choices?
In honor of mothers today I ask you to join me in prayerfully committing to fill our lives with more poor choices in Jesus' name.
I believe this shall be one of my Mother’s best Mother’s Day gifts ever.
Happy Mother’s Day!!!