1. “Philia”, or love between friends;
2. “Eros”, or love between a man and a woman;
3. “Storge”, or the love between a parent and a child; and
4. “Agape”, or the love between God and mankind.
I was given an assignment to prepare a message on “Storge”. And it was in the process of writing that first ever sermon that I came across a fable originally related by the Greek slave Aesop some 2500 years ago. That fable, which I shared this past Sunday in my message on Mother’s Day, reminds us all of the importance of loving our children in a responsible manner. I thought I would post it here today.
“The Young Thief and His Mother”, a Fable by Aesop
A schoolboy stole a book from one of his fellows, and brought it home to his mother. Instead of scolding him, she fully went along with his wrongful deed.
In time the boy, now grown into a man, began to steal things of greater worth, till at last being witnessed once more taking something which did not belong to him he was bound, hands behind his back, and led to the gallows.
Upon seeing his mother following amongst the crowd, wailing and beating her breast in sorrow, he asked the sheriff to let him whisper one last word in her ear. When she quickly drew near and put her ear to her son’s mouth, he almost bit it off.
Upon this she yelled out loudly, and the bystanders flocked forward chiding the uncaring son, as if his evil ways had not been enough, but that his last deed must be one of greater unkindness towards his mother.
But he answered; “It is she who is the wright of my wrongs; for if, when first I stole my schoolfellow’s book and brought it to her, she had given me a sound thrashing, I should never have grown so wicked in my ways and come to this untimely end”
Aesop always included a moral at the end of each of his fables. Here the moral is: “Teach a child to follow after the right things of life, and when he is old he will not wander from worthiness.”
Those who are familiar with their Bible will immediately recognize the similarity to Proverbs 22:6 (KJV): “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I thank God for my own mother’s influence upon my life. She kept me on the straight and narrow (not always an easy task); and I pray I never disappoint either her or the God she taught me to love and serve.
NOTE: C. S. Lewis’ masterful book, The Four Loves, is a classic available at Christian bookstores nationwide and/or online from most any notable bookseller.