Proverbs 31.1



1.   This is my first Mother’s Day without my own mother, who passed into eternity on October 4, 2004.  I love my mother very much, and I think about her a great deal.  I do not believe the importance of one’s mother can ever be overstated.  Never take your mother for granted.  She is God’s gift to you.

2.   I have two very close personal friends in the gospel ministry, Jim Johnston and R. L. Hymers, Jr.  Both are wonderful men.  They are also men whose mothers figured very prominently in their lives.  I knew and loved both of their mothers.  They were truly remarkable women.

3.   When my mother passed Dr. Hymers eulogized her at her funeral.  You may remember that Dr. Hymers and I coauthored a book on the first anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center titled, “Demons in the Smoke of the World Trade Center.”  In his eulogy of my mom he referred to the dedication he wrote in that book.

4.   Here are the words he wrote:  “This book is dedicated to Iris Conner, an old-fashioned woman from Wheeler, Texas.  Her legacy lies in the character of Dr. John S. Waldrip, who is very much his mother’s son.”  As I age I realize more and more that I am my mother’s son.

5.   You men who are here today are, in all likelihood, your mother’s sons more than your father’s sons.  Such is the culture we grew up in.  You boys may very well be your mother’s sons.  On this Mother’s Day I want to speak to you men who are not married, but who expect to marry some day, or who hope to marry some day.

6.   You married guys have already chosen the woman who is or who will be your children’s mothers.  But you single men have not yet chosen the woman to marry who will be your children’s mother.  I want to speak to you today, on this Mother’s Day, about that choice.

7.   But before I speak to you about the woman of your choice I want to speak to you about how to make your choice.  I want to shed some light on the process of arriving at a good decision.  I want to urge you to conduct yourself wisely when you make decisions, especially decisions of great importance.

8.   Have you ever given any thought about the process by which you arrive at your decisions?  Most people are as dumb as stumps when it comes to making decisions.  I mean, they are complete fools when it comes to defining a problem, gathering information, considering options, and arriving at a God-honoring decision.

9.   Why am I dealing with this subject at this time?  Because young men are notoriously foolish when it comes to making important decisions, and some decisions are so important that my pastoral concern for you requires that I speak out.  You see, I was once a young man and I made some incredibly foolish decisions.

10. Most of you know Gary Isenberger, our church’s music director.  Gary Isenberger is a man that I respect, in part, for the way he approaches decision making with caution and an appropriate circumspectness.  But it was not always so.  He recently purchased a new car.  But he did so after months of consideration, months of shopping, months of reflection, months of discussion.  I think his choice of cars was a wise one.

11. But did you know that Gary Isenberger used to own a hot rod?  Excuse me, but when a young man owns a hot rod, or some other such foolish extravagance, he identifies himself as a poor decision maker.  And when a young man who is married owns a hot rod, he is really identifying himself as a poor decision maker.

12. Dominic Alessi has a friend who owns a big, black, beautiful pickup.  You young men need to listen to me.  When a young man of limited means purchases an expensive automobile he shows himself to be a poor decision maker.  How so?  Take $20,000 or $30,000 and spend it on such an automobile and what you do have?  An extravagance. A show piece.  Who is he trying to impress?

13. I used to be an incredible fool when I was a much younger man.  I used to ride a Harley Davidson in Florida and an English bike up in Oregon.  Those motorcycles were not smart purchases for me.  Why does a young man need a motorcycle?  For two reasons, generally; to ride way too fast and risk his life getting some thrills, or to impress people by showing them what a tough guy he thinks he is or what a cool guy he thinks he is.

14. My own experience suggests to me that buying a motorcycle is frequently all about pride and ego.  Why so?  How does a guy on a motorcycle feel when his bike breaks down?  Embarrassed and humiliated, usually.  And this is because I owned the bikes and rode the bikes to bolster my ego and inflate my self-imagine.  Very foolish.  Are all people who own motorcycles foolish?  No.  But I was.

15. There was another decision that I made that was just as foolish, but with the most spiritual of intentions.  When I was a young engineer designing a military satellite I joined with five other guys to buy an apartment building near Disneyland.  What a great deal.  It was a fantastic tax shelter, back in the days when I made too much money for not enough deductions.

16. Buying in to that apartment building was a great benefit for me.  But don’t think that just because something turns out right it means you are a good decision maker.  Later on, when I got saved, I had the most noble intentions about serving God and making my life count for the cause of Christ.  So, when I read Second Timothy 2.4, I just knew what I should do.

17. Second Timothy 2.4 reads, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”  I took that verse as direction from God, Himself, that I should sell my share in the apartment building so I would never become entangled in the dirty affairs of business.  Therefore, in short order, without seeking any counsel from anyone, I foolishly sold out.  It took me several years to realize how incredibly unwise my decision was.

