The Making Of A Home
“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
“And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”—Luke 24:30–32
THE MAKING OF A HOME.Of all the institutions in the world there is none that is more sacred, and, probably we might say, there is none so sacred as that institution which we call home. In antiquity it comes before every other institution known to man. Before there was any form of government, or before there was any form of organized worship, man, in his own home, worshiped the Eternal Father at the family altar.
For many centuries before there was a tabernacle in the wilderness, or a temple wherein was the brazen altar, there was the altar at the threshold of the home. In the world in which we are living, it is a great struggle for life that every man must make. We meet with temptation, with difficulties, with trials and disappointments. We are like ships that are tossed on a stormy sea, and it seems to me that the great need of every human being is a harbor wherein we can run at the close of the day and be at rest.
A REAL HOME—and I make the distinction—is a place where heart meets heart, a place of confidence where we can throw off the mask that we are forced to wear when we deal with the world. I don’t care how real or genuine each of us may be, we are forced to wear the mask when we are dealing with the world, but when you come to your home you can express yourself without any sensation of awkwardness or fear of ridicule; a place where you are understood and where you understand.What a haven of rest a real home is!
Now, God is interested in this sacred institution. Indeed, He Himself was the founder of the first home. He made man in His own likeness and for His own fellowship. “It is not good for man to be alone,” said the Almighty. And He made him a home, and brought him a bride and presented her Himself. You know the story of the creation as we have it in Genesis.
A little girl in Sunday school was asked by the teacher the question: “How God made man.” She put up her hand as an indication of her willingness to answer. She said: “He made man out of the mud.” The teacher thought that would do very well, and then asked: “How did he make woman?” The little girl replied: “He put the man asleep and took out his backbone and made the woman.”
She was pretty nearly right. When it comes to spiritual things she was right. I sometimes think when we talk about the great preachers and the great leaders of reform—what they have meant to the church—we sometimes overlook a really great fact. The church has not got much grip on the world tonight, but we would have a much lesser grip were it not for the great army of godly women, who, by their prayers and presence, keep the fire burning on the altar. We thank God for consecrated womanhood.
There is a blessed truth in connection with the creation of woman. The two men of the Bible are the first Adam and the second Adam. In the first Adam all die. In the second Adam all are made alive. As the first Adam was type, so the first woman was type, and that first marriage was typical. Adam, in his sleep, had his side pierced and out from his side was taken a bride, and the second Adam had his side pierced and out from His side was taken a Bride, and some day that Bride will be presented to Him in the glory, “without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.”
Matthew Henry, the King of Commentators, speaking of that story of creation, and especially of the first woman, remarked that she was taken out of the man’s side. Not out of his head that she might rule over him. Not out of his feet that she might be trampled upon, but out of his side that she might be his equal. Out from under his arm that she might be protected, and out from close to his heart that she might be loved.
That is worth thinking of, beloved friends, for that is a great truth. When Adam beheld her he loved her, and said: “She is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” How sacred is the marriage vow, and how sacred that institution we call home.
In the founding of that first home God teaches us that He is intensely interested in our domestic affairs, and as long as He was given His true place in that home there was no trouble either there or in the world. He came to that garden home from day to day, and “He walked and talked with them,” but one day the home-wrecker came and he led them to doubt God’s word and to disobey God’s command, and they turned their back on God and went away. It was a sad day for the Home and the world; a sad day for their children.
The World’s Great Pirate
Let me say here, beloved friend, that I do not think there is on Earth any greater pirate or criminal than the man who wrecks the home. I do believe there is such a thing as “greater sin.” Jesus, talking to Pilate, said, “These men that have delivered me to you have “greater sin.” He also talked about greater punishment. I believe that some sinners will be given greater punishment than others, and I can think that the greatest punishment of all is reserved for that man who enters the sanctuary of the home and “puts asunder what God has joined together.”
Any system of teaching or religion that undermines the home, or attacks the sanctity of the marriage vow, is an enemy of man, God and the State.
