Summary: Biblical guidelines on how to treat mothers - biological and spiritual.
A woman I never met is greatly responsible for my coming to know Christ.
I plan on meeting her and thanking her when I get to heaven.
She worked with my mother and invited her to a church service where my mother heard the gospel and accepted Christ as her personal Savior.
It was a small church in a rural community. It will never be featured in any Christian news story or book. But that woman and that church are largely responsible for the greatest thing that ever happened to my mother and eventually to me.
When mom got saved she naturally wanted her family to know Christ. We moved to another state shortly after mom’s conversion and the first thing she did was locate a good church. (As a matter of fact, it was another woman that mom worked with that told her about a good church.) I accepted Christ the second Sunday I was there.
I want to give credit to that woman that worked with my mom. I want to praise her for being a faithful witness for Christ and a dedicated member of her church.
We have all known many women like her. How should we show them the love and appreciation they are due?
Paul instructs Timothy, "treat...the older women as mothers."
How should you treat a mother? When we answer this question we know how to treat not only the woman who gave us birth and/or raised us, but also how to treat our spiritual mothers in the church.
Here are some BIBLICAL GUIDELINES ON HOW TO TREAT MOTHERS.
1. MOTHERS ARE TO BE TREATED WITH HONOR.
"Honor your father and mother" - Exodus 20:12a
This is the first commandment of the second table of the law. Man’s first responsiblity toward others is to his parents. We are to give our parents honor.
With Paul’s admonition to Timothy we can expand this to our spiritual mothers - the women in the church who labor faithfully for Christ doing the work of spiritual mothering.
This command is repeated in the New Testament in Ephesians 6:2. Here, the Greek word translated "honor" is "time" (tee-may). (This is the same word Peter uses to instruct husbands about their relationship with their wives - 1 Peter 3:7, and the same word Paul uses later in this same chapter to describe the way we ought to treat elders that rule well - 1 Timothy 5:17.)
How do you honor someone? GIVE THEM YOUR TIME!
Mothers, biological and spiritual, give their time to us - to honor them - we give our time back to them!
The temptation in life, especially in young and middle adulthood, is to get so busy with life that we take our parents for granted. But instead of taking them for granted the scriptures teach us its time to begin investing our time in them just as they invested their time in us.
I’m not suggesting you move back in with your parents. In most cases that’s not necessary. Ephesians 5:31 says we are supposed to "leave" our father and mother. This is natural when you begin a life of your own. But we should call them, email them, visit them, and check on their needs and their welfare.
Same goes for our spiritual parents. If someone invested in your spiritual well being, then giving back to them is in order.
There are a lot of acts of kindness you can perform but just spending time with them is first on the list.
Most folks will tell you giving your time is the greatest gift you can give.
Here’s a second scriptural way to treat our mothers:
2. MOTHERS ARE TO BE ASSISTED WITH THEIR PHYSICAL NEEDS.
Now in this 5th chapter of First Timothy we are given guidelines for taking care of the physical needs of widows in the church. We won’t dissect them in this sermon, but suffice it to say the principle is clear here - the church has some responsibility for taking care of the physical needs of her spiritual mothers.
Jesus was the great example here. From the cross he saw to it that his mother Mary was taken care of by the Apostle John. (John 19:25-27) That is remarkable! Even in dying for the sins of the whole world Jesus took time to see to it that his mother’s physical needs were met.
In that light none of us has an excuse for neglecting the needs of our mothers - our biological mothers or our spiritual mothers.
The church family needs to be concerned not only about reaching out and gathering new members - but also taking care of the needs of the ones we have!
On the lighter side, did you hear about the three sons who left home, went out on their own and prospered? Getting back together, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother.