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Make your Momma Proud

Wisdom in family blessing 

Proverbs 10:5

He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

Proverbs 17:6

6 Children’s children are the crown of old men,
And the glory of children is their father. 

Proverbs 23:24-25

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.

25 Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice.


Is your momma proud of you?

Here in the American south, you grow up always wanting to live a life that will make your mother proud. My mom has been good to my brother and me, two wild boys that she worked hard to raise up in the Lord, praying for us every day–and taking a switch to us when we needed it. We got into a mess of trouble but mom would always say, “I love you anyway.”

She kept us clothed, fed, and told us we were the handsomest boys in school. And we were certain she was right.

Momma watched us grow up, begin life, start careers, and marry Christian girls.  We soon had kids of our own that she could begin the process all over again in a new role: albeit with more snacks than my brother and I remembered when we were coming along. 

The three of us text each other every day, and though miles may separate us for periods of time, we always know that mom is praying, and she is proud of her boys. 

I know that there were plenty of times when we made her worry. My brother and I were kept mindful of good behavior while we growing up: to follow Jesus, go to church, respect our elders, and be honorable. We knew plenty of other kids who did not and were continually warned. You did not want to end up “running with a bad crowd,” or sitting around being “no-count.”    

If you are unfamiliar with that last phrase, you may not have heard the classic 1968 song "Poke Salad Annie,” by Tony Joe White. White grew up in southern Louisiana, and like many rural poor, was forced to substitute some of his diet with what grew outside the bounds of a meagre garden. This included cooking up the leaves of “pokeweed,” or Phytolacca americana:

"My folks raised cotton and corn,” he said. There were lotsa times when there weren't too much to eat, and I ain't ashamed to admit that we've often whipped up a mess of poke sallet. Tastes alright too — a bit like spinach."  

The song describes a poor rural girl and paints a picture of her broken family:

Her daddy was lazy and no-count, claimed he had a bad back
All her brothers were fit for
Was stealin' watermelons out of my truck patch
Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
Because her momma was a workin' on the chain gang

Annie’s “lazy and no-count” daddy, her delinquent brothers, and her misdemeanor-ing momma are an example of a family unit that has come completely apart. Family unity can be degraded by sin and atomized by selfishness. Fathers and mothers can weep for wayward children, and sons and daughters can struggle to emerge from the darkness of a childhood raised by unloving, dishonorable parents.

Long ago, Solomon saw and knew of the anguish of a broken home–even a royal home as the son of a king. When parents failed morally, or children did not give them the honor they were due, it had an effect that could last for generations–and into eternity. 

Here in Proverbs, chapter 10, Solomon continues his lesson of wise sayings in the form of parallels. In verse 5 he tells a tale of two sons: one is wise and industrious, and the other is “lazy and no-count:”

He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.–Proverbs 10:5

You know from learning God’s wisdom in Proverbs, that He blesses and ordains work. This life can be spent in an endless pursuit of leisure and in trying to do the least amount of work possible, but that end will only come to ruin–financially and spiritually. 

Mark Twain famously quipped, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” He was speaking of procrastination in a humorous way, but Twain was actually an industrious writer and eschewed laziness. He understood that an idle pen did not meet deadlines.

Solomon knows that the son who labors at noble tasks and learns to provide for himself, his family, and his community is someone who is fulfilling divine purpose. American theologian Archibald Alexander captures this view of the purpose of appropriate work and the anathema of procrastination:

Remember that every day and every hour has its own appropriate work; but if that which should be done this day is deferred until a future time, to say the least, there must be an inconvenient accumulation of duties in the future. But as tomorrow is to everybody uncertain, to suspend the acquisition of an important object on such a contingency, may be the occasion of losing forever the opportunity of receiving it. The rule of sound discretion is never to put off till tomorrow what ought to be done today.-Archibald Alexander

 The “sleeping son” of verse 5 will not only bring shame to himself and his parents, he is in spiritual danger as well. Commentator Matthew Henry describes this:

Slothfulness and hypocrisy lead to spiritual poverty, but those who are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, are likely to be rich in faith and rich in good works.-Matthew Henry 

As a parent, are you tempted to do work for your children to give them an easy life? In modern times “helicopter parents” who hover over their children guarding and watching their every move have often been surpassed by “lawn mower parents” who go ahead of their children to pave the way or arrange their achievements. Teachers used to get phone calls from parents upset about a child having difficulty with a homework assignment and now get calls from parents upset that they are having difficulty doing their child’s homework.

