Mothers: Wonder Women
Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020
Pastor Clay Olsen
We look forward each year to celebrating Mother’s Day. It’s a chance to highlight how remarkable Mothers are and to review how much these ‘Molders of men and women’ invest in our lives and thus influence our lives for good. A Mother also goes by other titles such as: Motivational Speaker, Teacher, Chef, Party Planner, Domestic Engineer, Handywoman, Taxi Driver, Guidance Counselor, Intervention Specialist, and then also that all round title of: Wonder Woman! Yeah, a Mom is a Wonder Woman all right. Really, it’s pretty remarkable, all the different skills and talents Mothers have and that they develop in order to go about doing their day to day service.
In fact, a new survey by Salary.com gathered a handful of jobs that reflect a day in the life of a Mom and estimated that the medium annual salary for all of that would be $160,000 a year. Actually, they had it at $162,581. But as far as this pay goes, I think we’d better contact Washington D.C. about another stimulus plan for Mothers, right? But again, think of all of these ‘hybrid’ roles of Educator, Interior Designer, Tax Accountant, Staff Nurse, and so on…No wonder every Mother is a ‘Wonder Woman’!
We’ve been hearing a lot about heroes recently, with all the different people giving of themselves to help those in need during this pandemic crisis, and rightly so. But godly Mothers also deserve that place of honor as well, as heroes. Through a Mother’s sacrifice children are nurtured and taught, girls become women, boys become men, husbands become mature Fathers. A godly Mother can be spotted by all of the sacrifices she has made and the lives she has enriched. That’s what makes a hero. It’s why the Scriptures say, “Her husband and children rise up and bless her saying, ‘The woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.’” (Prov 31:28-30)
So Mother’s Day is a day to thank Moms for all of these roles they have had in our lives and for all of the ways they have blessed our lives. It’s a day to thank them for all of their prayers, too. And if we were to put a price on that, Salary.com would have increase that pay figure exponentially. If you have been reading through our Chapel By The Sea Bible reading calendar, then you just recently read about Hannah and Samuel. Of course, I can’t help but always laugh when I read her husband’s comments when she was discouraged about not yet having any children. Elkanah thought he had the solution to her sadness by saying, “Well, you have me! Isn’t that better than having ten sons?” What a guy, right?! Problem solved, don’t you think? Elkanah didn’t suffer from low self-esteem.
But one of the powerful parts of Hannah’s life was her prayer life. She both prayed for Samuel before his birth and throughout his life. Notice: 1 Sam 1:27-“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” NASU What a powerful prayer! And her words have been used for centuries for child dedication ceremonies as well.
But we ought to also note from this account that this godly Mother used her pains to develop a rich prayer life. You see, pain should make us better, not bitter. Pain can drive you to prayer, so that you might obtain pain-relieving answers, along with the pain-relieving power of God’s presence and God’s peace. Remember, very often significant events begin in hearts that ache, but then find sweet relief in prayer. It’s like that even in these trying times that we are going through now with this coronavirus crisis. It’s interesting that embedded in the very definition of ‘crisis’ is the word ‘opportunity’. Every crisis is both a problem and an opportunity. An opportunity for what? Well, by the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can make even pain produce something for the glory of God and the gain of God’s people. And prayer is how you work the wheel of the pottery of pain and gain. And as we work the wheel of prayer, the Potter, our loving God, produces something of lasting value out of our prayers, even in the midst of crisis and pain. Even birth itself is a powerful example of that…how even the pain of childbirth produces the arrival of a new gift into a family. Gain is produced even from pain.
Plus, words that are spoken in prayer echo on throughout life and on into eternity. Praying Mothers become powerful vessels that God uses for His works and His will. Praying Mothers become a source of hope and peace not only to those in their family, but to others beyond their family. Again, their prayers put works into motion that impact many for generations to come. And just knowing that should be a great encouragement for praying Mothers and should also a great inspiration for them in their prayer ministry.
And think about this: What an amazing revelation it will be in Heaven when we learn about all of the ways our lives were helped and blessed because of the prayers of our Mothers! One such Mother told her son who had turned his back on his early Christian training, “My boy, when you come to the darkest hour of it all, and everything seems lost, if you will honestly call on your Mother’s God, He will not fail you.” That man did come to his darkest hour and he remembered his Mother’s words and was influenced by his Mother’s prayers and he recommitted his life to the Lord. That man was named R.A. Torrey. He became an associate with D.L. Moody, and held world Bible conferences in the early 1900’s. His preaching in Wales was instrumental in the great Welsh revival. He later was the first superintendent of Moody Bible College, or Moody Bible Institute at the time. But this is just an example of how the faith and the prayers of a godly Mother were used by God to change a young man and reach countless others for Christ.
Plus, godly Mothers have a way of reminding you of your true identity. Like with Solomon’s mother, who also referred to him as Lemuel in Proverbs 31. She reminded him that the ways of the culture around him were not to be his ways, for it was not the way of a king. As Christians, we are King’s Kids. And godly Mothers have a way of reminding us of who we are: that our identity as a King’s Kid means that our standards of living are based upon our King’s commandments, not our culture’s habits.
They challenge their children to remember that the great privileges they possess as King’s Kids requires them to live out their great responsibilities. Godly Mothers raise the bar for their children in order to help them see that what they do matters. And in reality, this high standard is also what gives young people a sense of great security and a sense of their great significance. For they will then reason: “If what I do matters, then who I am matters.” Praise God for Mothers who remind their children of their true identity as children of the King, and of their great responsibilities to live as representatives of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
And here’s something else really inspiring: In that Proverbs 31 chapter that speaks about that godly Mother, in the Jewish Talmud, the word that is used for Mother is the same word that means ‘The Home’. So when a Jewish person thinks of ‘Home’ they think of their Mother. And while much of the responsibility for the Torah teaching rests on the Father, the Mother is the one who brings the quality to the home. In other words, it is her character and her temperament and personality and devotion to the Lord that creates the atmosphere in which they live.
Often in our culture the home tends to take on a ‘structural theme’ in which the home is thought of as a place; a place where you live, the kind of house, the kind of possessions, the kind of clothes you have, and the kinds of things you do. It’s a structural kind of thinking. But in the Jewish mind the home is not the kind of house you have, but the kind of Mother you have. And if your Mother is one of virtue and knowledge and kindness, then you come from a wealthy home. That’s why you often read of one asking about the parents of those they would meet, because when they would tell them the name of their Mother, then they would then know if they were a wealthy person or not.
Isn’t that a great way to determine your wealth? And isn’t that a great way to think about your life? If someone asks you, “And who is your Mother?” When you answer they would think, “Oh yes”, and they would realize that you are a rich and blessed person to come from a home, to have a home, to have a Mother that has made you a wealthy person!
And Fathers need to often remind the children of this reality about their Mother. Their wealth is measured not by the things that they own, but by the virtues of their Mother. And do you see how liberating that is for children to grow up knowing that? They don’t have to be stressed out and troubled over obtaining the right possession or the right position or having the right status in order to be somebody, or to try to chase riches, because they already have that sense and understanding about them. They are able to rest in the reality of; “I know who my Mother is, and therefore I am rich!” So be sure to thank Mothers for this heritage of wealth that you have because of the riches of their virtues and values.
And then, here is one more name for Mothers that we see on display over and over…and that name is ‘Sacrifice’. And the reason that Mothers so willingly sacrifice is because they so willingly love. And when you think of that, a Mother’s demonstration of sacrificial love is the demonstration of the nurturing aspect of God. In Isa 66:13 we see God saying this to His people: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.” That unique comforting ministry of a mother is also seen in what Jesus said in Matt 23:37- “…How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” So as a Mother nurtures and comforts her children, she is actually demonstrating those same qualities of God to her family and to a watching world.
In fact, this comforting ministry is so profound that one of the titles assigned to God the Holy Spirit is ‘The Comforter’. In Jn 14:16-18 we find this: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” KJV Actually, this ministry of the Holy Spirit has several similarities with the ministry of Mothers. The word ‘Comforter’ here in the Greek is ‘Paraclete’, which means ‘one called alongside’. This kind of ministry is a ‘protect, defend, and promote’ kind of ministry, as God comes alongside of us and does life with us. And God the Holy Spirit certainly does all of that and more with His children. And guess what? Godly Mothers also do all of that and more with their children as they come alongside of them and do life with them.
Even our English word ‘comfort’ comes from two Latin words meaning ‘with strength’. We usually think of ‘comfort’ as soothing someone, and consoling someone, and it certainly is, but true comfort also strengthens us to face life bravely and to keep on keeping on, you know? True comfort strengthens and encourages us in the face of hardship and struggle. It imparts courage. And Mothers are great at imparting courage to their children, as well as to their husbands; believing in them and assuring them of being loved and appreciated and supported and so on. Yes, godly Mothers just really specialize in this comforting and encouraging ministry.
So Mothers, we thank you for all of the ways you teach us and lead us. We thank you for all of the ways you serve and sacrifice for us. We thank you for all the ways you comfort and encourage us. And we thank you for all of the ways you come alongside of us to assist us and share your life with us. You are to know that your works live on, and to know that everything you have done and are doing and will do for others has lasting value and has eternal rewards awaiting you. God bless you Mothers!