Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, November 23, 2017
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May 14, 2017 Sermon

“Women of Faith: Jochebed and Eunice”
Exodus 2:1 – 10, 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:3 – 6

Ted Jansen  May 14, 2017  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        34 years ago a young man was asked on a Friday night to give a sermon because the pastor was sick.  It was Mother’s Day Sunday.  That young man had very little experience and time to prepare a message so he shared from his heart about his mom.  He also shared the importance of valuing and blessing mothers and women.  He shared some thoughts about women in the Bible. 

He had no idea how the message would be received but after the service he had women hugging him and thanking him.  I was that young man who preached on Mother’s Day at Trinity UMC in Ft Wayne. 

I thank God for my mother, for women who have been like a mother to me and the women who live out their faith to bless others.  You make a difference. 

 

2.)        Who have been the woman role models in your life?  Your mother, other woman?  Who have given you insights into your faith, being a parent, perspectives on your career, how to be aware of your health, setting goals, or other important areas?  

            When I moved to Indiana in 1981 I have been blessed with different women in my life.  Two women that were important to me were Helen Howard and Jean Wilson.  

            Helen had a love for the Lord, the church and for children.  I met her in Ft Wayne and we shared a common interest in Christian Education.  She took me in, cared for me and connected me to others as I was starting in ministry.  She attended my Seminary Graduation and our Wedding.    

            Jean was a woman of prayer that was a part of the Richvalley UMC, where Sue and I went as our first pastorate.  She had a love of the Lord, a zest for life and family.  She blessed me.  Sue and I would play cards with her and John, her husband, and enjoy being with them.     

            I want to share about two women that were a blessing from the scripture.    

 

3.)        Jochebed was living with her husband in Egypt during a time of great oppression.  Pharaoh had recently enacted a law that all baby boys were to be thrown into the Nile River.  (Exodus 1:22)   

            Jochebed discovers she is pregnant and knew what the law of the land meant.  She knew that if she delivered her baby and discovered it was a boy she was to throw him into the Nile to be drowned and be killed.  Jochebed has a baby boy and decides not to do this but hide him for three months.     

            After three months she knows that she could not hide this baby anymore.  So, she decides to put make a basket that would allow her baby to float in the river.  She knew when Pharaoh’s daughter would come down to the river to bathe and had a plan in mind. 

Jochebed would float her baby boy so that Pharaoh’s daughter would see him and hopefully take him.  She made sure that Miriam, her daughter, was close watching the entire scene. 

Just as Jochebed planned Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket, the boy and from nearby comes Miriam to talk to her.  Miriam asked the daughter if she would like her to get a Jewish woman to nurse the baby for her.  Yes, this woman said.  So Miriam got her mother and Pharaoh’s daughter paid her to nurse this baby, her son, until the boy was able to come to live in the palace.     

            What is the name of that baby boy?  It was Moses.  There would not have been a Moses if not for the faith of Jochebed, his mother.     

 

4.)        As I think about Jochebed and her faith three C’s came to mind.  Jochebed was Courageous, Crazy, and Calculated.  

            Courageous.  Jochebed needed courage to hide this baby boy for three months.  She needed courage to set her baby in the basket in the Nile.  It was not only a risk to the life of this child but to her and her whole family.  Any of them could have been killed, imprisoned, or tortured if she was discovered what she was doing.  

            Crazy.  Jochebed was crazy in the risky and adventurous sense.  When you stop and think about what Jochebed did there was risk involved each day for three months.  Her husband must have thought that she was on the edge of sanity.  She was willing to risk. 

            Calculated.  Jochebed had a great plan in mind.  She had a calculated plan on how to hide her baby and how to make the basket and determined when would be the best time to go to the Nile and talked to Miriam about what to say and how far to follow.  Her faith gave her a sense of the importance of planning what you can.  

 

5.)        As you think of Jochebed and other women of faith which of these C words encourages your life and faith?   Are you encouraged by a woman who is Courageous, who is Crazy, who is Calculated?  There are different times in our lives when these characteristics guide our lives. 

