Today is a special day on the calendar. I believe there are many forgiveable sins in the church, but perhaps the only unforgettable sin is forgetting Mother’s Day. As I look out at our congregation this morning, I see so many mothers that I have gotten to know and love. Women who have mothered, grandmothered, and are now great-grandmothering–third time is the charm, right? You women have endured tantrums, sleepless nights, dirty diapers, teen drivers, endless grocery shopping, and limitless housework. Some of you worked full time and mothered full time. I don’t know how you did it! One thing is for certain, being a mom is one of the most difficult jobs created.
Yet, for many of those here, Mother’s Day is a difficult Sunday. Maybe you are like Naomi from the Bible, a woman who watched as her young sons perished and was left childless; Mother’s Day is so difficult for you because you are reminded of the precious children you have lost. Maybe you are a woman like Eve. She was the mother of all living, yet she watched as her eldest son struck down her beloved child Abel. Mother’s Day is so difficult to celebrate when you have a wayward child. It has always been a discouragement for mothers to watch their precious sons and daughters reject all that they so lovingly and gently taught them. It’s tough. Maybe you are like Hannah–a woman who was unable to have children, but was granted grace. She conceived a child and dedicated Samuel to the Lord, watching him grow up in the temple honoring and serving the LORD. Your children are a reminder of God’s grace in your life. When your children walk in the ways of God, they are a blessing to you.
Motherhood is a joyful sorrow, a mournful gladness. You spend all of your energy raising and preparing your sweet children to grow up and leave you. Yet, God puts such value in motherhood. One of the Ten Commandments specifically commands us to honor our mothers. Proverbs 1 explains that son’s should not forsake their mother’s teaching. In fact, the last chapter of Proverbs is advice that a king received from his mother about what kind of wife to look for. Isaiah 66 compares God’s comfort to his people to the comfort a mother gives her child.
You may be in the midst of the difficulty of full time motherhood, or your children may be grown. You may have no children, or you may mourn the loss of your children. Whatever circumstances you as a woman may find yourself in, God has given you a church that is meant to comfort you as a mother. You may feel like you have nowhere to turn–turn to the church, and you will find shelter and a warm embrace. For those of you who feel like motherhood has passed you by, like you have no one to mother, you are wrong. In Matthew 12, Jesus tells us that we who do the will of God have been gathered into a new family. The women of the church are our mothers. Paul talks about Rufus’ mother in Romans 16 saying, “Greet [Rufus’ mother]; who has been a mother to me as well.” Also, Paul instructs Titus to treat older women as mothers in the faith.
If you are a woman in the church, you have a whole congregation of children to mother. Each of the younger men and women in your church needs your counsel, encouragement, guidance, and help. Our children need grandmothers who will teach them the Bible as Timothy’s grandmother did. Our young women need mothers to teach them how to be good wives.
Women, our churches need mothers. Will you step up and fill that void? On this Mother’s Day, will you commit to sharing your gentle love and encouraging spirit with the members of your church? We need you. You have been placed in your church to love us, care for us, to pick us up when we fall, and to guide us.
May God grant comfort to your souls and help you to find joy in motherhood.