TD Jakes - Momma Don't Look Back
You are unsung heroes. When you start talking about great mothers like Eve, she is the mother of all creation. The mother of all creation, and yet, not one time in the New Testament does Jesus ask us to remember Eve. Sarah is the mother for the nation of Israel who, as an old woman, became pregnant, and gave birth, and produced a child in her old age, after her hot flashes. And not one time does the Lord ask us to remember her. Not one, not one time. Rachel gives birth even while she's dying, she's giving life, and in the lurches of death, before death's chilly finger could calm her temperature, she pushed out a king, and yet, the Lord, not one time, asks us to remember her.
Do you hear what I'm saying to you? But in our text today, of all the women from Esther, to Ruth, to Naomi, woman, after woman, after woman, after woman, after woman who did amazing things, but not one time does Jesus ask us to remember any of them. But in our text today, of all the women in the Bible that Jesus says we should pay attention to, of all the women who performed miracles and drove nails into the heads of kings, and received their children raised from the dead, of all the women in the Bible whose issues of blood ceased, who got healed and delivered by the power of God, who had their sons raised from the dead, of all the women in the Bible, the one woman that Jesus says we ought to remember in the Old Testament is to remember Lot's wife. He asked us to remember a woman who has no name.
Search all you want to and dig all you want to, open up all of your lexicons and all of your commentaries, you cannot find Lot's wife's name, and yet, this nameless woman Jesus has told us pay attention to her. Remember Lot's wife. I'm not even gonna give you her name, so it's not important that you understand her name, you've got to understand her game. Remember Lot's wife. It's extrapolated from a text that deals with eschatology. It talks about when the Son of Man shall appear. If you're on the rooftop, don't go down to get your pocketbook out the house. In other words, when God gets ready to take you forward, don't deem anything behind you to be so valuable that you miss the opportunity tying to deal with that which is behind you. Have the courage to go somewhere you've never gone before and do something you've never done before, and don't deem anything about yesterday so valuable that you mess up today.
"For this is the day that the Lord has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it," and he says to us if you seek to save your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life, you will find it. Jesus is telling us to be losers, not winners. And all the time we've been praying Lord, make me a winner, and the Lord is saying no, I don't wanna make you a winner, I wanna make you a loser. Because if you are a loser, you will always be a winner. If you lose your life, you will find it, but if you find your life, you will lose it. He says winning is losing and losing is winning.
So, if for every woman in the room whose ever felt like a loser, for every woman in the room who ever felt like I don't have what it takes to deal with what I gotta deal with in the situation that I'm in, for every woman who ever looked at a situation and looked at your child and said, "I'm a loser as a mother, and I'm a loser as a wife, and I'm a loser as a daughter," welcome, welcome, welcome, losers, you are all winners. "And whosoever seeks to lose his life shall find it". And then Jesus delivers this admonition, this admonition, this warning, this crystalized moment where he takes us back into time, in the middle of a dissertation about what he's going to do at the end, he takes us back to what he did in the beginning and says, "Remember Lot's wife".
We don't know for sure who Lot's wife is. We don't know where she came from. We don't know whether he married her while he was in Sodom and Gomorrah or whether she was a part of the entourage that came with him, but we know that she's significant enough that Jesus wanted us to remember her. They're packing up everything, getting ready to go, and she's leaving the familiar. And the Lord told me to preach this, because he will always call you out of your comfort zone. He will cause you to leave the familiar for the unfamiliar. He will always take you to your scary place, to your unfamiliar place, he's been doing it all your life. I've told you about the time you got good at something, it'll always change. He means for you to be off center and out of balance, and if there's one thing women hate, it's to be off center and out of balance.
