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A Mother’s Heart
I’ve always been a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon fan. I remember one of their Mother’s Day comic strips. Standing by his mother’s bed
Calvin said, “Hey, Mom! Wake up. I made you a Mother’s Day card.”
She replied, “How sweet of you.”
Calvin said, “I did it all by myself. Go ahead and read it.”
“I was going to buy you a card with hearts of pink and red.
But then I thought I’d rather spend the money on me instead.
It’s awfully hard to buy things when one’s allowance is so small.
So I guess you’re pretty lucky I got you anything at all
Happy Mother’s Day. There I said it. Now I’m done
So how about getting out of bed and fixing breakfast for you son.”
Sarcastically the mother replied, “I’m deeply moved.”
And Calvin said, “Did you notice the part about my allowance.”
A science teacher lectured on the properties of magnets for an entire class. The next day he gave a quiz. The first question read: “My name begins with an ‘M,’ has six letters, and I pick things up. What am I?” Half the kids wrote, “Mother.”
A father was trying to explain the concept of marriage to his 4-year-old daughter. He got out their wedding album, thinking visual images would help. When he was finished, he asked if she had any questions. She pointed to a picture of the wedding and asked, “Daddy, is that when mommy came to work for us?”
Mother’s give a lot for us, and more often than not we take it for granted.
Mother’s Day was started as a movement among a few Christians following the Civil War to recognize and honor the unsung heroes we call moms.
Mother’s truly are a gift from God. Today we’re going to look at a mother’s heart, along with a couple characteristics of mothers that will help us understand and know God better.
A Mother’s Love
One of the primary characteristics of a mother is a mother’s love. A mother loves her children unconditionally and sacrificially.
A mother loves her child no matter what they do. If you think about it, right from the beginning, children do nothing to deserve love. When they are in the womb they cause discomfort, morning sickness, and pain during the many months of pregnancy. And then there’s the pain childbirth.
And while they look cute when they come out, all they end up doing is eating, pooping, sleeping, and crying. They require constant attention with feedings every two to three hours, which means sleepless nights.
Yet mothers amazingly love them unconditionally.
• How is it that when our kids are screaming, crying, and having temper tantrums a mother can still love them?
• How is it that when they grow up and make poor decisions, rejecting their parent’s advice and potentially the parents themselves, a mother, with a broken heart, can still love them?
Love like that is illogical; it doesn’t make sense, why would someone love without thought of return when the cost is so high. Where does that love come from? I can tell you that it doesn’t come from millions of years of evolution. It comes from God; it is a gift from God.
The Bible says we have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and that God is love (1 John 4:8,16). Therefore, God has hardwired us to love others as He has loved us. And the love a mother has for her child is God’s greatest example of the kind of love He has for us.
Yes, a mother or father do not always love their children unconditionally, perhaps because as human beings there are strings attached, “If you do this then I will love you,” or they remain emotionally distant, but this is a result of love that has been twisted by sin. Love, however, the kind of love we’re talking about today, is a gift from God, it is not genetic, it is not inherited, and it is a gift and a choice.
It might be helpful at this juncture to remember the second commandment in God’s Great Commandment, which is to love our neighbor as ourselves, or to love others the way we want to be loved. This is then our way of showing God how much we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27).
But back to a mother’s love, so powerful is a mother’s example of God’s love that the Apostle Paul uses it to explain how we are to love one another.
“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NKJV)
Other than Jesus’ death on a cross, a mother’s love is the next closest example of the kind of love God has for us, and the kind of love we are to demonstrate to each other.
Now, it doesn’t mean our love for our children is as perfect as God’s love is for us, but a parent’s love is what a child forms his or her thoughts of God upon.
The Bible says God chooses to love us unconditionally, and he doesn’t love us for what we do but simply for who we are, and there is nothing that can separate us from God’s unconditional love.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV)
And so first we see that a mother’s love is unconditional. Next what we see is that a mother’s love is sacrificial.
A mother’s love is sacrificial. Think of all the late nights and early mornings feedings, and all those hours of comforting, rocking, and singing to get children to sleep. Think of all the hours a mother takes to care for her children in times of sickness, or taking them here and there, from this event to that event, even at the expense of something she may want to do.
Someone calculated that by the time a child reached the age of eighteen, a mother puts in over 18,000 hours of child-generated work.
Mothers have also given up careers to stay at home to raise their children, not to mention the income attached. Mothers give up their own needs to make sure the needs of the kids are met.