18. Some of you guys are married to wonderful women.  Because you have a wonderful wife you think you are a good decision maker.  Others of you have good jobs.  Because you have a great job you think you are a good decision maker.  But just because you have a wonderful wife and a great job does not mean you are a good decision maker.  Thus, if you do not hurry up and start getting really careful about the decisions you make, you can still end up a mess.

19. You guys who are not married can end up with a real loser of a wife, if you are not careful.  You guys who have great jobs can end up flat broke and in a deep financial hole, if you are not careful.  And because today is Mother’s Day, and because mothers are so very important, you single guys need to think about being extremely cautious and wise when selecting the woman who will someday be the mother of your children.

20. How should you go about selecting the proper woman to marry?  You should use the exact same procedure that you use to arrive at every other wise decision you make.  But since most young men are terrible decision makers they typically make decisions about marriage that are just as poor as all the other decisions they make.

21. Think about it:  What kind of foolishness did it take for me to buy, not one motorcycle, but two?  What kind of foolishness did it take for Gary Isenberger to buy that hot rod?  What kind of foolishness does it take for a man of limited means to blow his money on expensive hobbies?  Are such purchases immoral, unethical, or illegal?  No, they are just unwise.

22. Dominic’s friend.  Is it wrong for him to have an expensive dropped down truck?  No.  But for a guy with no education, who works a rather low paying job, to spend that kind of money so he can impress people . . . when he should either invest the money or spend the money on furthering his education, is just foolish.

23. Please do not think I am opposed to using disposable income for a relaxing hobby.  Please do not think I have any problem at all with Jack Murphy and Brian Neal riding motorcycles to work.  Those two guys are not trying to impress anyone.  I am speaking to the subject of good decision making.

24. Folks, most people these days are incredibly poor decision makers.  And the reason why people are incredibly poor decision makers is because they are not wise.  So, before brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song before this morning’s sermon, I want to briefly mention only two scriptural practices employed by the good decision makers I have the privilege of knowing:



      It is so obvious a truth that it should not need stating, but many people see no connection between wisdom and making good decisions.  People are so committed to the freedom to do what they want that they fail to see the necessary connection between wisdom and great decision making.  Hello?  What wisdom is is the skill to make good decisions.  And good decision makers know that what they need is wisdom to make the right decision, so their decision will not be the wrong decision, so their decision will not be a foolish decision. 

My friends, it took me far too long to realize this connection.  I hope it does not take you as long as it took me.

1B.    The wisdom to be a good decision maker is partly acquired by prayer.  James 1.5 reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  One reason so many make such foolish decisions is because they are so opposed to God that the thought of asking Him for wisdom to make decisions never enters their minds.  But some wisdom only comes through prayer.

2B.    The wisdom to be a good decision maker is also partly acquired from Bible study.  The Word of God not only reveals the nature of God and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, but it also shows us how to live wisely.  People who read the Bible learn from the mistakes of others, seeing how certain courses of action are wise and other courses of action are foolish.  The result is great wisdom as a result of reading and studying God’s Word.

3B.    Let it not be denied that some wisdom is acquired through the experiences of life.  Thus, the young are particularly dependent upon the aged and the more experienced for certain aspects of wisdom.  Time and the different experiences of life cannot be substituted as one factor in gaining wisdom.

4B.      Then, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ is the personification of wisdom.  The Bible declares that the prudent man, or the wise man, foresees the evil that is approaching and hides himself from it, Proverbs 22.3.  The foolish, on the other hand, make no provision for the future and end up in Hell.  How can a man, how can anyone, be truly wise who rejects Jesus Christ?  As Paul told the Corinthians, Jesus Christ is made by God unto us wisdom.[1]

5B.    My friend, seek wisdom.  As Proverbs 4.7 declares, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.”



1B.    Let me quickly read some verses from the Bible to illustrate my point:

1C.         Proverbs 12.11:  “he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.”  In other words, it is just plain dumb to hang out with people who are not wise.

2C.         Proverbs 12.15:  “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”  Fools always think they are right.  They always think there is nothing wrong with what they do.  But the wise person is that man who listens to good counsel.

3C.         Proverbs 13.10:  “with the well advised is wisdom.”  See the connection between wisdom and getting good advice from those who are wise?

4C.         Proverbs 13.20:  “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”  There are two kinds of people you can hang out with, the wise and the foolish.  If you spend your time with wise men you will become wise yourself.  Hang out with morons who blow their money to impress their friends, or who are addicted to bad choices, and bad things will happen to you, too.

