Ephesians 6_ 2-3      The Life of a Mother

Rev. David Holwick

First Baptist Church

West Lafayette, Ohio

May 11, 1986

Mother's Day

The Life of a Mother

Ephesians 6:2-3

(verse gives Mother's Day theme)

There are many ways to celebrate Mother's Day.  In 1971, President Ko Bassa of the Central African Republic honored the holiday by rounding up all the men who were in jail for committing crimes against their mothers, and he executed them.  Americans prefer a more civilized approach to this special day.

More telephone calls will be made today than any other day in the year.  Millions of flowers have been ordered, although most of them won't be as beautiful as the ones you received this morning.  We will also give our mothers cards and gifts.  A recent survey found that typical gifts are vacuum cleaners, can openers, freezers and microwaves.  What moms really want is a meal out, so the girls and I will be treating Celeste to a free coney hotdog at the Dairy King.

Mother's Day only scratches the surface and that's about all we should expect.  It gives us an opportunity to give our mothers those small tokens that show we care.  But we all know that motherhood is a much deeper issue.  If anyone in the Bible stands for real motherhood, I think it would be the mother of Jesus - Mary.

Mary probably resembles your mother in more ways than you think.  She had humble origins - she didn't come from a rich or well-known family but she had a rich faith in God and he knew her.  Turn in your Bibles to Luke 1:46-47.  Notice how Mary addresses God:

And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior."

With all the uncertainties that face our world and our own weakness in standing up to it, it is a wonderful thing to have a Savior.  We all need to be saved from our sins so we can be pure like God wants us to be but salvation in the Bible also concerns the everyday struggles of life.  When we fall into a pit, God can pull us out.  He saves us from our own stupid mistakes and sets us on the right path again.

Every mother is special but a Christian mother is best of all.  For most people, no other person has more spiritual influence.  In the Old Testament there were no schools or seminaries to teach about the faith.  Instead, Moses told the Israelites to teach their children in their homes.  The Christian faith cannot be taught like you teach math or social studies.  The Christian faith involves facts but it also involves things that can only be learned by experience and example.  This is where mothers have always excelled.  One preacher gave this compliment: "The mom practices what I preach."

A book can teach you about prayer but it is better to have a mother who prays for you.  Mary had this kind of influence on Jesus.  It comes across in a subtle way.  Turn to Luke 2:39.  It says Jesus' parents did everything required in the law of the Lord.  This refers to the Old Testament requirements for dedicating children.  They started him off on the right track.  Now go to verse 41:

"Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover."

Jews were required to observe the Passover in Jerusalem but most of them didn't.  They had better things to do.  But Mary would not cheat God so she saw to it that her whole family took the long pilgrimage every year.  Luke 4:16 also reveals the spiritual influence of Mary:

"He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom."

How did synagogue attendance become a custom for Jesus?  His mother took him.  She didn't just put him out the door or drop him off but took him.  If you had a mother who took you to church, praise God.  You may have resented it, wished you had been anywhere else but it had an influence on you because you're here today.  Proverbs 22:6 says:

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Every mother wants this verse to be true.  You pray that it's true but there will come times when you will have your doubts.  Believe it or not, there were times Mary wondered how Jesus was going to turn out; Mark 3:21 is intriguing in this regard.  When Jesus was at his peak of popularity, hundreds of people were constantly surrounding him so that he could barely eat meals.  It says in Mark 3:21:

"When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.' "

His own mother thought he was crazy.

Mary was not the first mother to worry about her children, and she definitely wasn't the last.  Back in the 1960s a young man named Tim Lee was growing up in a Christian family.  As a matter of fact, his father was a preacher.  When Tim became a teenager he began to rebel against the restrictions his mother and father put on him.  He even wandered away from his faith in God.  Finally Tim Lee became so fed up with his home life he ran off and joined the Marines.  They trained him and shipped him off to an Asian country called Vietnam.  Imagine how his mother felt.  She loved her son and had nurtured his faith when he was young.  If she had put restrictions on him it was because she wanted to direct his life in God's way.  But he had rebelled, rejected the faith and ran away.  Now he was at war.  Where were God's promises?

Some of her worst fears soon came to pass.  Three months before he would have returned home, Tim was leading his men through a minefield.  He made one false step; when he regained consciousness a buddy was cradling him in his arms and praying for him.  Both of Tim's legs were gone.  Tim uttered the most sincere prayer of his life: "God, if you'll just let me live, I promise I'll serve you."  Tim Lee survived and he kept his promise.  In answer to his mother's prayers he became a preacher and has led revivals across the United States.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Not every mother is as fortunate as Mrs. Lee.  Sometimes mothers experience a deep, continuing sorrow for their children.  God told Mary she would.  In Luke 2:35 the prophet Simeon told her a sword would pierce her soul.  It was fulfilled when she saw her son hanged on a cross.

Mothers have always been the ones who feel tragedy the deepest.  They never forget a loss no matter how many years have gone by.  That is why faith should be a possession of every mother.  Faith is believing God will work all things out for the good, even when you don't know when or how.  Faith is believing we have something to hope for beyond this life so that no loss needs to be permanent.  Mary had this kind of faith, and although she did not understand God's complete plan for her son, the Bible says she caught glimpses of it and stored it in her heart.

All mothers are very human but they're still special.  One of the claims of the Bible is that God is just like our mothers.  It may take some getting used to because we always call him our Father but there are a few verses that beautifully show he is our mother as well.

When Jesus looked out over the city which would crucify him he said:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing."

God wants to protect us from the effects of sin but we have the freedom to reject him, just like we can turn against our own parents.

Another verse, one of the last ones in the Bible, says that in heaven God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.  That's a very simple statement but it describes something only a mother would do in Israel in Jesus' day.  When we do suffer, whether because we have gone away from God or from the events of life, God wants to comfort us.


Typed on July 15, 2005, by Sharon Lesko of Ledgewood Baptist Church, New Jersey

Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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