Just how much the world owes to those homes where the principles of the Bible are instilled into the hearts of the children, we will never know until we stand in the presence of God. We do know when the righteous are in authority it means blessing and prosperity to the nation. History will verify that statement. When God wanted to found a nation, the like of which there has never been since—a nation that has contributed more to the welfare of society than any other—He sought Him a man that was a home-maker. He took Abraham because He knew he would “command his children after him.”
That is one of the great needs of the world—a few more fathers like Abraham, who, by precept and example, will command their children after them. Joshua said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” When men like that guide the affairs of State, it guarantees the security of the country. I believe the great need today is more homes where God is honored. The nation has no bigger asset than a home of that kind.
A number of years ago there lived down in Kentucky a simple-minded woman. Were she living today she might not be considered a brilliant woman in society. There were many things she did not know, but she did know God.She had a boy, and from the earliest days of that boy’s life she sought to instill in him the love of God, and she made him feel that the most despicable things under Heaven was a hypocrite, and the most noble thing on Earth was a true man. That boy was Abraham Lincoln. I believe that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest statesman the world has ever known, not because he had a great mind, but he had a great heart, and he tells us that all the goodness that ever came to him came through that godly mother back there in Kentucky.
Found His Way Home
You have possibly heard the sweet little story of Henry Grady, that great orator and humanity-serving citizen of the South. On one occasion when he was receiving congratulations from all over this country on account of a great address given, he said to those about him in his office, “I am going for the rest of the day. You need not know where I am. I shall be back here tomorrow morning.”
He went out of a side door and, unnoticed, found his way to the home of a little woman. That woman was his mother.
When he entered the door, she greeted him as only the true mother can greet that son of whom she is so proud. She said: “Oh, Henry! All the nation this day sings your praises!” He replied: “Yes, Mother! But I am not a happy man! I am very dissatisfied. When I was a boy I think I knew something of Christ and Christianity, but I have gotten a long way from these things, and I find that nothing can take their place.”
“I have come to you today just to be a little boy as of old. I want tonight to kneel down by your side and say the same prayer I said when I was a child. I want you to tuck me in bed, and pray over me just as you used to do.”
And so it happened.
That night the tears of that mother fell upon the face of her great son, and God heard her prayer, for the next morning when Henry Grady came out to that woman, there was the light of a new day upon his face, and the joy of the Lord was in his soul.
He said: “Mother, I came to you last night feeling after Christ, and I have found my way home.”
Solomon says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” He may take a journey into the far country and stay a long while, and you may give up almost in despair, feeling that he has gone from you and from your God for ever, but eventually there will come that heart tug that will bring him to the God of his father or his mother, whose prayers have reached the throne of grace.
Trophy Of Grace
Some years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a great servant of Christ, and, Oh! What a trophy of grace! He had a godly mother, but when he came to manhood he went with the prodigal to feast, and live with the lowest of the low. And down the scale he went till he reached the very bottom rung of the ladder.
One night in the Bowery, which some one has styled “the jumping off place for broken men,” he sat in a sub-cellar on an empty whiskey barrel, trembling from head to foot, as a result of delirium tremens. Not only was his nerve gone, but money, friends and everything had passed and he felt that he was dying. He was sure that he was about to fall to the floor, and there came to him the vision of a face. It was the up-turned face of that precious mother pleading to God for his salvation, and he said to himself, “As I fall from this barrel to the floor I will fall with my face toward the Cross,” and he did.
That night that broken sinner became a new man in Christ Jesus, and was known afterward as the “apostle to the bums.” And surely there never was a greater soul-winner than Samuel Hadley.
The late Wilber Chapman tells a very sweet story of this man of God, just a little time before Hadley was called to meet his Lord.
One night while being enteretained at the home of Dr. Chapman at Winona Lake, he read in the paper of a poor girl in New York City, who had been found dead, and her body was at the morgue unidentified. Chapman noticed that Hadley was greatly effected as he read the story. A little later he put in a long distance call for New York City, for his assistant worker in the Mission.
