Words on Mother's Day
Sometimes when people speak,
the impact of their words is so strong and goes so deep
that they seem to have a quality of eternity about them.
Words are things; and a small drop of ink
falls like dew upon a thought - and produces that
which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
This is not the end.
This is not the beginning of the end.
But, this is the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill (after the bombing of London)
A number of years ago, I was amidst hundreds of people who had just responded to a bone-jarring sermon, "Don't let anyone steal your crown." I went forward to pray. Dar followed close behind. She wanted to pray for me. The preacher and I made eye-contact. It was one of those moments where a humble student and a powerful teacher both knew that they had to meet each- other right then and there. Dar and I stood in motionless anticipation. He bee-lined toward us and asked if he could pray a blessing over us. We both smiled, "Sure." The preacher put one hand on each of our shoulders, with fiery love in his eyes, his voice plummed deep with conviction, "Don't slow down following Chirst." With that he walked briskly out of the building. Words are powerful things.
I was in the offices of an international Chirstian leader. We were standing with board members and international staff. A man puts his hand over my shoulder and says to those gathered around, "This association needs more evangelists." I nearly died. I was only 26. I looked at the elderly gentleman standing next to me and asked, "Did you hear that?" The wise old man didn't even blink. He put a big meaty finger in the centre of my chest and poked my breastbone a few times, "You take care of this, and you let God take care of the rest." Words are living things.
One of my favorite PhD's taught me that , "I am never more myself, than when I am most in Christ." He also taught me that "busyness is moral laziness." He told me that we need men in this generation willing to preach the message of the cross. I have never forgotten. His words are alive in me.
A mentor once asked me if I write things down, and if not, I should. He told me that people listen to me intently when I speak and that is a rare thing. I had no idea. He taught me that "all power is in Christ." He told me to plant myself somewhere and grow like an oak. I've grown into those words.
When I was an idealistic teenager, my mother took me aside one afternoon, and glared right through my youthful enthusiasm and rebuked me, "If you can't love your brother and sister who live in this home, don't ever think you can love people out there!" Years earlier, when I was eight years old, after hearing an international leader speak, I told my mom I wanted to go overseas. Her smiling reply, "Kirk, right now you are a little bud, one day you will be a beautiful flower." Words of life.
I've met some wonderful leaders. Not one of them has taught me what my mother taught me about the Word of God - which has always been on her lips; loving all others in all circumstances; extending grace toward the least deserving; finding beauty in the ordinary; redeeming the broken; filling empty spaces and people with re-creation; continuing forward with dexterity amidst overwhelming adversity; and standing in solidarity with the poorest and neediest of humanity.
My wife, is Christ to me - daily! My mother was Christ to me throughout all my formative years. And to this day, with the exception of my wife, I honor my mother above all other women. Mom, you are a warrior princess of the King. Your words are alive. And Dar, when I hear you speak to our children I thank God that your words live. Your wisdom is their lives.