Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Spelled forwards or backwards, there's no mistaking the word mom. We all know what it stands for.
Turned upside down, it also reads wow. And that's something I wholeheartedly agree with—especially now that I'm old enough to understand everything that my mom did and has done for me over the years. All I can say is "Wow!"
I also think of the word instruction when I think of my mom—or any maternal figure who was influential in my life. I probably didn't like it at the time. Okay, I know I didn't like it at the time, as I always seemed to have my own agenda. But years later, I greatly appreciate the words of instruction that were given to me. My mom's words included, but were not limited to:
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
When in doubt, don't.
Chew with your mouth closed.
Because I said so.
So? Sew a hole in the ground. (Not really sure what that was for.)
Do your best.
Did you wash your hands? Let me smell them.
Try it. You might like it.
Hide God's Word in your heart that you might not sin against him.
Now what did Mommy say?
I continue to hear these words of instruction in my head as an adult. They're part of my mom's imprint on my life. They impart lessons of kindness, perspective, right and wrong, responsibility, attentiveness and obedience. And if I show any signs of the beginning of wisdom, I'll continue to heed these words and hopefully someday impart them to my future children.
The Bible speaks of the great value and importance of instruction and how we should perceive such words and their meaning in our lives:
"Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" (Proverbs 4:13).
"He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded" (Proverbs 13:13).
"Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD" (Proverbs 16:20).
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise" (Proverbs 19:20).
"Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverbs 23:12).
You may not have always agreed with the instruction imparted to you over the years. But, as I now am, I hope that you are cherishing the treasures given to you by your mother or anyone who has filled this role in your upbringing.
My mother sowed seeds into my life. She consistently worked my strong-willed soil. And the lack of an instant bumper crop didn't discourage her. Undeterred, she kept coming back and doing her part to ensure that good things were planted into my life. She added to my heart and to my mind, so that these instructions would hopefully take root and one day bring forth spiritual fruit.
I've not become a mother yet, but I've done my fair share of babysitting and taking care of children of all ages. So I have a tiny glimpse of what is involved in this process.
To "train up a child in the way he should go" takes patience. Sacrifice. And most of all, a great love. Your mother is an earthly example of how our heavenly Father takes care of you and provides life-giving-and life-saving-instruction through his Word.
Thank God for your mother today. And take time to honor her this Mother's Day for all that she means to you as your mom.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
I don't know what your relationship is like with your mother. She may not be here any longer. Or you may not have had a strong or healthy connection. This Mother's Day, however, think of someone (your mom, a relative, a teacher or any another godly woman you see as a mentor) who has given you valuable instruction. Let her know how much she has meant to you and what an impact she has made in your life.