Today’s sermon: By Faith, Sarah

Introduction:

First let me wish every mother a happy Mother’s Day. We can never fully understand the impact of a mother. In actuality I read:

An article in Forbes asks, “Think you can put a price on motherhood?” A yearly survey by Salary.com called the annual Mom Salary Survey attempts to put a salary on the work of American mothers. First, they broke down motherly duties into the following ten categories: Day Care Center Teacher, CEO, Psychologist, Cook, Housekeeper, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Janitor, and Van Driver. Then they studied how many hours moms work in those categories and what the family would have to pay for outsourcing that duty. According to the 2012 survey, they determined the following:

  • The average stay-at-home mom should make an annual salary of $112,962 (based on a 40-hour per week base pay plus 54.7 hours a week of overtime);
  • The average working mom should make an annual salary (just for her “mom” role) of $66,969 (based on 40-hours of mothering duties and 17.9 overtime hours per week).

The article concludes, “The breadth of Mom’s responsibilities is beyond what most workers could ever experience day-to-day. Imagine if you had to attract and retain a candidate to fill this role?”[1]

Of course, we really did not need an article to state that did we? We know that a mother’s work is never done. I remember thinking back to my mother and how she was always, always doing something. Then she also has such a caring heart. If I was sick or in need her heart would break for me. To this day, she calls up checking on the girls and she works at a childcare center. My grandmother stayed with us and my mother was eager to care for her.

My dad was abused as a child. His brothers and sisters ran away from home. My dad moved out at sixteen years of age. Years later, my dad was thirty-nine and his mother moved in with us when she had a hip replacement. His father had died when my dad was about thirty-one. My grandmother recovered from the hip replacement but during that time we had grown close with her. So, she would stay with us often. One time, my parents were out for an evening and during that time my younger brother did something to which he needed punishment. My dad came home and found out and gave my younger brother a spanking. I look out on the back porch and see my grandmother with tears in her eyes. Amazing! Mothers, grandmothers they care. God has given them this love.

I want to talk about Sarah today. Sarah was Abraham’s wife and the mother if Ishmael and Isaac. But later she became the mother of nations. She became the mother of Christianity. Hebrews 11:10-12 tells us that because of her great faith she became the mother of nations. She is listed in the hall of faith.

My emphasis today is:

The influence of a mother’s faith: Sarah bore a son through a barren womb and influenced a nation and all nations.

The application is trusting God with our children. God has great faithfulness.

A mother’s love is amazing.

Have faith in God to watch over you and your children as Sarah did.

You never know what God will do through your children and grandchildren.

Let’s read Hebrews 11:11-12:

11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Now, let’s read Genesis 18:9-15:

