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A Mother's Love

With my father passing away in the past few months, it has given me reason to think of my own mother’s life even more. That search has led to consideration of the loving, godly mother. In 1950, the great Scottish American preacher Peter Marshall stood before the United States Senate and he explained it this way:
“The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge — that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other kind of women — beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman — or of a godly man either, for that matter.”
While we do not venerate Mary as one to worship, we do appreciate her work as mother of our Lord. It is her works in her life and the life of Christ that praise her today, not her position. Her position is the same as ours if we know Christ as Savior. That is a position of salvation. Her ultimate goal was not birthing Christ, but believing in Christ. Any woman can be a “baby mama”, but mothering is not so much the birthing of children but the implantation of Christian character in themselves and others. Mary too needed to trust Jesus for her soul’s salvation, as do each one of us. Having done that, she became a great giver of love to her husband, our Lord and the rest of her family. We are going to look at the life of Mary to see the greatness of a mother’s love. We will see how a mother’s love being poured out over her lifetime is the greatest contribution she can make toward her physical and spiritual family. Will you make the most of the gift of motherhood and recognize the revolutionizing work it can have in the hands of one who embraces it?
We can see five portraits of a mother’s love as lived through the life of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mothers have a chance to create portraits of love in this life that you can treasure now and for eternity. Will you have those eternal treasures that are available for you in the gift of motherhood?
Mary’s own ability to love was made mighty through her own relationship with God. As God prepared to use her to give birth to the Savior, He chose Mary to be that one in whom the little Lord Jesus would grow and be nurtured through His early years in preparation for His ministry and saving work. While in Mary was implanted this life and she was given grace as all of us are, she also found favor with God (Luke 1:30). This favor was not only a result of God’s grace, but also of her own walk with God. She built a relationship with God that would be able to withstand the challenges of being questioned about her pregnancy; that would encourage her in Christ’s birth; that would be able to strengthen her in her marriage; that would sustain her through years of travel and the birth of a number of other children, and then the death of her husband Joseph. As she first encountered the angel of the Lord, she had already had an exceptional testimony of fellowship with God. She was able to expand this walk with God as she went to see her relative Elisabeth, and the two of them were able to rejoice in God’s work in bringing them their special children. When God did something special in her life and in the life of Christ, it is said in Scripture that she “treasured these things in her heart”. Mothers have the opportunity to have treasures that are eternal when faithfully carrying out their duties. Mamas today have the opportunity to be the shapers of eternal souls. Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others. It means standing beside your husband, following him, and investing in the lives of children whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you. It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal rewards. It means investing in the lives of others who may never fully appreciate your sacrifice or comprehend the depth of your love. And it means doing all these things, not because you will receive the praise of man — for you will not — but because God made you to be a woman and a mother, and there is great contentment in that biblical calling. In other words, Motherhood requires vision. It requires living by faith and not by sight. Ask God to give you a great vision of what He can to through you as a mother or grandmother.
This love is not only built through the mother’s relationship with God, but it is modeled in the world by her care toward the family. Mary poured time and effort into the spiritual growth of Jesus and the rest of the children in the family. Let us not forget that, besides the Savior Himself, the rest of the children in the family also grew up to be great servants of the Lord. James was the first pastor of the church in Jerusalem as seen in the book of Acts. Another son, Jude, wrote the book of Jude in the New Testament. Mary chose a life that mattered in terms of raising godly children. There are many people who ask the question: Does my life matter? But a mother that fears the Lord need never ask such a question.
Writer Doug Phillips says: “The most underrated job in America is that of being a mother. The entire world seems to conspire to mock and minimize the true blessings of motherhood. This is why we appreciate the words of J.R. Miller, who once wrote: ‘Oh, mothers of young children…your work is most holy. You are fashioning the destinies of immortal souls. The powers folded up in the little ones that you hushed to sleep in your arms last night, are powers that shall exist forever. You are preparing them for their immortal destiny and influence. Be faithful. Take up your sacred burden reverently. Be sure that your heart is pure and that your life is sweet and clean.’ Once a lady went to visit her friend. During the visit the children of the friend entered the room and began to play with each other. As the lady and her friend visited, the lady turned to her friend and said eagerly and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words: “Oh, I’d give my life to have such children.” The mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came: “That’s exactly what it costs.” There is a cost of motherhood. And the price is no small sum. And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy. But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ.”
As Jesus enters into His ministry, there is a point where He is speaking to the people in Matthew 12:46-50. His mother and brothers are outside to see Him. Yet He does not go to them directly. Instead, he motions toward His disciples and calls them His mother and brethren. What is the meaning of this? Is He minimizing the contributions of His mother and family? No, on the contrary, I believe He is saying that as we are to mother and love in the family setting, that we should also do the same in the family of God. He is saying that same desire to have godly children should extend into God’s family. He is taking that same spirit of motherhood and extending it into the Christian family. Those of you who do not have young children have the opportunity to take that same spirit and seek out those in God’s family who can use that same “mothering”. Jesus, in a sense, compares it to discipling here, because mothering and discipleship are comparable in the life of the faithful believer.
Like all mothers, Mary’s work with Jesus and the rest of her children was tried. In John 19:25, we see Mary there as Jesus is on the cross. She, like many, could not have seen the entire plan of God and had to wonder about what was happening. Was all the plan of God being destroyed as Jesus suffered there? When a mother’s children suffer, she suffers. This was the case for Mary on this day as she saw Jesus die. Like others, she wondered what would happen. However, she also lived to see God’s continuing work in Christ’s resurrection and work. We see her with the disciples and the other believers in Acts 1:14. While a mother suffers, there is the hope of victory that is also available in Christ. She was around for the worst of times and the best of times, as God began His work in another generation.
Jesus also did not leave her to her own devices when He left this earth. In John 19:26-27, Jesus made sure even from the cross that His mother was to be cared for. He transferred that responsibility to the disciple John before He died on the cross. There are times that mothers need help, too. Jesus saw Mary getting older and knew she would need someone to help take care of her. While He knew He could not stay, He did not miss that responsibility. There will be a day when that mother who is so full of love and energy will need care of her own. Will you be there for her as she has for you so many times?
I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultramodern. The world has enough women who know how to hold their liquor, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart.
It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right that socially correct. As we consider Mother’s Day, let’s remember that we are fighting for the Lord, and it is He who prioritizes motherhood and home as the highest calling and domain of womanhood “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). May the Lord fill our churches with faithful mothers!

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