Jackie Lee Mowry Memorial Service
This word comprises an abundance of definitions — feeding, protecting, supporting, encouraging, bringing up, training, developing, educating and possibly others. A new parent could easily become overwhelmed by such a list of responsibilities if not for the deep feelings of love and opportunities this tiny human presents.
I grew up believing that an earthly father should be able and willing to nurture and encourage his children, somewhat like the dads on “Ozzie Nelson” “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver.” (Sorry young readers, you’ll have to Google those.) They always seemed to have the right combination of compassion and wise counsel. This never happened to me or my brothers. In fact, what we remember most were the hateful and cruel words and deeds.
Surely forgiveness is an incremental quality. We must walk many miles in the moccasins of another over similar paths to grasp the total picture. Learning of my dad’s hardscrabble upbringing, his role as the oldest of six children, the poverty and lack of education of his family started me on the road to understanding and forgiveness. I will probably struggle the rest of my life to reach the Biblical concept of nurturing and forgiveness. As I attempt that, I am realizing more and more my own failures at nurturing.
Even if you had a bad relationship with your dad or were fatherless, the Godhead presents us with a wonderful model of nurturing. The Holy Father plans, provides for and protects us (Gen 26:1) (Mt 7:11) (Jo 17:15). The Holy Spirit empowers us (Eph 3:16), infuses us with spiritual qualities (Gal 5: 22-23), and educates us (2 Tim 3:15-17). Jesus Christ, God the Son, brings these nurturing qualities down to our level (Heb 2:17- 18), and becomes an approachable friend (Jo 15:13-14) who nurtures our souls. The Godhead is forgiving and nurturing (Col 3:13) (Mt 23:37). Perhaps the most all-encompassing term for nurturing is sacrifice. To be able to nurture our children, grandchildren and fellow humans, we must learn to give up our selfishness and become more like the Godhead.
Soon after finding the birthplace of my wife in Bremerton, Washington, we drove our car onto the ferry to Seattle. It is about a one hour ride and we were in awe of the beauty of that area. We were somewhat surprised to see women who were boarding dressed in bathrobes and with curlers in their hair. It was explained to us that they could sleep in and still arrive at work looking good by doing all the preparations on the ferry. We crossed Puget Sound and enjoyed the views of various islands and then the sky line of Seattle. We had read about the many attractions of the city and the reality met and exceeded our expectations. We never worried about our safety because we trusted in the abilities of the builders and operators of the ferry.
Jesus Christ is the designer and builder of His spiritual ferry— His Church (Mt 16:16) (Eph 5:23). He invites His disciples to climb on board at their new birth (Acts 2:38) (Jo 3:3,5) and He validates our tickets (Acts 2: 41-47). All the passengers on this spiritual journey can totally trust in their safe arrival. However, somewhat like the ladies on that physical ferry who wanted to look their best, believers will want to use the short time here on earth striving to “present her (themselves) to Himself (Christ) as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:27)
Seattle was full of amazing and interesting sites with fun things to see and do. Heaven will be filled with wonders we can’t even imagine and we won’t have to leave it ever (Eph 3:20) (Rev 21:3-7) (2 Tim a4:8). We will have all eternity to see, understand, praise and love our Lord and Capitan of our ferry and of our soul. All Aboard!
If we say Christians should B.L.A.B. we aren’t saying they should talk or chatter thoughtlessly and incessantly. No, that would be to blab and risk being called a blabbermouth. The apostle Paul warns those who are idle not to become busybodies and gossips and if so, they should be avoided (1Th 5:14) (2 Th 3:6-11) (2 Tim 5:13). We have several dear sisters in Christ here who do go from house to house, but go there to help and encourage and they need to be commended for that.
What then does the acronym B.L.A.B. stand for? It is probably not original with this writer, but to me it means, BE LIKE A BEREAN (Acts 17:11). Berea was a city southwest of Thessalonica in Greece where Paul and Silas preached the gospel on the 2nd missionary journey. As long as people read the New Testament, the Bereans will be remembered for several reasons.
They were noble, which the dictionary defines as: high minded, of exalted mind and character, having high thoughts, principals and sentiments, magnanimous. These qualities led them to receive the message with eagerness and to examine the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true. As a result many Jews and Greeks believed (v. 12).
Since there was no New Testament written at that time, the Bereans were examining the Old Testament Scriptures. They needed to assure themselves that the prophecies of those Scriptures truly did foretell the life of Jesus Christ. Their eagerness to examine them every day has amazed and inspired every generation to this day. They wanted to prove the validity of any claims which those preachers were making.
What a great example for us today as we try to sort through all the philosophies and half-truths that constantly surround us continually. There are so many counterfeits and outright lies in religious teaching then and now. So, B.L.A.B. and you can be sure if what someone is preaching and teaching is true. The Bereans certainly did!