Three children walked down the aisle to their rehearsed places. The wee lassies stood four steps up on one side with the little lad on the other. The wedding party was in place and Uncle Ralph began speaking. While the two, prim girls faithfully stood still, the boy inched towards the edge of the step, cheerfully smiled, leaned his body backward and slid downward as only a limber child could. Twice more the process repeated until he was now on the main floor. Jonathan, the Best Man, saw what was happening, turned toward the boy and motioned him to move back to his appointed place. Embarrassed, knowing he’d erred, he went up two stairs, laid down with his face in his hands and quietly shook. Soon, the tears fell in torrents and he stood up wailing, quickly fleeing to his mother’s arms. He sobbed for what seemed like minutes, upstaging the wedding so that his father had to carry him out. While Josh and Katie went on to become man and wife I couldn’t help but think of the tender spirit of that boy and the loving manner in which his mother and father embraced him. They didn’t make a fuss or scold him, they held him. If they were concerned about the crowd, they didn’t show it. Instead they faithfully ministered to their son.
1 Thessalonians 2:6,7,11—Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children . . . Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children. (NASB)
The Greek word, ,can mean a nursing mother or a wet nurse. In the ancient world, a wet nurse “not only had strict contractual stipulations, but often came to be a very trusted person whose influence lasted a lifetime.” Paul metaphorically emphasizes the care with which his team labored to nurture the Thessalonians. It is a word picture from which God intended for us to learn.
I wonder how many children grow up wanting nothing to do with Jesus because their parents invoked God’s name to beat them. I wonder how many grapple with low self-images because all they ever heard was how they never measured up. I wonder how many become mean and legalistic because the Bible of justice shook before their eyes while the Bible of mercy missed their hearts. I wonder . . .
St. Francis DeSales once said, “Nothing is as strong as gentleness; nothing is as gentle as real strength.” Nurturing is God’s invention, an indispensable formula for growth. Nine times the Bible reminds us of our refuge under His caring wings! Ninety times may we remember what the Psalmist wrote, “If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, Lord” (Psalm 94:18). Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Greg Norman intimidates most other professional golfers with his ice-cold stoicism. He learned his hard-nosed tactics from his father. “I used to see my father, getting off a plane or something, and I'd want to hug him,” he recalled once. “But he'd only shake my hand.” Commenting on his aloofness going into the 1996 Masters golf tournament, Norman snorted, “Nobody really knows me out here.” After leading golf's most prestigious event from the start, Norman blew a six-shot lead in the last round, losing to rival Nick Faldo. Rick Reilly writes, “Now, as Faldo made one last thrust into Norman's heart with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole, the two of them came toward each other, Norman trying to smile, looking for a handshake and finding himself in the warmest embrace instead.
As they held that hug, held it even as both of them cried, Norman changed just a little. ‘I wasn't crying because I'd lost,’ Norman said the next day. ‘I've lost a lot of golf tournaments before. I'll lose a lot more. I cried because I'd never felt that from another man before. I've never had a hug like that in my life.’”–Sports Illustrated(12/30/96).
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Fritz Rienecker/Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, p.590