Chapman heard him say: “Go to the morgue; secure her body; buy her a good coffin; take her to the mission. Sing some good old hymns; read the Bible; talk about the love of God, and give her a decent burial, and send the bill to me.”
Chapman noticed as Sam Hadley walked away from the telephone that he was crying like a child, and he asked Hadley, “What was she to you?” “Oh, nothing, only one of the lost ones for whom my heart yearns.”
What a change the grace of God can make in a sinner. Hadley was filled with the Spirit of Christ. But what I want you to see is that back of that great transformation and change was the up-turned face of a mother. Years ago she had taught him the ways of God and when he was old he could not depart from it.
If I did not believe that God will sometimehear the pleading prayers of consecrated parents, I would lose faith in prayer and in everything else. I see so many who have been praying for years for wayward children, and I cannot but feel that He whose heart is love, will sometime, somewhere bring those prayers to pass.
You remember that Noah built an ark “for the saving of his house.” When it was finished God called him in, but for seven days after the old patriarch entered, the door was left open, and it was not closed until every member of that family was in with Noah. I sometimes think the door would have remained open until now had they not all come in. HE WILL ANSWER PRAYER.
My appeal tonight is to you fathers and to you mothers to whom God has given a house. MAKE IT A HOMEwhere He will be worshipped.
A Profitable Bible Study
I would like to suggest a profitable Bible study. Take the New Testament home scene in the ministry of Jesus. You will be amazed when you see how often He touched the home. It may be where somebody was dying, or where somebody was dead, or it may be an outcast woman washing His feet with her tears, or it may be a wedding day. But in every instance He was the joy-bringer, the burden-bearer, and the forgiver of sins.How we need Him in our homes!
How suggestive that His first miracle was performed at a home, and at a wedding feast. Before He ever performed any other miracle, He went up to the highlands of Galilee where a man and woman were being married, and He spent the whole day with them. When the wine ran out He made more, and it was the best wine they ever tasted. Jesus always gives the best of everything. His worst is better than the world’s best.How much that suggests to me. Jesus made that happy wedding. They gave Him a place at their table, and He cast no chill on their joy. This first miracle teaches us to invite Him to our wedding, give Him a place in our new home.
The Great Comforter
Have you ever had trouble in your home that human wisdom could not solve? I have had some trouble; some trials. I know what it is to look on the face of a dead son. I know what it is to feel as if the sun was never going to rise again. As if the future held no joy for me, and in that hour I cast myself upon God. In a room with every blind pulled down and the door locked, I knelt before Him, the great High Priest, and found and felt that He was touched with the feelings of mine infirmities.
Jesus gives to us the greatest kind of sympathy because He understands. It is not sympathy of sentiment. It is the sympathy of experience. He has stepped on all the thorns that pierce our feet, and He has felt the sorrows that come o’er us at times like billows, and when every human comfort fails, He will say: “Let not your heart be troubled.” He will comfort, as one whom his mother comforteth. Oh! How we need Him, and how He wants to dwell with us.
What a picture that is in the third chapter of Revelation of Him standing at the door knocking, waiting. Knocking at the door of your home, waiting to enter and solve the problems. Oh! Why do you shut Him out? Why do you act as if He were your enemy? Do you know anything against Christ? Was ever a home any poorer because He had His dwelling place there? Did you ever hear anyone who really trusted and loved Him, give a testimony against Him?
If you have not opened your heart and your home to Him, it surely must be that you are deceived in some way. The Apostle says: “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine on them.”
As I think of the turmoil and trouble about us, as I read with you from day to day these heart breaking tales of broken homes—husbands and wives living together for years, raising families, and then in the most disgraceful way, separating—sometimes ending it all by suicide, or with cruel murder, Oh! How I long to make known to all these unhappy, deluded persons the story of His redeeming loveand give them the solution that I have found—a personal salvation, a real personal Christ, abiding with us, helping us to bear and forbear, shedding abroad in our hearts the love “that suffers long and is kind.”