That's why they ask so many questions, 'cause they wanna be sure. "Where are we going"? "How long are we gonna be there"? "Where are we going to stay"? "Do they know that I'm coming"? "What am I supposed to wear"? "What am I going to"? "If we go out to eat, where are we going to eat"? "Do you have enough gas in the car"? "Have you checked the spare tire"? Come on, somebody, women, you know I'm telling the truth. You always want to know everything before you go, but with God, you gotta walk by faith and not by sight. And before the brimstone began to fall on the city, and before fire began to engulf the town, two men and a truck had backed up to the house and started loading up everything she had, and she didn't have time to take it, because she had to leave real quick, and she had to follow Lot from the familiar to the unfamiliar, to the scary place.
And it's hard to leave what you're still connected to. And so, Lot loads up everything and he starts going down the road, and he's leaving the familiar, and he's going into the unfamiliar, and she's with him, but she's not with him. Halfway out of the city, before they could even get to the mountaintop that God was going to take them to, before they could discover that kingdoms and nations would come out of them, that much of the Middle East would be a result of their relationship, before she could discover who she really was as a woman, because she thought that the sum total of her worth was in her past and not in her future, because she thought that the good old days were the best days before, she got to find out that God was taking her to a higher place, and that God will always take you to something better. He will not take you to something lesser.
Before she ever got to find out who she really was as a woman, before she realized that the best of your life is not accomplished when you're 40, before you realize that God has something for your 50s, and your 60s, and your 70s, and your 80s that would blow your mind, if you're not careful, you'll give up on where you are trying to be what you used to be, and squeeze a size 12 in to a size 8, and start switching like you did when you were in junior high school. See, I'm gonna mess with you just a little bit. The reason we don't have many praying mommas is because momma's so busy trying to be sexy. Stella is trying to get her groove back while your momma was trying to get her prayer on. I told you they was not gonna like this.
Touch somebody and say, "Momma, don't look back". If you're still angry with men over what your daddy did, and how he didn't love you, and how he didn't stay with you, and now you can't stand men based on somebody who's gone or dead, "Momma, don't look back". If you're still trying to prove something to somebody who's not even a part of your present reality, "Momma, don't look back". You have to understand that God saves the best for last. Let me try you all. You have to understand that God saves the best for last. I know youth looks amazing, and it is, and being young is incredible, and it has its advantages, but some things, the best food is slow cooked.
Maybe it was the sound of the thunder or the lightning, or the tremors of the ground beneath their feet that made her just want to look one last time back at where they came from. Maybe it was the couch that they couldn't get in the truck, and maybe it was the house that she wasn't sure she would ever have again, and maybe it was the playground that she left in the backyard for the kids, and maybe it was the fence around the house, but this momma with two little girls turned away from what was in front of her to look back at what was behind her, and the moment she turned to look back, she turned to a pillar of salt. She is the only one in all of the Scriptures that turned to a pillar of salt. She turned to a pillar of salt. Looking back, she turned into a pillar of salt.
And it's funny that she would turn into a pillar of salt, because, like salt, her presence was important. Like salt, her presence was holding the family together, because a good momma holds the family together. Like salt, she was a preservative. The only reason our family made it through everything that we went through, aside from God, is that a good woman preserves the family, even if you have to explain the kids to Daddy, and you have to lay down at night and explain Daddy to the kids, a good woman is like salt. She keeps the thing from spoiling. She makes it work when it's not working. She takes a part-time job and stretches money that's not even there. She doesn't murmur and complain, she does what she has to do to make it.
If she has to get some food stamps, and coupons, and go on Tuesdays when you get two for one, a good woman can make cornbread even when we don't have milk. A good woman can take a good man in a bad situation and make him feel like Superman, even though he lost his job. And that's why, when a man marries a good woman, he forgets sometimes that she's his wife and calls her Momma, because a good woman makes you wanna cuddle up under her arms, because a good woman is a shelter in your life. A good woman is like salt. A good woman is like salt, because she seasons up the house. She makes it a better place. She turns a house into a home. She turns a crisis into an opportunity. She turns a calamity into a moment for us to believe God. A good woman is like salt. The food could exist, but it wouldn't be the same if she wasn't sprinkled up in that place.