This cycle creates a laziness and entitlement to society that can led to generations who have no drive to succeed or even work. A lazy child who will not make his way in this world can eventually become a burden on parents, or even fail to mature to a point where they will honor parents by caring for them their old age. 

This care for one’s elders is a facet of the Fifth Commandment. Allistair Begg speaks of this in a study of the commandments:

The Fifth Commandment says to me: we better get our hearts and our attitudes and our resources in line with our convictions, that as parents we better teach the wee ones to honor us as they grow. But in our growth, we better not forget that those who have given their lives on our behalf demand our utmost commitment and respect at the end of their days. –Alistair Begg

Its one thing to have teenagers who do not want to get out of bed for school, and another to have them who are not allowed to mature and grow in independence and in wisdom. A wise and godly adult child is a blessing to a parent, as Solomon records this in Proverbs 23:

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.

25 Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice.–Proverbs 23:24-25

Are you an adult who cares for an aging parent? If you do, you know that your role as a child does not end at high school graduation, but can be a rich and lifelong experience of compassion, love, and even sacrifice for those who sacrificed for you. John Piper captures this well: 

To honor you father and mother does not presuppose that at every stage you should obey them. The practical implications of leaving father and mother means that we stay in touch, pray for them, care for their needs, and know their counsel.–John Piper  

The busy pace of life, career, children, travel, and worldly pursuits can cause you to lose touch with parents. Sometimes past conflicts, ill-words, or personality clashes can make enjoyment of parents difficult as time passes. As a follower of Christ, you must seek to reconcile with any whom you have offended, and seek to forgive those who offered you–even a troublesome parent.  

Kevin DeYoung writes of the joy of maintaining a good relationship as you grow older:

Older folks deserve better, especially Mom and Dad. Even into old age we must honor our parents. We should visit them, listen to their advice, and see that they are well cared for later in life. Honor of parents has no statute of limitations.–DeYoung

Jesus sought to honor His Father with every word and deed during His life–and was submissive to his earthly parents too [Luke 2:51]. He also condemned those who dishonored their own parents. Once, Jesus confronts the Pharisees with their own hypocrisy, for they are abusing the offering of Corban meant for the care of their parents and using it to enrich themselves [Matthew 15:4-7a].

From that blistering exchange, it is clear to see that as a child, and as an adult, it is vital to seek to maintain the bond of family. In a modern culture that is desperately trying to redefine “family” to mean whatever sinful arrangement the world prefers, understanding the family order as instituted by God can is more important than ever. 

And if your parents have passed and you now have entered your senior years, the joy and duty does not stop there. The blessing of grandchildren is intended by God not only to preserve His blessings for generations, but to provide additional means to show His love. Solomon writes:

6 Children’s children are the crown of old men,
And the glory of children is their father.–
Proverbs 17:6

Are you a grandparent? Tim Keller writes that, “grandchildren open a room in your heart that cannot be unlocked by anyone else.” If you have the opportunity to enjoy this particular blessing, you cannot help but be filled with awe.

How can you be a blessing to your grandchildren? Yes, they are loud, messy and as they get older can have bad attitudes or haircuts, but you can play a unique role physically and spiritually as they are raised. 

Perhaps you do not have children or grandchildren–or are even separated from your family for various reasons. This can be heartbreaking, but even so your Heavenly Father provides a way to share in this joy. Childlessness was once seen as a curse, but in Christ–who had no children–calls you to raise “spiritual children” in His name [Mark 3:31-34]. 

C.S. Lewis writes of this in The Great Divorce. In heaven, Sarah of Guilders Green, a childless woman in life, is surrounded by a crowd of men and women whom she “raised” as a spiritual mother. It is a beautiful scene in the novel, and one that Lewis–himself childless, except two sons through marriage late in life–doubtless related to in his own heart.

Do you struggle with honoring a difficult parent? Do you frustrate and criticize your adult children, or are you a wise and godly blessing to them? Are you exhausted from caring for an aging or ill parent? Are you an adoptive “spiritual parent” to others who lack a father or mother’s tender care? 

You may not always make your momma proud, but when you honor your parents, or fulfill the role of a godly mother and father, you honor your Heavenly Father–and that is true wisdom. 


The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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