A Mother’s Day Tribute:
-In Honor of Motherhood-
Dr. Ron Woodworth
A Little Humor…
- Jewish proverb: God couldn’t be everywhere, and so He made mothers.
- Spanish proverb: An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
- Danish proverb: He, who takes a child by the hand, takes a mother by the heart.
- Napoleon Bonaparte: The future destiny of a child is always the word of the mother.
- Abraham Lincoln: All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother…No man is poor who has a godly mother.
- St. Augustine: It is impossible that the son of these tears [his mother’s] should perish.
- John Wesley: I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.
- Charles Dickens: I think it must somewhere be written that the virtues of the mothers shall be visited on their children as well as the sins of the fathers.
We are here today in honor of motherhood. In so doing, we are joining in a cultural celebration enacted by President Woodrow Wilson on May 9, 1914—when Mother’s Day was first proclaimed a national American holiday. However, as Christians we are further acknowledging that motherhood ultimately derives its significance, not simply by American tradition, but especially by the creative design of God. It is therefore appropriate that the Church of God “give honor to whom honor is due,” thereby affirming the necessity and dignity of the foundation of any enduring social order—the sacred role of motherhood.
“Motherhood is not an entry-level service position for mindless, second-class citizens. It is the noblest of callings. To be entrusted with the very life, health, and well-being of a tiny human person is a great gift and honor. To invest your time and best efforts into a child and to watch him or her grow, develop, and excel is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself.” (Linda Weber, Mom You’re Incredible)
A Brief Biblical Survey of Motherhood…
- Honoring your mother will help you live longer and happier.
- “Honor your father and your mother…so that you may life long and that it may go well with you…” (Exodus 20:12 & Deuteronomy 5:16)
- The Old Testament Law required the death penalty for anyone who violently assaulted their mother.
- “Anyone who attacks his father or mother must be put to death.” (Exodus 21:15)
- In the New Testament disobedience and despising of one’s mother was described as wickedness and is a prophetic sign of the last days or end times.
- “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents…” (2 Timothy 3:1-3)
- “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil…depravity…They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters…inventors of evil; disobedient to parents…”(Romans 1:29-31)
- There are several biblical exhortations not to forsake (lit. to renounce or abandon the influence of) the teachings of one’s mother.
- “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20)
- The New Testament specifically comments on Jesus’ obedience toward his mother.
- “Then he went down to Nazareth with them [his parents] and was obedient to them…growing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:51-52)
- A compassionate regard for his mother was evident even while dying on the cross.
- “When Jesus saw his mother there [at the cross], and the disciple whom he loved [John] standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son [indicating John would care for her after Jesus’ death],’ and to the disciple [John], ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)
- The older women of the newly established Christian community were encouraged to teach the younger women to excel at motherhood.
- “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live…teaching what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home…”(Titus 3:3-5)
- The Christian faith is generationally transferred through faithful and godly mothers.
- “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)
- The maternal instincts of showing love, compassion, and comfort toward a nursing infant are descriptive of God’s care and remembrance toward his children.
- “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13)
- “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15)
Motherhood Affirmations and Rejections…
As believers in Jesus Christ, we affirm…
1. That motherhood is a sacred calling and stewardship from God—to whom we will give an account and receive a reward for faithfulness. We can and should therefore rely on God for his empowering grace.
–We reject the secular notion that mothers are somehow “missing out on life.” Rather, they are helping to fashion the very life we will all inherit. We also reject the devaluation of human life including the call for abortion on demand. (Exodus 20:12 & Proverbs 31:8-9)
2. That motherhood is to be considered a full-time career pursuit-worthy of our best effort. All additional work must balance the primary responsibility and privilege of motherhood.
–We reject the secular notion that one’s children can be just as well-raised by anyone other than their mother. (Isaiah 49:15 & 2 Corinthians 5:10)
3. That the role of wife and co-parent are foundational to the effectiveness of motherhood. This requires that both husbands and wives focus on meeting each other’s needs in order to have the strength and resources to mutually care for their children.
–We reject the secular notion that singles should conceive and raise children out of the covenant bonds of marriage. (Ephesians 5:21-6:4)
4. That single mothers are not second-class citizens, but in need of much encouragement and specific support from the broader community of faith—especially from more mature women in the Lord. Their children should also be “adopted” by other men for the sake of godly role models.
–We reject the self-absorption of fallen humanity and commit ourselves to the well-being of the orphan (fatherless) and widow (husbandless). However, we do see biblical precedent to encourage (not pressure) younger single mothers to consider marriage for the sake of rearing their children in the context of a Christian family. (1 Timothy 5:14 & 1 Corinthians 7)
Closing Poetic Prayer…
“The noblest thoughts my soul can claim,
The holiest words my tongues can frame,
Unworthy are to praise the name
More sacred than all other,
An infant, when her love first came—
A man, I find it just the same;
Reverently I breathe her name,
The blessed name of mother.”
(George Griffith Fetter)
Let the Lord be magnified