Let Us Thank God for Faithful Mothers!
Lord God, our dear Father in heaven, we come before You this day in prayer and thanksgiving for Your many blessings. Cause us to recognize the importance of Your call to motherhood. Move us all to appreciate, support, and thank our mothers for the work they do for us and the blessing they are to us. Uphold our mothers with Your strength, fill their hearts with Your love, lead them always with Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hannah is certainly one of the most famous of Old Testament mothers. God gave her Samuel in response to her prayer. She gave Samuel back to God as she had promised. Her dedication to God certainly served as an example for Samuel and for the other children God gave her.
Mothers in Jesus’ day brought their young children to Jesus so that He would bless them. Mothers today can do the same by reading Bible stories to their children, teaching them to pray, and bringing them to church for worship and instruction.
Text: 2 Timothy 1:3-7
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing, I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
In Christ Jesus, Who as God commands us to honor our mothers, dear fellow redeemed:
David, in Psalm 37:3, urges us "to feed on His (the LORD’s) faithfulness!" He is urging us to call to mind and to think about all of God’s blessings to us on a regular basis. If we do that, we will be happy, positive, and thankful people! The apostle Paul followed David’s advice throughout his life and, consequently, we find Paul thanking God for a variety of blessings throughout His epistles. In fact, we find Paul doing this even when undergoing difficult circumstances.
Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy as he lay in prison for a second time in Rome. His prospects for release were remote. In fact, every indication was that he would be executed. Yet, in spite of this, Paul begins this letter with a note of thanksgiving. For what was he thankful? He was thankful for the genuine faith possessed by the young man to whom he was writing, Timothy. What is of particular interest for us today, however, is the fact that Paul traces Timothy’s faith back to that of his mother and grandmother before him.
I would imagine that almost everyone here this morning might be able to think of a Christian young man or woman for whom we are also truly thankful. In most cases, I would imagine we could trace their faith back to a godly mother. On this Mother’s Day, as we honor the mothers among us and emphasize their importance, LET US THANK GOD FOR FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN MOTHERS!
Faithful Christian mothers who, first of all, lead their children to Jesus Christ! Paul writes, “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience,...when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.” Children do not grow up in the Lord by chance or by mistake. Children by nature are conceived and born in sin, as the Scriptures tell us (cf. Ps. 51:5). If it were not for the work of God’s Spirit in their hearts, they would be lost forever. Therefore, it is imperative that faithful mothers bring their children to Jesus today, just as they did when He walked on this earth during His earthly ministry.
In our New Testament reading, a group of mothers brought their little children to Jesus. Why did they do so? They did so, because they knew that Jesus could and would bless their children, and that their children needed that blessing! In the same way faithful mothers today can and do bring their children to the Lord Jesus when they request baptism for them. The Scriptures assure us that through baptism children are “born again” (cf. Jn. 3:3-5) through the working of the Holy Spirit. They receive the gift of faith and their sins are “washed away” (cf. Acts 22:16). We baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Mt. 28:19) and God promises us that, “In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you” (Ex. 20:24b).
Baptism, however, is not a spiritual "zip-lock baggy." The faith instilled through baptism in a child must be nurtured just as surely as a child must be nurtured physically. If faith is not nurtured, it will die. Unfortunately in our day, many people fail to fulfill their parental responsibilities in this area and evade them with the thought that children should be free to choose the religion they wish. Such thinking is nonsense and runs contrary to God’s will and common sense. Can you imagine Hannah suggesting to young Samuel, "Now Samuel, I will take you to the Lord’s Tabernacle this Sabbath Day, but next week I will allow you to go to the temple of Baal. You should, after all, make your own spiritual choices?" Are children free to choose whether or not to take a bath; are they free to choose whether or not to take appropriate medication when they are sick; are they free to choose whether or not they go to school? No, in these areas parents are expected by society to dictate what is deemed best, and in fact would be considered unfit parents if they did not. Yet, in spiritual matters, which are much more important for the eternal welfare of children, the world takes a casual view. Dear friends, faithful Christian mothers will want to lead their children to Jesus Christ through regular visits—formally during devotions and through attendance at Sunday school and worship services and informally as opportunities arise on the playground, in the garden, or on a walk in the woods.
Does this take time and effort? Yes, it does! Is it worth the time and effort? Yes, it is! There is nothing that a mother can do that is more important and has more lasting benefit than to lead their children to Jesus Christ. There children find their Savior; there children find forgiveness and acceptance in spite of their sin as they are taught to repent of sin and learn to rejoice in a great heavenly Father; there children find purpose and direction in life; there children receive the gift of eternal life! LET US THANK GOD FOR FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN MOTHERS—mothers who lead their children to Jesus Christ!