5C.         Proverbs 15.22:  “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”  See the connection between seeking advice (and following good advice) and achieving your goals?  As well, notice how wise it is to ask the opinions of people who know what they are talking about.  Buy a used car without talking to Ron Farrar or Jack Murphy?  I would never do it.

6C.         Proverbs 15.32:  “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”  Some people are not only not good decision makers, they don’t want to become good decision makers.  They are too stubborn to ever learn anything.  Sad.

2B.    So, what do these verses in God’s Word add up to concerning good decision making?

Typically, there are several characteristics associated with making good decisions.  Here are just a few:

1C.         First, a good decision is almost always a decision that you do not make by yourself, but is the result of talking the decision through with a number of other people.  It is amazing how often a wise decision will bubble to the surface of a discussion with good advisers.

2C.         Which brings me to a second characteristic.  Just talking out loud about a decision you are thinking about is a good thing.  You see, ideas that seem good inside your mind can sometimes be seen to be really dumb ideas when you tell someone about them.

3C.         Next, the people that you talk your decision through with need to be informed and wise people themselves, not just your buddies and pals who may have the same flaws and weaknesses you have.  Imagine trying to get advice from someone with no more experience than you have, and with no more knowledge of God’s Word than you have.

4C.         Hebrews 5.14 clearly teaches that only the spiritually mature have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  So you see, if you restrict your circle of advisors to that group that knows the Bible about as much as you do, and that are as inexperienced in spiritual matters are you are, it is unlikely that your decisions in life will be good decisions.



1.   Keep in mind that this is Mother’s Day, and that my sermon is going to be about young men selecting for marriage the woman who will be their children’s mother.  Oh, what an important decision.

2.   But the selection of a woman to marry, being one of the most important decisions a young man will ever make, is a decision that those who are notoriously bad decision makers make all by themselves.

3.   Why are young men such poor decision makers?  Young men tend to be impulsive.  Young men tend to be proud.  Young men are by definition inexperienced.  Young men have not usually been trained to make good decisions.  And finally, Time magazine reported some months back that scientists have discovered that the brains of young people have not sufficiently matured to make wise decisions, especially when those decisions are related to evaluating risk factors.

4.   So I urge you, concentrate on becoming a good decision maker.  Few decisions are more important than choosing a wife.  When seeking a wife seek God’s wisdom, and seek those who are wise with whom you can talk about the decision you are contemplating. 

5.   A man is as dumb as a stump who decides to marry a woman without ever talking about it to his pastor and the other wise men of the church before finally making his mind up.

6.   Now, brother Isenberger comes to lead us before this morning’s sermon.



1.   Today is Mother’s Day.  Most moms who attend church services on Mother’s Day expect a sermon preached to them.  Most everyone else who attends church on Mother’s Day expects a sermon that is not preached to them, but to the moms who are present.

2.   But I want to speak to you single men about the woman who will someday be the mother of your children.  The rest of you folks can listen in.  You married guys have already made your decision.  I hope it turns out well for you.

3.   What kind of woman should you seek to marry?  Should it matter to you that by marrying a woman you are selecting the mother of your children?  I hope it does.  Is that usually a factor when a guy marries a woman?  I am afraid it is oftentimes not a factor.  When you are considering marriage to a woman, there are numerous factors that should go into your decision, factors that you should discuss for hours with your pastor and your counselors and advisors.

4.   It goes without saying that you should only marry a woman who is a deeply committed Christian, as evidenced by her private devotional life, as evidenced by her public life of ministry and commitment in church, and as evidenced by her relationship to her parents and the kinds of friends she keeps company with.

5.   To be sure, once you get beyond those issues you should marry a woman you find attractive and have a romantic interest in.  But what happens once you find a spiritual woman who attracts you?

6.   My young friends, you need to consider what kind of mother that woman will be.  You see, for many years of your anticipated marriage to a woman the looming feature about her will be what kind of mother she is.

7.   My text for this morning’s sermon is Proverbs 31.1, the last phrase:  “the prophecy that his mother taught him.”  The important idea of this phrase are the words “that his mother taught him.”

8.   A great deal of what goes into your success as a man, as a husband, as a father, will be the kind of mother your future wife will be.  And if you are so naive as to think that you can, by the force of your personality or the cleverness of your mind, persuade a woman to be a good mother to your children, you are mistaken.

9.   Granted, this is a topical sermon, but it is a sermon that has been thirty years in the making.  What do you look for in a woman who is a spiritual Christian insofar as you can tell, and who you find yourself attracted to?  There are two other things I would advise you to look for:



1B.      There is no doubt in the minds of those who read the Bible with understanding that God’s basic plan for a family unit is one man married to one woman.  In that family unit the husband is the divinely appointed leader and the wife is the divinely appointed follower.

