We often think that we can tackle the world on our own. We will tackle our careers and secure our futures. We will tackle our worries and fix things. We will establish our families and find comfort. Yet often despite our most earnest efforts, things don’t work out according to our expectations. How do we navigate the failure of our best laid plans? Psalm 127 reminds us that security, rest and family are all gifts from the LORD. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, may we celebrate the gifts that God provides.
First, the LORD gives the gift of security (Psalm 127:1). Unless the LORD builds the house and watches over the city, our labor and sleeplessness are “in vain.” We long for security. No matter how hard we work to build a house, unexpected and uncontrollable circumstances can easily destroy that house. No matter how vigilantly we watch over our cities, destructive armies still break in and destroy. Yet the LORD builds and watches over the city, and through Him we find security.
Also, the LORD gives the gift of rest (Psalm 127:2). Rising up early, going late to rest and “eating the bread of anxious toil” all are “in vain.” We must give up the illusion of our control and surrender to the reality of God’s control. Even our most earnest labors can end up in futility because of matters beyond our control. Yet the LORD “gives to his beloved sleep.” This sleep is more than physical; it is the rest of a peaceful and quieted heart. Sometimes even our sleep is tormented because of unresolved worries, but rest quiets the storms of our heart.
Finally, the LORD gives the gift of family (Psalm 127:3–5). They are a heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb a reward (127:3). This sounds great, but the reality is that children are a great liability. CNN recently calculated that the average cost to raise a child born in 2015 is $233,610! Yet many of God’s gifts begin as liabilities and then become responsibilities, like arrows in our quiver (127:4). However these responsibilities eventually become our assets, so that a parent “shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (127:5). This blessing is not limited to physical children; the apostle Paul was single yet frequently spoke of those that he loved as his “joy and crown (Phil 4:1; 1 These 2:19). Caring for others and the next generation is always at first a liability that becomes responsibility before it becomes an asset.
When we receive gifts, we see ourselves as grateful stewards. We are not owners. We are not in control. Rather we have been given an incredibly undeserved gift, so let us be good stewards of these gifts to the glory of God. This Mother’s Day may we give thanks for the gifts of security, rest and family and receive the empowering to raise up the next generation well.