“REED” This




My father was a chiropractor and my mother was a school teacher. Just like most moms, she was busy working around the clock. Taking care of five children and a husband, preparing all the meals, doing the laundry, and cleaning the house were all part of her job at home after she spent the day teaching her third-grade class. Now, dad and all us kids helped out with cleaning and keeping the house in order, but I am certain that none of us came close to the amount she did. With no school on Saturdays, you’d think that would be an easier day for her, but you would be wrong. Saturdays were when all the beds were stripped, the sheets were washed, and then the beds were all remade. Plus, all the bathrooms were thoroughly cleaned, and all the floors vacuumed, or swept and mopped, along with catching up on whatever couldn’t be done the week before. It was a busy day for all of us. Sundays were the only days I ever remember my mother sitting down other than at mealtime or when she was grading papers. Sunday afternoon naps were the only time I remember her resting during the day. And that was after she had gotten all of us ready for church that morning, taught a Sunday School class, sang in the choir, and then cooked a big, wonderful Sunday lunch, and cleaned the kitchen afterward. There were numerous times I remember my mother saying, “I’ve got forty-eleven things to do today!” Now, as a child who loved math, I always wondered why she didn’t just say fifty-one. Forty-eleven really didn’t make sense, but forty-eleven sounds like a lot more than fifty-one. I soon realized, of course, that was just her way of saying she had a lot to do.


I was thinking about that saying, “forty-eleven”, this morning. I’ve never heard anyone else say it, other than one of my siblings referring to mom saying it. I don’t know if she came up with it on her own or if she had heard it from someone else. Knowing my mother and her strong faith, I thought maybe it was a scripture reference. I searched the Bible for a book that contained a chapter forty and verse eleven. Out of the 66 books in the Bible, only seven contain a 40:11, and all of them are in the Old Testament. Yet, none of them are referring to being busy or having too much to do. However, there were two that spoke to me as I read them. Psalm 40:11 says, “Lord, don’t hold back Your tender mercies from me. Let Your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.” My mother loved me. Even though she was busy, she always made time for me and extended a lot of mercy to me when I was a boy. The other passage was Isaiah 40:11, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” This, of course, is speaking of our wonderful Savior and the comfort that He brings. As I thought of it in reference to my mother, she did this for me and my siblings. She fed us, cared for us, and protected us. As little ones, she would carry us in her arms. She would hold us close to her heart as she rocked us to sleep. And the greatest thing, she allowed Jesus to lead her in teaching us about Him.


I didn’t know where “forty-eleven” was going to go when I started writing this. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories of my mother. But the search for the passage was quite fun. I was going to tell you the names of the seven books that contain a 40:11, but I think I’ll let you look for them yourself. You may have forty-eleven things to do today, but you always have time to look in God’s Word.


Bro. Paul Reed


Tuesday, August 10, 2021