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Summary: A mother’s day sermon

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CAN WE REALLY UNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE OF MOTHERS?

2 TIMOTHY 1:1-7

OPENING ILLUSTRATION… Mother’s Day Background, Pulpit Helps 1991

It was a woman named Anna M. Jarvis who first suggested the national observance of an annual day honoring all mothers because she had loved her own mother so dearly. At a memorial service for her mother on May 10, 1908, Miss Jarvis gave a carnation (her mother’s favorite flower) to each person who attended.

Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother’s Day was observed in a number of large cities in the U.S. On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."

And so began the holiday of “Mother’s Day.” It is a day to reflect. If your mother is still alive, it is a day to give her a small gift and say thank you. If your mother is not, it is a day to praise God for the gift He bestowed to us in the form of our mother. I do realize, this may be a bittersweet time given that some have lost their mothers this past year. Yet I would in honor of this day, like to speak about motherhood with reference to the influence they have. I do not think that we really can ever really understand the influence of our mothers. Scripture agrees with me.

READ 2 TIMOTHY 1:1-7

The books of 1st and 2nd Timothy are some of the most special books in the New Testament. I say that because we are given the chance to peek into a special relationship. Paul and Timothy were extraordinary evangelists and the church spread by leaps and bounds because of their efforts in the Lord. We read time and time again how Paul and Timothy converted people to Christ and then later Timothy strikes out on his won and ministers to churches as they have need. Paul was the older man with experience. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles! Timothy was the young man, beginning in the ministry and looked to the Apostle Paul for guidance. They were companions. They were friends. Perhaps there was some father-son feelings there as well. There was definitely a mentoring relationship between the two that was both important and special. And so we have a look at Paul’s advice to Timothy.

Paul wants to encourage his young friend in the ministry and first helps him remember his roots. Paul wants Timothy to remember where he came from and who has influenced him. Note that Paul does not say that he influenced Timothy in any way. He never claims to have taught Timothy anything… he places that influence on someone else. Paul never claims that he led Timothy to the faith… that influence lies elsewhere. Paul specifically points out the “genuine faith that is in you” (v. 5) and recalls that this faith was transmitted to him by his mother and grandmother.

Timothy was a tireless worker for the Lord and changed many lives and ministered to many people because of the faith instilled into him by his mother.

ILLUSTRATION… Influence of Mothers, SermonIllustrations.com 2000

Many scholars have concluded that you cannot really understand John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, unless you understand his mother Susanna Wesley. She was so instrumental in his life that she inevitably affected the movement and its direction. Americans know that Abraham Lincoln led this nation through perhaps its time of greatest crisis; but who was it that made Abraham Lincoln the man that he was? I know what Lincoln thought. He said it was his mother.

I would submit to you this morning that there is not a person sitting here that in one, five, ten, a thousand different ways has not been forever influenced by their mother. I firmly believe that you cannot understand who a person is and what motivates them until you understand their past. And you cannot understand a person’s past without understanding the source that co-created that person along with God—their parents.

Can we ever really understand the influence that mothers have on their children? I do not think so. The Apostle Paul realized that his fellow worker, Timothy, began his journey of faith at home with his mother and grandmother. And let me make a side note here: grandmothers listen! You are still so very important. I realize that you have raised your own children and now are enjoying having little grandbabies running around, but never forget that you too have influence. Paul notes that Timothy’s strong faith came from his grandmother as well. She was an important part of his spiritual development. Grandmothers are a special influence in our lives as well.

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