It is this sacrificial love that mothers demonstrate God love for us, as He gave His only begotten Son, and that Jesus willing gave His life for.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
God made this ultimate sacrifice because He loves us. Mothers don’t have to make the sacrifices they do, but they do so out of their love.
A Mother’s Faith
There is a story in the Bible, although it isn’t written down quite as complete as I would like to share with you today, but from the information we are given from the Scriptures we can surmise what happened, and it goes to the very heart of a mother’s faith.
The story is about a young man by the name of Timothy and his mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois. They lived in a city named Lystra, which today would be found in the modern day country of Turkey.
It would seem that Eunice became enamored with a young man, probably over the objections of her mother. For you see, the young man wasn’t Jewish, which was in that culture frowned upon because of the potential of turning away from the faith, Numbers 25.
But Eunice would not be swayed and they married. Now the problems began, especially in regards to faith. But instead of following her husband’s faith, she remained faithful to God, and along with her mother continued to read and obey God’s word.
Soon she had a son by the name of Timothy. But instead of raising him up in the Greek faith of his father, Eunice and her mother, Lois, raised him up in the faith of the Lord God of the Bible. On Paul’s first missionary trip to Lystra, Eunice and Lois both accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, along with Timothy.
On his second trip back to Lystra, Paul heard of Timothy’s great faith, and so he took Timothy with them, and Timothy became a valuable member of Paul’s missionary team and became an elder within the body of Christ.
While in Rome awaiting his death, Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy. And from this letter we see how the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother set the course of his life.
“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.” (2 Timothy 1:5 NKJV)
Paul recognized that Timothy’s faith was mainly a result of his mother’s and grandmother’s faith, and how they taught Timothy of the good and right way to go, taking seriously God’s admonition to train children in the ways of God (Proverbs 22:6).
We see this as Paul again brings up Timothy’s upbringing.
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
Even as a child, Eunice and Lois would teach God’s word to Timothy. This word, “childhood,” that Paul uses in our passage refers to a baby or toddler. In other words, before Timothy was even walking Eunice and Lois teamed up and taught him what the Bible said. They read to him and talked about the stories of Samson and Samuel, David and Ruth, Abraham and Noah.
It would seem they took seriously what God’s word said about teaching children the Scriptures at all times and in every situation.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NKJV)
As parents we have an incredible influence upon our children and grandchildren’s faith, far greater than any pastor or Sunday school teacher ever could.
And so it is important to instill as soon as possible a respect for God’s word. You see, Timothy knew God’s word, not only because he studied it and was taught it by his mother and grandmother, but because they lived it out in their lives.
For all of us as parents and grandparents, it’s never too early to start teaching the Bible to our children and grandchildren. There is nothing that can replace the role God has given to us to train up our children in God’s word and ways.
When I think of an example of a godly mother, Susannah Wesley comes to mind. She had 17 children. And while they all grew up knowing the Lord, two of them were like Timothy. Their names were John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist denomination.
She created an atmosphere for spiritual growth and faith in the home. She took an hour a week to discuss spiritual matters with each child. Further, they saw her living out her faith.
What I found interesting is some of the parenting techniques she used.
• Subdue self-will in a child and work together with God to save their soul.
• Teach a child to pray as soon as they can speak.
• Give the child nothing they cry for but only what is good for them if they ask politely.
• To prevent lying, punish no fault that is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious sinful act to go unnoticed.
• Commend and reward good behavior.
• Strictly observe all promises made to your child.
A pastor had a conversation about believing in Jesus Christ with a new person who came to the service. When he was finished the young man said he was ready to take the step of faith. The pastor was curious so he asked him, “What did I say that convinced you to believe in Jesus Christ?” The man replied, “It was nothing you said. It was the way my mother lived.”
Four Bible scholars were arguing over Bible translations.
• One said he preferred the King James because of the beauty and symmetry of the language.
• Another said he liked the New American Standard for how literal it is and it’s adherence to the original Greek and Hebrew.
• The third was sold on the New Living Translation because it used contemporary language and captured the meaning of difficult ideas.
• The last scholar admitted that he preferred his mother’s translation. When the others stopped laughing he said, “My mom translated each page of the Bible into life, it is the most convincing translation I have ever read.”
Moms, you have an important role to play in the faith of your children and grandchildren. Therefore take advantage of whatever God has given you for your children’s eternity. God has made you unique, and in this uniqueness you have the opportunity to influence the next generation for the things of God.
When you do then you’ll hear the promise of Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed.”
Wednesday Evening Bible Study