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Friday, May 12, 2017

Amish open cart with flowers 5/11/17
Many rural folk are thinning out their perennials and offering them at excellent prices as we travel through the county. We picked up some calla lilies yesterday.

"Mother's Day Message"

Message summary: Mother's Day is this coming Sunday. Many who give little thought to obeying God's commands. They may be in open rebellion against God, but will nevertheless the fifth Commandment. On Mothers Day we very intentionally practice the Fifth Commandment to "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12).

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"Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine" (Romans 16:13)

During my years of pastoring I often taught on the family and gave special focus toward honoring our mothers. Over twenty years of writing these messages, around Mother's Day, I usually prepare a message about mothers, often using the Fifth Commandment itself.

However today I want to go in a little different direction with consideration of a Bible verse that is likely overlooked. When we get to the conclusion of Romans in chapter 16 Paul mentions many people by name, which Gordon Franz calls a "grocery list of names". Following the theological richness in Romans 1-11 and the practical teaching in verses 12-15 Paul concludes this letter with a glimpse into the type of "people person" he was.

Scripture speaks little about Paul's family background. There is no reference to his family growing up; he never refers to his mother and father nor any siblings. He appears to be single and there's no reference to children. So today's brief passage in Romans caught my attention.

"Greet Rufus..." Do you know anybody named Rufus? It's a rather uncommon name but there's a man in his eighties who volunteers at the Darrenkamp's supermarket where Ester works named Rufus. He's a very takative, friendly fellow who stays at the store for hours just to help out the young people with returning carts, etc. An interesting man, he has been a blood donor for over 60 years since his early twenties! (See his photo here)

There are just two references to Rufus in the Bible and they may be the same person, if so that would be very interesting. The first reference is the two sons of Simon the Cyrene who was forced to carry Christ's cross as recorded in Mark 15:21. "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross."

Paul has an interesting description for Rufus, "a choice man in the Lord". This conveys that Rufus had some eminence among the Christians in his day. Bible teacher John MacArthur notes, "He was an extraordinary Christian, known for his love and work for the Lord and for the Lord’s people."

But it was the last phrase in the text that caught my attention in regards to Mother's Day. "Also his mother and mine". No proper name for Rufus' mother is provided but what an endearing phrase! G
enerally commentators feel that Rufus' mother cared for Paul like a mother; thus he tenderly refers to her as a mother.

Herbert Vander Lugt asks, "Could it be that Rufus had brought a weary and tired apostle to his house, where Paul received from the mother of Rufus comforting words, a fresh garment, and a nourishing meal? Did Paul receive from her the empathy and tenderness that only a mother can give? We don't know this for sure, but it could explain his unusual greeting in today's text."

"I believe that God has given mothers a unique capacity for showing gentleness and compassion, and for influencing the spiritual direction of children. Let's be thankful for our mothers and for those who have been like a mother to us."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the fifth commandment indicates that we're to honor our father and mother. When we honor our parents, Lord, we also honor You and show appreciation for Your marvelous workmanship in our lives.  We acknowledge that You ordained the family of our origin and we give thanks to You for our mother and father, brothers and sisters, along with special women we connect with; those who take us under their wings in our life's journey, that become a mother like figure to us, loving and caring for us as though we were blood related.  We pray for our mothers and these dear mother like figures in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Proper names in Romans 16: (each one has a story!)
Aristobulus & household
Herodion (relative)
Narcissus & household
Rufus & his mother
Hermas & brothers with him
Neures and his sister

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

A Mom by Any Other Name - To further reflect on the subject of those who become mother like figures to us, most especially during our younger years, read a "A Mom By Any Other Name" in the Mother's Day edition of Fishwrapper.

"One Heartbeat at a Time"  Video   Steven Curtis Chapman

"Everything to Me"  Video  Mark Schultz

"A Mother's Day Salute"  Video  Phillips, Craig and Dean

"When You Come Home"  Video  Billy Gilman

"This Amazing Love"  Video  Emily Laudeman

Finally today:
Geese family 5/12/17
This morning as we travelled between company locations we had to stop along Centerville Road behind a long line of traffic. I couldn't tell what was going on till I saw a geese family cross the road and courteous humans deferring!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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