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

  1. We all must trust God with our children and grandchildren as Sarah did.
    1. You and I may read this and it appears that Sarah did not trust God with her womb. Sarah had already been told that she will be a mother. In this passage there are two angels and God talking with Abraham. We find this out in verses 1-9. If you go back to Genesis 12 we read that Abraham was to be the father of nations. Sarah trusted God but did not know how this was to happen. It was in Genesis 17:17 that we find out this was to happen through her womb. Sarah, being 90 years old was to have a child.
    2. Reading this passage we see that Sarah laughed. Actually, Abraham laughed as well in Genesis 17:17. They laughed in doubt. It was not doubt that they would be the parents of nations, it was doubt that the child would come through her.
    3. But we can look ahead and see that Sarah’s child was born in Genesis 21:2 and he was named Isaac which means “Laughter.”
    4. This was somewhere around 2000 B.C., then when Hebrews was penned some 2000 years later, Sarah is remembered for her faith.
    5. She trusted God.
    6. I do not want to talk about trusting God that you are going to have a child at 90 years old. If any of you are close to that age and God has revealed that to you, by all means, trust Him. I’ll pray for you. I know what it is like to have a toddler in the house and the joys overcompensate the demands, but they will keep you young. I have heard that it is more fun to skip your own children and go straight to grandchildren. You can then have all the joys, yet send them home at the end of the day. My own Mercedes and Abigail love it when their grandparents come over. Yet, I must worry, for they are a handful. Turn your back on Abigail and she is gone. She is only 17 months. Mercedes, watch out she can scale the counters and get into anything. She can open her own vitamins. We have to watch everything lest the kids get into them. We were at a restaurant and Abigail was walking round and simply turned over a bucket of cleaning water. She turns over the dog water at home and must have thought it was the same thing. She is inquisitive and it is cute but it drives us crazy. You know how many cups of coffee have been split because of her inquisitiveness? Stop by, we would love to have you for dinner, but bring a change of clothes.
    7. I imagine Sarah at 90 years old and Abraham at 100 years old chasing a toddler around. Then, Abraham would have been 116 years old teaching him to drive a camel so that he could get his temporary driving permit. Sarah would have been staying up late at the age of 106 years old while Isaac is out with friends. I wonder if he had a curfew. Really, I look forward to the days when my children are out for a few hours without my supervision, but I do not look forward to the worrying. I worry with them at home.
    8. Of course, they say that your children grow up quick. I do see that happening. I heard of one mother who had 4 children. She was talking and said that people would say they grow up quick and she would think, “I smell like spit-up.” Then she said, “But when I saw my daughter walk out of her room at 17 years old with her keys…” She knew that to be true.
    9. I wonder if Sarah thought that way? He was 37 years old when she died. I wonder if she had days where she told him, “Just wait till your father gets home.” I heard of George H. W. Bush getting a phone call from Barbara when the kids were young. Barbara told him that one of the boys hit the baseball through a certain neighbor’s second story window. His reaction, “What a hit!” I wonder if Abraham had conversations like that from Sarah.
    10. Sarah had watched everyone else raise children and now it was her turn. The Bible says in verse 14: “Is anything too difficult for the Lord.”
    11. How are we doing with trusting the Lord? How are we doing with trusting the Lord with our children on day-to-day bases. How about even after they are grown.
    12. I was 19 years old and my parents were taking me to college. I was going some 8 hours away to Georgia. We were at a restaurant when my mother retreated to the restroom, I think to cry because for the first time she was dropping off her son hours away from home for a long time.
    13. I wonder if Sarah had moments like that. I wonder if she had moments in which she had to let go.
    14. You see, on a mother’s day I can talk about a mother’s love. I mention that with the example of my mother and grandmother. However, I think it is a mother’s love that compels them to care so well for their children.
    15. In that manner, we are best to remember that God’s faithfulness is unending and we must trust Him, who can do all things, with our children.
    16. Meagan and I tear up with the thought of walking my daughter down the aisle on a wedding day. But that is the common station in life which we will face.
    17. I honestly don’t know how parents deal with real struggles of sickness, hardship and even the loss of a child. The only thing that I can say is Sarah had great faith and so must we for God has great faithfulness.
      1. Some Scripture:
      2. Psalm 89:1-2 (and the rest of the Psalm) are about God’s faithfulness.
  • Psalm 91:1-4 compare God’s faithfulness to an eagle sheltering us under His Wings.
  1. Psalm 100:5 are about God’s faithfulness.
  2. Psalm 108:4: God’s faithfulness reaches to the skies.
  3. Psalm 143:1: O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. (from New International Version)
  1. For those of you have been through those trials my prayers are with you and I know that I can be educated by you.
  2. The other thought about trusting God’s faithfulness with our children is that we never know what God is going to do. We don’t know who are children will end up to be, do you? We can try to rear them and pray for them and we must, but we do not know. But Sarah was told that she would be the mother of nations. We must trust God with our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future.
  1. How do we have faith? How do we trust God?
    1. Pray and talk to God.
    2. Go to the Bible and read the Scripture passages on faithfulness.
    3. Talk with a small group or prayer partner, or myself. Talk with a Christian counselor.
    4. Those of you that have been through tough circumstances with children, you can teach me and I would love to hear your testimony.
    5. Those going through tough times, I would welcome to listen and pray with you.
    6. I can recommend some books.

Close:

A mother’s love is amazing.

Have faith in God to watch over you and your children as Sarah did.

You never know what God will do through your children and grandchildren.

I talked about my grandmother, my father’s mother, with tears in her eyes when my brother was punished. A few years later she went into the hospital. She had a quadruple heart bypass. They said the risk of clot was high, especially early on. She made it through those days, but then they had to put in a pacemaker. Then, after about two weeks she was ready to come home. She was coming home to stay with us. It was a Friday night and we were getting her room ready. We were setting up the hospital bed, etc. We were looking forward to grandma staying with us. Then, my parents received a call from the hospital and they rushed to the hospital. My grandmother was walking with a nurse talking about how she was eager to see her cat again when she had a blood clot. It had been some two weeks, but it happened. The doctor’s worked on her for some time, but then she died.

The next day, my dad was driving me to work and he said, “I don’t know if you noticed but my mother’s death has been hard on me.” He continued, “My dad beat me as a child, but over the last few years with my mother living with us I can tell that she regretted that.” This was the only time I saw my dad choke up with tears in his eyes. The only time. The influence of a mother.

In Genesis 23:1 we read that Sarah died at the age of 127 years. I would imagine that Isaac and Ishmael both wept at the death of Sarah.

However, because of Sarah we have Hebrews 11:12:

And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

She became the mother of nations. She had faith that God would fulfill the promise and He did. She had faith in God’s promise and became the mother of Christianity as Jesus came through her descendants.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Sources: Jenna Goudreau, “Why Stay-At-Home Moms Should Earn a $115,000 Salary,” Forbes (5-2-11); Salary.com, “Salary.com’s 12th Annual Mom Salary Survey,” (last accessed on April 24, 2013)

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