Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sarah: Life Can Be Tough

Intro: Today is Mother's Day – I hope none of you forgot it.

  1. I remember some of my early mother days.

  2. Most of those times focused on church – will the oldest mother stand, will the youngest mother stand, will the mother who came the greatest distance. I never won one of those competition. I don't remember my mother ever winning one of those competitions.

  3. It has been a long time since I have been in a church that had those kinds of competition. For some I expect it was embarrassing – it probably was a good tradition to drop.

Read  Ephesians 6:1-4


T.S. Celebration of a special day for mothers goes back to ancient Greece.

  1. Throughout the ancient world the Ides of March (the formal name for the 15th of March) was used to celebrate motherhood.

  2. England had a history of “Mothering Sunday” - a Sunday in the middle of lent when, if a child returned to their “mother church”, the church where they were baptized, they and their mother were given presents.

  3. In the US, it was the daughter of Anna Jarvis (also named Anne Jarvis) who campaigned for a day to celebrate mothers.

  4. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson finally signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday.

  5. Some how it seems appropriate on this day to look at a famous mother from scripture. The most famous mother associated with Abraham.

  1. Sarah was a troubled woman

(Ill.) I occasionally have been accused of cheating at cards. It usually happens when I am ahead. Or when I win. The catch is, I don't cheat. And when I am accused of cheating, it is really unfair. Really unfair. For sometimes, it seems like our whole world is unfair.

    1. Sarah's life was like that.

    2. First she is moved with her husband to Ur, then her husband takes her further into Palestine and into Egypt. No record is made of her opinion, there is no indication that she had anything to say.

    3. She gets to Egypt and is told to lie – tell Pharaoh that she was Abraham's wife. Then a few years later, she is told to it again. It was different king, it was a different place – but it happened again. In effect, her husband had pushed her aside. It was not fair.

    4. Life was also difficult because she had no children. She'd laughed when (at 90) God had promised her children. Then she plotted with with her maid to let her husband have children. And she did – and it was not fair.

    5. But once she realized that Hagar, her maid, was going to be a mother, she found her emotions backfiring on her – she became jealous. Not surprisingly, it was too much. She threw Hagar out of her household.

    6. Life was difficult for Sarah. Life was unfair for Sarah – yet that is not how we remember her.

(Ill.) At this point in my sermon, I usually like to include some kind of illustration to break up the conversation just a bit. But all the illustrations that I found focused on mom as a good influence; mom as a strong person; mom as a spiritual leader. But that was not Sarah – at least at this point in the story. Sarah is her own illustration. Sometimes life is tough. Sometimes life is unfair. We have all had times like that – and we don't need another illustration to remind us.

  1. Sarah was a blessed woman

    1. Sarah's life was unfair – but that is not how we remember her.

    2. She was blessed when at 100 years of age she gave birth to her I son Isaac.

    3. Sarah's life was full of grief, but in the midst of that grief, she was blessed

(Ill.) Sometimes life's hurt can really be of a great help. It is said that a skill ear, nose, and throat doctor was getting ready for an operation. In his last visit with the patient before the start of surgery he said, “I may hurt you, but I will not injure you.” How often the great Physician speaks to us the same message if we would only listen! Richer life, more abundant health for every child of His, is His only purpose.i

    1. God uses life to shape us and make us into the people he wants us to be. What seems like unfairness to us, is God using his spiritual scaple to form us into His own image.

(Appl.) Shortly after I became a Christian I was taught to share my faith with a small tract called, “The Four-Spiritual Laws.” Those of you that have heard of the Four Spiritual Laws know that the first law is that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” It was a lesson that Sarah had to learn – it is a lesson that we need to learn. God does love us; God does have a wonderful plan for our life.

    1. Sarah's blessing was demonstrated in another way as well. You see, Sarah's name was not always Sarah – she started out as Sarai. God was going to change Abram's name to Abraham. At the same time, Sarai was renamed to Sarah. The names are very similar – “Sarai” means “my princess” - indicating the value that Abraham placed on her (though he showed it in strange ways). Sarah means princess – she no longer was merely of value to Abraham, but was now a princess in her own right. Crowned such by the God himself.

  1.  Sarah was a faithful woman

    1. Sarah was not only blessed, she was also a faithful woman.

    2. Turn with me, for a minute to Hebrews 11. This chapter is known as the “Faith Chapter”. It represents the “Hall of Fame” for those who had demonstrated faith in God.

    3. Take a minute to read through this chapter. There is only one woman mentioned in this whole list – it is Sarah.

    4. Sarah is remembered for her faith.

Conclusion: Life can be tough at times.

  1. Though we have focused on the life of one the more famous women of the Bible, life can be tough at times for all of us.

  2. There are times that it gets us warn down.

  3. But in the midst of those times we can also experience God's blessing. We may not see it at the time, but we can know it is there.

  4. And like Sarah, we can remain faithful even in the midst of a difficult life.

iTan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

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