Summary: This Mother's Day sermon spotlights Hannah--her problems, her prayer, and her promise. It also includes a baby dedication ceremony built into the sermon.
Mother’s Day 2014: Hannah
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 5/11/2014
Have you found the perfect Mother’s Day present yet? If not, let me make a recommendation. In the Bible, in the book of Exodus, God gave us commandments for how we should live, how we should act toward him, and one another. And right in the middle of really heavy statements like “you shall have no other gods before me” and “you shall not murder,” he gave us the fifth commandment: “Honor your mother and father.” Honor means to regard with great respect, to recognize, or to esteem. The fact that God even added “honor your mother and father” to the Ten Commandments should show us how important it is. There are lots of things you can give your mom on Mother’s Day—whether it’s breakfast in bed, or a day at the spa—but let’s not forget the most important thing. The best gift you can give your mom is to honor her. That’s what we want to do here today—honor the moms of Blooming Grove.
As beautiful an occasion as this is, however, Mother’s Day can also be a challenge for many of us. Some of us can’t help but reflect on ways we wish we’d been better parents—or had better parents—and some of us wish we’d been better sons and daughters to our parents. For some, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of wayward children, broken relationships, even painful loss. Others among us have long and desperately desired to have children, to start a family, yet have been denied that blessing. But whatever may be going on in your heart and life today, I believe God has a message for you, a message that—if you’ll let it—will take root in your heart and mind and make this a day to remember and treasure.
It’s a message that involves one of the most famous mothers in history, yet it can apply to men as much as to women, to those who are expecting and those who have long stopped expecting, to any who are hurting as much as to those who are happy.
This story takes place in the Old Testament, in the first chapter of First Samuel. There in 1 Samuel 1, we discover the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Hannah’s story is one of both heartache and happiness. God knew that her story could touch the hearts of weary moms a thousand generations later, so I’d like to invite you to ponder her story, and as you do, perhaps, discover your own. Her story starts off with a problem.
• HER PROBLEM
The first verse of 1 Samuel 1, tells us Hannah was the wife of a man named Elkanah. But that wasn’t her problem. The problem was she wasn’t his only wife. Elkanah had another wife named Peninnah. Here’s how Scripture sums up Hannah’s problem: “Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not… 6So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. 7Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat” (1 Samuel 1:2-7 NLT).
Hannah knew that children were a gift from the Lord and more than anything else, Hannah just wanted to know the joys of motherhood. If you’ve ever struggled to become pregnant, I’m sure you can identify.
But on top of her fertility problems, Hannah had to live with Peninnah and her pugnacious progeny. And of course, Peninnah insisted on adding insult to injury every chance she had. Year after year after year. Peninnah would gloat and Hannah would wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Doesn’t God love me? Why would God give children to a mean spirited hag and leave me feeling like my womb—hollow and barren.”
Thank God, none of us have that problem. But all of us know what it’s like to have strife and stress in our home. You don’t have a sister-wife to compete with, but maybe you’ve got a meddling mother-in-law that has a knack for making you feel two-inches tall. Or maybe, unlike Hannah, you’ve got a houseful of kids still in the temper-tantrum and fit-throwing stage and you just feel like pulling your own hair out sometimes. Or maybe you have husband who doesn’t appreciate you or help out as often as he should. Sometimes life can feel like a never ending battle against dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and crayon covered walls. The pressures of parenthood can occasionally reduce even the best moms to tears.
Moms can often have unrealistic expectations for themselves and their families. If Hannah’s problems tell us anything, they tell us there is simply no such thing as a perfect mom. And there are no such things as perfect kids, perfect marriages, or perfect families. There will be moments when the problems of parenthood, knock you to your knees and reduce you to tears. But, as someone once said, “When life knocks you on your knees… well, that’s the best position in which to pray, isn’t it?”