October 19, 2017

A Woman’s Influence

By Kenneth E. Thomas

No married man may reach his full potential for service to God and man without the proper kind of woman to encourage and share his trials, tribulations and victories. Many men have been made great men just because of the woman chosen for a lifelong companion and helpmate. Other men have been held back and lived a life of mediocrity and some complete failure both as to this world and in the one to come because of marrying a woman of the wrong disposition and attitude.

During the Jewish exile period, Nehemiah laments the sad conditions of his people and lays some of the blame on the wives they had chosen.

In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish (foreign) women cause him to sin (Neh. 13:23-26).

What Bible student isn't familiar with king Ahab of Israel who, on top of walking in the steps of wicked king Jeroboam, added insult to injury by marrying Jezebel the daughter of an idol worshiper of the Zidonians? He was influenced to build a house for the false god Baal in Samaria. (See 1 Kgs. 16-31-33.) In 1 Kings 21 we are treated to an example of just how wicked Jezebel, wife of king Ahab, really was. Ahab tried to buy a vineyard from Naboth. Since the vineyard was his inheritance, Naboth was not disposed to part with it, even if the king did want ft. The king pouted, would not took at anyone and refused to eat. When his wife Jezebel found out what his problem was, she conspired a way to have Naboth put to death for, of all things, blaspheming the true God (whom she did not even believe in), knowing the law of God that the penalty was death by stoning. The charge was made, the penalty paid by this innocent man, and Ahab got his vineyard as his possession (1 Kgs. 21:1-13). A prophecy was issued against Ahab that the dogs would lick his blood which later literally came true (v. 19). See 2 Chronicles 21:5-6 and 2 Chronicles 22:14 as an example of a son doing evil because of his mother's influence. John the immerser's head was cut off at the instructions of a mother who had been burned by John's preachings against her adulterous marriage to Herod, Philip's (her real husband's) brother (Matt. 14:1-9).

It is difficult enough, to say the least, to live as we are enjoined to do and train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, when both parents are faithful, dedicated Christians. It becomes virtually impossible when there is division or even a lack of commitment to the principles of New Testament religion for this to be accomplished! There are, of course, exceptions to even this general rule. For example, there are cases when one, whose parents are far from being Christians, hears and later obeys the gospel and serves the Lord in faithfulness. Then there are cases when, so far as we can see, both parents are totally dedicated to living as Christ's word directs, and their children never obey the gospel or go away from everything they were taught as children. But the general rule is, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6; see also Eph. 6:4).

Too many parents and some who profess to be Christians have a great desire to see their children popular in school and among their peers and will not set their foot down against a number of things commonly practiced in the various school systems of our land. If our children aren't taught to forego those questionable or actually sinful practices while under our care in grade school or high school, don't expect them to gain conviction enough later in life to be a peculiar person and try swimming up stream against the tide of popular opinion, practices of society and false religions. It will rarely happen! You see if they are allowed to dress immodestly and to participate in religious holiday activities at school or go to the prom, etc., they are forming the habits and convictions that will likely follow them the rest of their adult lives, again with few, rare exceptions.

Someone said, "Give a boy and a pig everything he wants, and you will have a fat pig and a bad boy." That's just about the case, don't you think? Children hear the preacher as he talks about "taking up the cross," "giving yourselves to the Lord," "sacrifice," and "be not conformed to this world," and they watch their own parents leave off important spiritual matters and do just about what they want to, when they desire to, with little attention to modesty, sacrifice, and influence! What do you think they think when this is the case? You know! You may not want to admit it, but you know what they think. Also, as far as they are concerned, the preacher is just an "old fogy" who is out of touch with real life and wants to take away all of our fun. The happy, fun-filled fife, my friends young and old, is a life lived wihin the rules of the religion of Christ. It is then that we can, "rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice" (Phil. 4:4).

Just imagine how wonderful it would be in eternity to be one like Timothy's grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, of whom revelation speaks through the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 1:5, whose faith was such as to influence this son and grandson to obey Christ and become a companion to Paul, one of the greatest men and gospel preachers (except Jesus) ever to walk among men! The man wrote by inspiration the greater portion of the New Testament Scriptures and "labored more abundantly than they all by God's grace" (1 Cor. 15:10).

Do you as a parent ever attempt to influence your son or daughter to consider giving themselves in a lifetime of service to the Lord's work as a preacher or the wife of a preacher? How about working to qualify as a deacon or elder or as the wife of either of these? Actually, many mothers have discouraged their children from this noble work simply because too often the pay isn't nearly what they could make in another line of work. Secondly, they have to be out all hours of the day and night dealing with spiritual problems or teaching the gospel of Christ, and the women have to stay home and keep things in order or many times go along to assist in babysitting, etc. Then since the women of such servants of Christ know that criticisms of their husbands work will always be a factor to contend with, some say, "I'll never marry a preacher or an elder or a deacon, etc." And as I said above, many times a mother will tell her daughter what a sorry, sad life such would be and discourage her. Brethren, is it any wonder that we aren't, setting the world on fire for the Lord? Why, it's amazing that we do as well as we do I Our greatest enemy isn't the denominations fighting against us. We are being defeated from within by the very ones who should be holding up the banner of truth against all odds, and in the face of every kind of opposition and persecution!

Besides, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer and sacrifice for the cause that cost the blood of God's only Son (Acts 5:41-42). Thank God there are still many godly mothers and grandmothers, faithful elders, deacons, preachers and members.

Here is a poem I composed to all the good mothers.

Good Mothers

Good Mothers, my friends
Are hard to find.
No one ever had one
As good as, mine.

She's ahead of most,
And of none is she behind.
I'm so happy there are
Mothers almost like mine!

Mothers who are Christians
Have a place to fill;
To guide and keep the house
And with godliness fill.

To be an "help-meet"
To the head of that home.
Be there for the children
Not cause them to roam.

"The hand that rocks the cradle
Rules the world" it's been told,
That's how great a woman's influence
Can have on her fold.

So mothers take warning,
For good or for bad,
What you do or don't do
Will be seen in that lad.

That lassie will also
Mimic your traits;
They'll see you, in her
In dozens of ways.

What a joy if you are
The mother Christ wants!
What a horror if you are not,
It will come back to haunt.

God bless you good mothers
On this your special day.
God help all others
To seek out your way!

Guardian of Truth XXIX: 12, pp. 365-366
June 20, 1985

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