As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, let us take a moment to reflect on the story of Abigail and Nabal from the Old Testament. Nabal, whose name literally means "fool," was a wealthy man who owned 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. He was married to Abigail, a sensible and beautiful woman, who was unfortunately married to a mean and foolish man.
David, who had just spared King Saul’s life, was on the run with 600 soldiers who were loyal to him. They had been staying in the vicinity of Nabal’s pastures, and David's men had protected Nabal’s flocks from Philistine raiding parties. As a result, David asked Nabal to share some of his surplus with him and his men, a reasonable request given their protection of Nabal's property.
However, Nabal responded rudely and refused to share any of his possessions with David and his men. David, who had just resisted the urge to kill King Saul, was now about to fail a little test. He was tired and weary, and Nabal had just touched on some of his biggest insecurities.
David instructed 400 of his men to get their swords and go teach "this fool" a lesson. But Abigail, being the wise woman that she was, heard about the situation and acted quickly. She gathered 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes and went to meet David and his men.
Abigail humbly apologized for her husband's behavior and begged David to spare Nabal's life. David was moved by Abigail's wisdom and spared Nabal's life.
This story teaches us that life is about so much more than just stuff. It also reminds us of the importance of honoring and respecting our mothers, especially on Mother's Day. Abigail was a wise and sensible woman who saved her family from destruction, and we can learn a lot from her example.
Let us take this Mother's Day as an opportunity to honor and thank our mothers for all that they have done for us. They are a blessing from God, and we should cherish and treasure them always.
- Adapted from sermons preached across our 3 campuses on Mother's Day 2023.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where another believer has sinned against you? Perhaps they said something hurtful, or they did something that caused you to feel wronged or offended. It's a tough spot to be in, but it's not God's will for us to live in broken relationships with one another. He wants to see the relationships in our life restored. He wants us to be peacemakers, not fight pickers.
In Matthew 18:15, Jesus tells us what to do in this situation. He says, "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back." Notice that Jesus doesn't say to pick a fight or to argue your point until you win. The goal is to win the person back, not just to win.
This idea of fighting to win back, not just to win, is so important. It's not just applicable in our relationships with other believers, but in all relationships. How often do we find ourselves fighting to be right, to get our way, to defend ourselves, or to justify our bad behavior? All of that is fighting to win, not to win back.
So how do we fight to win back? It starts with step one of fighting fair, which is to fight to get your heart right. Most of the things we choose to fight about are so trivial and petty that they should be fought quietly in our minds and hearts, not with other people. We need to fight with that old, selfish, sinful part of ourselves to make sure that the problem we have is actually between us and the other person and not just our own pride and sinful heart.
Just like Jacob wrestled with God before he went to make peace with his brother Esau in Genesis 32, we also need to wrestle with the Holy Spirit inside of us to make sure our heart is in the right place before approaching someone else. We need to ask ourselves if this issue is really worth fighting over, if we've really been sinned against, or if we're just not getting our way. We need to consider if we're doing this to benefit the relationship or just ourselves, and if we're doing this to advance Jesus' kingdom or our own.
Sometimes, the person who has wronged us isn't actually sinning against us. That cashier who is taking forever to check us out isn't sinning against us, they're just slow. That person who cut us off in traffic isn't sinning against us, they just didn't see us there. Our adult children who couldn't come home for Thanksgiving aren't sinning against us, they're just broke newlyweds trying to navigate the holidays with two different families. Our co-worker who got the promotion isn't sinning against us, they're just better at networking. Our boss who had to let people go isn't sinning against us, they're just trying to keep the company afloat.
When we find ourselves in these situations, we need to make an intentional decision to overlook the wrong. We need to resist the urge to talk about it, to dwell on it, or to let it influence our actions and attitude. Instead, we need to spend time with Jesus, reflecting on why whatever it was was so triggering. What is Jesus trying to show us about ourselves through this feeling? Are we too tired, too busy, too stressed, or too selfish? How can we look more like Jesus next time?
Fighting fair isn't easy, but it's worth it. When we fight fair and strive for restoration instead of just trying to win, we honor God and show His love to others. So let's all take a step back and focus on fighting to get our hearts right, so that we can build stronger, healthier relationships with those around us!
- Adapted from sermons preached across our 3 campuses on May, 2023.