2B.      Fellows, our text reads “that his mother taught him.”  But the things a mother teaches a child, the things your wife will teach your children, the things your beloved mother taught you, are not only the formal lessons that she will teach her kids on purpose.  Most of what she teaches her children, your kids, will be things they will learn from her example, things that are not taught so much as caught.

3B.      You need to ask yourself, “Does this woman truly understand the leadership principle?  Does she know who God placed in charge in the home?  Does she seem to be truly interested in submitting to God’s appointed leader in her life, be it her father or her husband?  Will she yield to what her husband wants, and not just to what he says he wants?”

4B.      Men, we live in a difficult time for women.  Most women you will meet will not have been trained to submit to either their fathers or their prospective husbands.  Most women you will meet will not have been prepared for the complex and challenging task of motherhood.  And by that I am not referring to the household tasks of cleaning and cooking. 

5B.    I am referring to molding the personalities of little children.  I am referring to formulating the value systems of the young.  I am talking about what are arguably the most complex and challenging of all tasks.  But if a woman does not believe in and thoroughly understand the issues surrounding leadership she ultimately will fail as a mother.

6B.    Do you want to marry a woman who will confuse your children about leadership issues?  Do you want your kid’s mom to submit to you when you are at home but undermine you when you are at work?  Consider how difficult it will be for a child to someday submit to the gospel of the unseen God when he has not been trained by his mother’s example to submit to the leadership of his visible father.


2A.   In Addition To Looking For A Woman Who Knows Leadership, I WOULD ADVISE YOU TO LOOK FOR A WOMAN WHO KNOWS LOYALTY

1B.    Do you want your children to be loyal to you?  Then they will need to be raised by a woman who is, herself, loyal to you.  But you are the guy who picks that woman, you are the man who selects that girl to marry.  Have you ever considered the consequences of marrying a woman who is not loyal?

2B.      Being a man, you may be very clumsy at certain things.  You may be prone to gaffs and from time to time make dumb mistakes, foolish errors, and commit outright sins.  If you are like most guys, you may tend toward being a bit loud when you get agitated, or unreasonable when you get frustrated.

3B.      You might also provide some spectacularly spiritual leadership that those in your family, particularly your wife, is momentarily at a loss to fully understand.  It may be that you make a decision that she profoundly disagrees with.

4B.      Loyalty, you see, is never needed when two people agree with each other.  So long as you always say the things your wife agrees with, and so long as you always do the things your wife thinks are wonderful, it will not matter whether she is loyal or not.  Your wife’s loyalty will only be important when you and she profoundly disagree, or when she is at a loss to understand what you are doing.

5B.      You see, as they are growing up, your kids will not know quite how to react to you.  They are always very comfortable with the woman who nursed them, who changed them, who washed them most of the time, and who usually tends to them when they are hungry or sick.  But you will be different.  You will be dad.  You will look different, feel different, smell different, sound different, and be possessed with remarkably different skills and talents.

6B.      Thus, for your children to learn how to react to you, for your children to learn how to love you, for your children to learn how to submit to you, for your children to learn how to be loyal to you, they will look at their mother.  But what happens when they look at her when she disagrees, or when she is puzzled by what you are doing?  That’s when loyalty is required by your wife, their mother.

7B.    If your wife is not loyal to you your children will not be loyal to you.  If your wife is not loyal to you your children will respond to your leadership only when they agree with it, only when they fully understand it.  Thus, if your wife is not loyal she cannot properly raise those children to be your kids.



1.   Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”[2]  But what if you have your hopes pinned on a woman who loves the Lord, who you find attractive, and who you really like, but who has no comprehension of leadership in the home and is not loyal to you?

2.   You end up getting married, and then your home is blessed with children.  If your wife does not grasp the leadership principle and is not loyal to you there will be disagreements over child rearing.  You will insist on certain things, while she will resist on those things.  The result?  Conflict in the home.

3.   Proverbs 14.1 tells us, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”  Sadly, there are women who raise their children contrary to their own best interests.

4.   Ah, my young friends, you love your mother so much.  And rightly so.  We have wonderful mothers in our church.  But there are some women who are disastrous as mothers, because they do not understand (or refuse to submit to the leadership principle), or because they are disloyal to their husbands.

5.   God bless the mothers in our church.  God bless the women who know the leadership principle and who are loyal to their husbands.  And may God bless you men to exercise real wisdom in the selection of that woman who will be your children’s mother.

[1] First Corinthians 1.30

[2] Proverbs 18.22

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