Summary: The qualities that make a godly mother are also the qualities of godly leaders.
Just Like A Mom
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: Moms, this day is for you! We salute you. We honor you. We want every one of you to know that we appreciate you. I trust your husband and children are making this day extra special for you at home. We hope we are also making this a special Sunday for you at church.
Guys sometimes have a hard time knowing what to do on Mother’s Day. Did you hear about the three sons and their three special Mother’s Day gifts? All three sons were grown and out their own. Each had done quite well. They had plenty of money so they each decided to get their mother something special for Mother’s Day.
The next week, the three sons conferred with each other. The discussion turned to the gifts they had each given their elderly mother. The first said, "I built a new condominium for our mother. It cost me $150,000." The second said, “That’s nothing! I leased a brand new Mercedes limousine and hired a driver for her. I am paying $40,000 a year for the next five years." The third smiled, "I’ve got you both beat. You know how Mom enjoys the Bible. Since she can’t see very well, I sent her a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty monks in a monastery twelve years to teach the parrot. In order to get the parrot, I had to pledge $100,000 a year for ten years to the monastery. It was worth every penny. Mom just has to name the chapter and verse. The parrot will recite the passage for her." The other two were impressed!
A few weeks later, Mom sent thank you notes to each of the sons. "Malcolm," she wrote the first son, "the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house." "Marvin," she wrote to another, "I am too old to travel. I stay home all the time, so I never use the Mercedes. Besides the driver is so rude!" Dearest Melvin," she wrote to her third son, "You were the only son with the sense to know what I like. That chicken was delicious." No, it isn’t always easy knowing what to buy mom for Mother’s Day!
I hope you noticed that our text is not really about mothers or Mother’s Day at all. It is not really even about families. The theme of the passage is actually about church leadership. Paul, the apostle and missionary, was defending his motives and methods. Listen to how the chapter starts— “You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else” (2:1-5).
There’s an important principle there. Christian leaders, whether preachers, elders and deacons, Sunday School teachers, or anyone else who serves others in the name of Christ, must constantly be performing an attitude check. Why do we do what we do? What’s in it for us? Seldom does it have anything to do with money. But it can be about getting attention, or praise, or compliments. Everyone wants to be liked. If we are not careful, people-pleasing can be more important than God-pleasing.
Our text acknowledges that danger and then uses two metaphors or word pictures to illustrate the motives that should mark followers of Jesus. Those two word pictures are what bring us to today’s text. In verse 7, Paul says he had treated them like a mother. Then in verse 11, he turns the image and says he had been like a father to them. He is talking in both instances about Christian service. Nevertheless, how he uses the picture of a mother and then of a father offers a telling insight into the biblical concept of parenthood. That’s how I want to use this text. Today I want to begin our Season of the Family emphasis by exploring that motherhood image. In a few weeks, we will return to this same passage on Father’s Day to examine verse 11.
To illustrate his ministry with these believers, Paul points to three qualities of a godly mother. These are the qualities that make mothers so important. These are the reasons that all of us in this room are grateful to our mothers. These are three of the many reasons that we salute the mothers of this church today. These are the three qualities that call all of us to live just like a mom.