Mothers who, secondly, encourage their children to use their God-given gifts! Paul writes, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.” Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy in order to encourage him to continue his service to the Lord even though the church of that day was facing severe challenges. Timothy had been given numerous gifts by the Lord and needed this encouragement to urge him on in the midst of difficulty.
Mothers, it is much easier, is it not, to lead little children rather than older children to Jesus Christ. This is only natural, for little children look to their mothers for instruction and direction, and are more easily commanded to do something should that be necessary. Older children mature and develop stronger wills of their own. They become more independent and that is good, for they must be prepared to make decisions and assume personal responsibility during their adult lives. Yet, in spite of such growing independence, you can play a wonderful and important role in your older children’s lives—a role not so much as instructor, but as counselor and encourager. As long as problems exist in this world, and they will until the end of time, older children will need advice and encouragement.
What kind of encouragement can and should faithful Christian mothers give their children. Paul’s words give us clues, when he encourages Timothy to make use of his God-given gifts. Each child is given gifts by God. A major purpose of Christian education is to help children discover and then develop the gifts God has given them. But let us ever remember and remind ourselves that those gifts do indeed come from God and, in fact, they belong to God as do we all. The Psalmist says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). Consequently, let us recognized that we are but stewards of God’s gifts, which are intended to be used to God’s glory and for the benefit of others. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gifts...for the edifying of the body of Christ” (4:7,12). The talents, the abilities, the material possessions we possess as gifts from God are intended to be used to build up Christ’s body—our fellow believers.
Faithful Christian mothers are in a special position to be able to encourage their children to recognize these truths and pursue them. This will not be an easy task for the sirens of this world call out to our children to "be all that they can be...for themselves, to seek their own fortunes." But let no one become discouraged. One of the most famous stories of early Christendom involved a faithful Christian mother and her wayward son. The woman’s name was Monica. She led her son to Jesus as a child. She prayed for an encouraged him along the way. Unfortunately, her son drifted away from the faith he had been taught, fell into many temptations and sins much to the sorrow of his mother. But she continued to pray and she continued to encourage as opportunities arose. The end result was that her son, Augustine, became one of the strongest and most influence Christian leaders of the early centuries of the New Testament era. Solomon, who no doubt caused his mother some concern along the way, advises us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). LET US THANK GOD FOR FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN MOTHERS who encourage their children to use their God-give gifts!
And who, finally, are examples for their children of faith, power, love, and sound biblical thinking! Paul concludes our text with these words, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A picture is worth a thousand words; an example is the most effective teacher. My own, dear mother, who died eight years ago of cancer, trained me and my sisters by word, but even more so throughout her life by example. I remember her teaching me to pray as a young child. I remember her listening to my memory work in preparation for Sunday School classes. It remember her encouraging me to "take Jesus wherever you go." But her greatest impression on me was made by the cumulative example of her life. I would imagine that many of you can say the very same thing! How thankful we can be!
“God has not give us a spirit of fear!” The opposite of fear is faith! God would have us follow Him wherever He leads us with boldness and confidence. “We (indeed are to) walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). There are times in life when this is extremely hard to do, but how often do we not see a faithful mother holding together a family and making a tremendous impact upon individuals lives by simply living her faith—by “casting (her) care” upon God, knowing that He “cares for (her)” (1 Pet. 5:7)?
God calls upon Christian mothers to live lives of "power." We are not talking about the power of the sword—that our mothers are all to become "Zena, the Warrior Princess." No, but power in the sense of a deep and abiding strength, which comes only from God and finds its source in God. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). To know, without a bit of doubt, that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Such power moves individuals to continue in spite of troubles, to persevere knowing that God will respond to and provide in the midst of need. How often, when all is said and done, is it not the woman in the family, the wife and mother, who is the strong one?
Paul calls upon us all to "love." He calls love the greatest of virtue in 1 Corinthians. The world speaks of "mother love," but what the world thinks of in that connection may not be what God desires. The Scriptures define love in this way, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4-8a). Thank God for faithful Christian mothers who strive to live the ideal and so bless their children!
Finally Paul calls upon us to have “a sound mind”—to exercise sound, biblical thinking! Faithful Christian mothers will find a source of knowledge, strength, and advice in the Bible. Dear mothers, read your Bibles regularly, study the Scriptures with others as you have opportunity. Why? Because in those Scriptures you will, first and foremost, find the forgiving love of your Savior! There are no perfect mothers, for their are no perfect people. Faithful Christian mothers are not perfect, but find perfection in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Faithful Christian mothers find encouragement to go on and direction for the going at the feet of Jesus! As they sit with Mary and hear the “one thing needful” (Lk. 10:42) they will enable themselves properly to prepare themselves to be distinct blessings to their own children and to all whose lives they touch. LET US THANK GOD FOR FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN MOTHERS! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting