Confession #18: Our Youth Need Love, Part 2
GUEST POST BY TANYA PIRTLE
What will you do to celebrate your mother today? Flowers, a phone call, dinner maybe? What specifically will you remember or honor about her? More than likely you will remember her wisdom and teaching. But what moves us the most about our mothers (or any mother for that matter) is their sacrificial and unrelenting love for us. As we embark on this season where we take a day to honor our mothers (and fathers soon enough,) let’s also remember that so many live daily without this guidance and love offered by a mother.
The Emmaus Youth need wisdom and intentional teaching, much like what King Lemuel received from his mother. We continue to learn from this mother-son relationship that the Emmaus Youth also need deep love and relationships.
Love. It is third in the list of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, right after requirements for human survival and feeling as though your death is not imminent. According to the worldly wisdom of Maslow, we don’t really need love to survive, however I tend to think God the Maker would disagree. He is continually telling us of His love for us, commanding us to love Him, and to love one another.
In verse Proverbs 31: 2, Lemuel’s mother refers to him as her son, then she carries the intimacy of their relationship a step further by referring to him as the “son of my womb.” This wise mother begins her words of wisdom by reminding Lemuel of the relationship the two of them have. She is his mother, the very one who bore him from her own body. Who could have his best interests more at heart than she? She has the God-given responsibility to teach him and he has the responsibility to listen to her. She then further describes their relationship by bringing God into the equation and calling him “son of my vows.” The word vow indicates she has integrated a commitment to God into this relationship. Although it’s not clear what exactly that entailed, it’s safe to say that this mother was adamant that her son was going to have a relationship with His Creator. Youth need this depth of love, intimacy, and caring in their relationships. They need this commitment from those who love them.
In Titus 2:4 young women are encouraged to “love their children” which is expressed in the Greek as a compound word (philoteknos.) Phileo is a warm affectionate, love and fondness. It emphasizes that one gets enjoyment or pleasure out of the relationship. Teknon means children. I sense this mother and son had a fondness for one another as he sits willing and open to listen to her advice. Not only does the teaching need to be deliberate as we saw in verse 1, but so does the loving relationship. Do we see this today? Are young men willing to sit at the feet of their mother to seek advice?
This is something that King Lemuel was blessed to have that our youth at Emmaus simply don’t have; the wisdom, nurture, and passionate love of a mother. Nothing can replace a mother. Our Father in heaven who is a father to the fatherless (Pslam 68:5) wants fervently to meet this need in these kids. When that need cannot be fulfilled on this earth, our Father in Heaven is there to fulfill it if we will trust Him. However, God has so richly provided for these youth on this fallen earth as well. He has provided them an American and Haitian staff and board(s) of Emmaus. These people were all specifically chosen because they have a relationship with these kids. They have been visiting, loving, encouraging, and praying for them for years. Many of you reading this have worked at developing relationships with them over the years as well. God has blessed these youth with a community who are fully invested in them- a community that has already been loving and teaching them for years without being assigned to do so.
The more I work with people, I see great wisdom in the simple saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Lemuel was open to the teaching of his mother because he understood her great and intimate love as she openly expressed that to him. The youth of Emmaus will be open to biblical teaching as they feel more loved and secure. They may not have a mother to teach them the principles to get them through life, however God has provided them with His own great love that surpasses understanding as well as the love of so many others that care so deeply for them. We encourage those who know and love these youth to do as Lemuel’s mother did. Please take time to write them letters teaching them, encouraging them to stay faithful to their Creator, to live moral lives, to speak up for the helpless. And please, pray for them every day.
The next two points regarding what we can learn from Proverbs 31 about what our youth need (Accountability and Responsibility) will be discussed further in my next two guest posts. In the meantime, please pray specifically this week for the youth of Emmaus. Pray that they will seek wisdom and that God will continually place people in their life who will deliberately teach them the word of God. Pray that although they don’t have mothers, the Emmaus Youth will sit at the feet of others and be open to the Godly teaching and advice of those who love them so dearly. And pray that God will put people in their lives to love them with the sacrificial love of a mother.
Last of all, happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who out there! May you be filled with joy as you love your children (Titus 2:4). I hope you are blessed today for all you devotion and work.
~Tanya, Emmaus House Board Member