            As I think of my mother she must have had a sense of courage.  She and Dad met in Chicago and got engaged.  Mom went to Michigan to finish her college as Dad went to Germany to serve in the Air Force.  They got married in Brooklyn New York, had a two day honeymoon and she went back to Michigan to finish her education as he went back to  Germany.   She eventually moved to Germany, then when Dad got out of the Air Force moved to California before they settled in Pennsylvania.  Each move represented parts of all three of the C’s, I am sure.      

 

6.)        How do you know if you are ready to be a mother?  Here are some tests.         

Mess Test:  Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains.  Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

Toy Test:  Obtain a 55 gallon drum of LEGOs.  Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream (this could wake a child at night).

Grocery Store Test:  Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop at the grocery store. Keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Feeding Test:  Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

Night Test:  Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 8:00 p.m. begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 p.m. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 p.m. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00 a.m. Set alarm for 5:00 a.m. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for five years. Look cheerful.

Physical Test:  Obtain a large beanbag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove ten of the beans.

Final Assignment:  Find a couple who already have a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training and child's table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

 

7.)        Eunice was a Jewish woman who lived in Lystra, one of the towns that Paul traveled to on his missionary journeys.  She, along with her mother, Lois, had a foundation in the Jewish Faith as taught in the Old Testament and its Laws.  They believed that a Messiah was coming.  Eunice had a husband who was Greek, which tells us that she was not a strict Jewish woman. 

It is believed that on the first journey to Lystra Paul shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and Eunice believed, as well as her mother, Lois.  They were disciples.   

Think about their age and attitude and what it means to believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  This was not an easy decision but a choice that they made.  A mother and a grandmother come to faith in Christ and their lives are transformed.  Eunice had a son who was in this household.  He would get two generations witnessing to him about Christ.   This son got all the teaching and prayer that these women knew how.   This son was Timothy.

I wonder if we would ever hear about Timothy if it wasn’t for the faith of Eunice.        

           

8.)        Eunice had a courageous spirit, and what she did with her life was a little crazy and risky, just like marrying a Gentile man, and not a Jewish man.  Eunice was calculated as she taught Timothy, her son about Christ and the faith as she herself was growing.  Paul expresses in his letter to Timothy that he is thankful for Timothy’s faith that began first in the life of Eunice and Lois.    

           

9.)        Can you think of women that had courage, that were crazy or adventurous, that were calculated? 

            Several years ago I discovered a group of Russian women skydivers who set a record for creating a flower formation as they were falling towards earth with 101 women.  Can you imagine jumping out of an airplane taking courage?  Do you think you have to be a little crazy to do this?  There had to be a plan, someone that calculated how this skydiving feat would be accomplished.  This is an extreme example of women doing something incredible.    

            We are thankful for women, for mothers.  We are thankful for how we see faith being lived out in you.  We celebrate Jochebed and Eunice as they inspire us to live out our faith. 

 

10.)      When I was in High School I was taking classes on Russian History, studying Communism and revolutions.  This was in the middle 70’s during the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, the threat of nuclear bombs and the Soviet Union with the “Iron Curtain.” I mentioned what I was studying to my Mom.  My understanding was that all the people “over there” in the Soviet Union were evil and bad.  Mom listened to me and told me the way she saw it is that there are families and children who are living over in the Soviet Union.  They need food, just like here, they need to be cared for, they have families. 

My understanding changed as I considered the human perspective of hungry children and families, regardless of their government.  She helped me personalize things.    

 

11.)      Mothers we thank you for your life and your faith and your love for your children and all children.  Women we thank you for your faith and how you live it out and bless others.  Thank you for your courage as you have face all sorts of challenges in your life.  Thank you for being crazy and being willing to be adventurous and risking things in life.  Thank you for the way you planned things out and were calculated.  You made sure things worked out. 

            Your love and life have made a difference in our lives.  Thank you.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
Bonus Story from Erma Bombeck
 

12.)      When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." 

And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands." 

The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way." 

It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have." 

That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded. 

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word." 

God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...." 

I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger... and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower." 

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed. 

But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure." 

Can it think?" 

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator. 

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. 

There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."

It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear." 

What's it for?" 

It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride." 

You are a genius," said the angel. 

Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.” (When God Created Mothers)