Sermon for Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas
Sermon Texts: Ephesians 6:1-3 and 1 Samuel 1:1-2:20
Sermon Theme: “What Is a Mother All about Anyway?”
(Sources: The Power of Mom by Jeff Strite; Mothers, with humor, J. Jeffrey Smead; Tim Patrick, Commitments of a Godly Mother; original ideas and examples; Harper’s Bible Dictionary)
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
A son once wrote the following observations about his mother, — he said that:
His mother taught him LOGIC: She once asked him, “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?”
His mother taught him MEDICINE: “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.”
His mother taught him how to BECOME AN ADULT: “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
His mother taught him about GENETICS: “You are just like your father!”
His mother taught him about my ROOTS: “Do you think you were born in a barn?”
His mother taught him about the WISDOM OF AGE: “When you get to be my age, you will understand,” and “I’ll explain it all when you get older.”
His mother taught him about ANTICIPATION: “Just wait until your father gets home.”
And the all time favorite thing his mother taught him was JUSTICE: “One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you’ll see what it’s like!”
I think it’s good to start a Mother’s Day sermon with a little humor, because we tend to become overly sentimental on Mother’s Day. The reasons we are so sentimental about our mother, is that she teaches us our faith and she is the rock that we rely on throughout our lifetime, — that is if she is a Godly mother. Sadly, not all mothers are.
Here’s what Psalm 22 says about the value of a Godly mother: “Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Notice, the psalmist doesn’t talk about the faith he gained at his father’s knee. Noooo, he is telling us – about the depth of his faith he found when he was with his mother.
Psychologists have shown that children who have the good fortune to interact with their mothers a lot develop healthier consciences than those who do not. Again, we are talking about a Godly mother.
The advantage of a Godly mother is that she instills the power of faith into her children. And that power of faith gives her kids courage and hope when life goes sour. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble, so there is a time when life goes sour. A Godly mother prepares her child through his faith to handle those moments.
The life of a mother is not the fun and glitter of being prom queen or homecoming queen nor any of the other fun and glitter of high school. James Dobson tells the story about his wife as a young mother. Their son Ryan had been sick all day long, crying and throwing up and having diarrhea all day long. Each time he had a spell, she would clean him up, put him on her shoulder to burp him, and “ka-blurrrrp,” he’d throw up all over her shoulder and fill his diaper again. When Dobson came home, he said he could smell the aroma of motherhood everywhere.
That’s one of the reasons we feel so compelled to honor our mothers on Mother’s Day. However, I must point out that some of us who were good fathers, like some of you here today, had very similar fatherhood experiences. And some of you ladies who never had children of your own, who “mothered” your nieces and nephews or even the neighbor’s kids, you too know the struggles of motherhood. And God gave you a loving and caring heart to do what you had to do.
We don’t want to forget grandmothers, because they are often like second mothers to a child. A case in point would be Timothy’s grandmother Lois, who like his mother Eunice, helped to bring him up in the nourishment of faith in Jesus.
A third grade class was asked to write a short paper answering the question, “What is a Grandmother?” Here are some of the answers: “A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own. She likes other people’s little girls and boys.”
“Grandmothers don’t have to do anything except be there.”
“Grandmothers are old, so they shouldn’t play too hard, and they shouldn’t run.”
“Usually grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes.”
“They wear glasses and funny underwear.”
“Grandmothers don’t have to be smart, but only answer questions like, ‘Why isn’t God married?’”
One kid defined a grandfather as well. “A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with boys, and they talk about fishing and stuff like that.”
When you look at the lives of all the great religious leaders of the past, you find that most of them, also, were nurtured in the Christian faith by their mothers. John Wesley and Martin Luther would be two famous examples.
I don’t know about you, but while my father was one of the most loving and caring persons in the whole world, and I have never stopped thanking God for him, it was my mother and grandmother who nurtured me in faith. As a teenager, I would walk through the relationships of my world like a lame hobbler, stumbling when I wanted my steps to be smooth, falling when I wanted to dance The Blue Danube, never quite able to walk tall and straight. It was my mother, and especially my grandmother, who lifted me up through the strength that her faith gave her.
It is a fact that our mothers and grandmothers, like Wesley’s and Luther’s, and like Timothy’s, had an advantage over the Old Testament mothers like Samuel’s mother or David’s mother. An Old Testament mother taught her son about the power and providence of God. But no matter how much she would teach this truth to her son, the God she told him about was always somewhat distant. Some of the Psalms of David, like Psalm 22, were messianic, but Christ had not yet come to fulfill the promise. At the cross this was all changed and New Testament mothers could pass the wonderful strength of that fact on to their little ones.
We can, however, look at this greatly committed Old Testament mother, Hannah, Samuel’s mother, and we can learn where the ability to nurture faith came from.
First of all, like Hannah, you have to have a deep commitment to parenthood, and in these ways:
Hannah prayed desperately for a child. She wanted to be a mother. How true is that of many modern mothers?
Hannah prioritized the rearing of her child. Prior to Samuel’s birth, she made annual pilgrimages to the Temple. When Samuel was a baby, she did not make these trips, and God would agree that her priority to be with Samuel was right. With some mothers, their children are not a priority, the children come last on the to-do list. Not good.
Hannah dedicated her child to God. She wanted him to become a priest, to be a church worker. To be sure, not every mother is called to lead her child into professional church work, but every mother is called to dedicate her child to God, in that she teaches him that in everything he does, he does in service to God, whether he is a street cleaner or a bank president.
And finally, Hannah was faithful to the responsibility of parenting. She considered it an honor to be a parent. She would do all that would be required of her as a mother and more. Making your child an afterthought rather than a priority and a responsibility is not the mark of a Godly mother.
Having a Godly mother is the closest thing to knowing what Jesus is like, and we rejoice in that blessing. However, if you don’t have a mother, either literally or figuratively, or if your mother died when you needed her the most, you and all the rest of us, have daily the power and presence of Christ in His Holy Word, in His Holy Supper, and in His daily walk with us, and He longs to gather us under His loving wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.