A good woman is like salt, because she's a purifier. And over the years, she'll take a wild child and purify him. A good woman is like salt, she's a purifier. Anytime you sprinkle her on something, she'll take a man and turn him into a husband. She's like salt, everything tastes better when she in it. She's like salt, she cleans up messy situations. She drives out bacteria and says, "Devil, get out of my house". A good momma will pray at two o'clock in the morning while everybody sleep and open up the door and sweep the devil out of the house, because you can't have my house today. A good woman will step into a stinking hospital room and say, "I command you, in the name of Jesus, to turn".
Touch somebody and say, "Momma, don't look back". She gave up being the presence of salt to become a pillar of salt. For if the salt has lost its savor, what good is it? If you are not going to be present in the moment, what good are you? If you're not gonna be with me, right now, what good are you? If you can't suffer with me before you reign with me, what good are you? Your presence is like salt, but if your salt has lost its savor, you go from the presence of salt to a pillar of salt.
When Lot's wife looked back, the family rotted. Oh, they survived without her, they made it to the mountaintop without her, but without her salty presence in that marriage, Lot got drunk and rolled over and laid down with his daughters. He rolled over to a spot she used to be, but without her present, being as carnal as he was, he went bad without her. And both her daughters got raped without her, by their father, without her, and produced Moab and Ammon without her. And those children produced a country filled with idolatry without her. She was looking at a city and God had countries in her.
And I just came to tell you mommas, if we ever needed good mommas before, we sure do need 'em now. If we ever needed Big Momma before, we sure do need her now. I wanna talk to the old woman whose ankles are swollen, and your back is hurting, and you went from a size ten to a size 24, and you got heart troubles, and palpitations, and you're on medication, and you can't move like you used to, and you can't stand as long as you used to stand, and you can't serve like you used to serve. I wanna tell you that your presence is important. I wanna tell you, that we need you, even if you don't cook, even if you don't work, even if you can't go to school, even if you can't do what you used to do, even if you can't lead the business or run the company, we need your presence. I wanna tell you, big momma, old momma, grey-haired momma, hair-comin'-out momma, got-a-hair-piece-on-to-cover-a- bald-spot-momma, I wanna tell you, you look good to us. You look good to us.
You know why you look so good to us? Because we can trust you. Because you can know the very worst about us and still believe the very best of us, and because when all hell is breaking loose, you will pray us out of stuff and keep your mouth shut. Don't let the devil talk you into a nursing home, or talk you into Alzheimer's, or make you think that because you can't wear a bathing suit you're not a beautiful woman. You're a beautiful woman, girl, you are absolutely gorgeous. Momma, don't look back. Momma, don't look back, because if you look back, somebody's gonna spoil without your wisdom, and spoil without your warning, and spoil without your prayer life. Momma, don't look back, because you're the one who prays us out of acting a fool. You're the one who drives back AIDS out of our sons. Momma, don't look back, because when we've made a mess on ourselves, just like you used to clean us up when we were three months old, we can come and sit at your kitchen table and you'll wipe the smell of what we did off of us.
And Momma, in this world where you can't trust nobody, in this world where everybody betrays everybody, and you can't even tell your friends from your enemies, Momma, we need you. We need you to pray for us until we can pray for ourselves, and we need you to cry out to God 'til we can cry for ourselves. Momma, we need you. Whatever it takes to stay alive, to keep your heart beating, to keep you going, to keep your mind going, to keep your thoughts clear, stay with us, Momma.
Remember Lot's wife, because you are the only thing that's keeping everything together. And you are the only thing that adds seasoning to the things we as men go out and get. You are our salt, Momma. You keep us from spoiling, Momma. You are our preservative. You make the kids that ain't speaking start speaking again. That's still your sister, that's still your brother, shut your mouth. Go back in the house and talk to them. Momma, evidently, there's some kind of devil coming from some kind of direction, trying to make you think that you're not important, and that you're not significant, and that you're not vitally essential. Even though your kids may have gotten more degrees than you, you still got more wisdom than them. We need you...