6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Mothers are unique and gifted in various ways in order to shape their children according to God’s ways.

Iliff and Saltillo United Methodist

Mother’s Day

May 12, 2002

illustrated sermon

“One of a Kind”

Ephesians 1:15-23

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

INTRODUCTION: Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May is a tradition going back to 1907 when Anne Jarvis of Philadelphia arranged for a special service at her church on the anniversary of her Mother’s death. The idea spread rapidly and by 1914, Mother’s Day was named a National Observance by the U. S. Congress.

Although Mother’s Day is observed in a pretty standard, similar way each year, Mothers are in no way mass-produced like these standard Styrofoam cups that are all exactly alike.[SHOW STYROFOAM CUPS] Rather, Mothers are very unique individuals like these hand crafted cups I brought. Today’s scripture says, “We are all God’s workmanship, created in Jesus Christ to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Although this scripture applies to all people, today the focus is on Mothers in particular. Women at all times in history have displayed a variety of characteristics that have not only benefited their families but their communities, and extended out to the world.

Some women of the Bible displayed characteristics that are very much needed in our society today and can be exemplified by us today. I would like to focus on four women of the Bible who made significant contributions in showing Courage, Prayer, Faithfulness, and Leadership.

1. Jochebed--COURAGE: [Show one of the sturdy mugs]

STORY: Two children were standing on the street corner bragging about who had moved from state to state the most. Josh said, “My family has moved three times in the last three years.”

“Hey, that’s nothing,” said Travis. “My parents have moved five times this year and I found them every time!”

Moses Mother sure didn’t want to leave him on the river that day. She would have done everything possible to keep him with her but his life was in danger. I see Jockebed, Moses’ Mother, as a person of COURAGE. At the time she probably didn’t feel the least bit courageous when she finally had to make the best decision for her endangered baby. She couldn’t keep him any longer or she knew if he were found he would face sudden death. She didn’t know at the time that her small act of courage changed history because Moses later led the Israelites out of slavery. We know that she was more courageous than she realized because Hebrews 11:23 tells us she was “not afraid of the king’s edict.” She had courage to go ahead and trust her son to God.

Today children are surrounded by every bit as much danger in our society as was Moses on the Nile River. When you do all you can do to protect your children, you have to have the courage to entrust them to God’s hands because you know that all your efforts alone are insufficient.

Story: Erma Bombeck said, “I see children as kites. You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless--they crash--they hit the rooftop--you patch and comfort, adjust and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they’ll fly. Finally they are airborne: they need more string and you keep letting it out. But with each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with joy. The kite becomes more distant, and you know it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you together and will soar as it is meant to soar, free, and alone. Only then do you know that you did your job well.

Have the courage to trust your children to God’s care.

2. Hannah--Persistent in Prayer: [Show the black Over the Hill Mug]. Hannah was a person who was very persistent in prayer. She felt that life had passed her by because she had no children. In those days it was a stigma to be childless. People looked down on her and made snide remarks about her. She could have said, “Well my life is useless. I’m over the hill now. I don’t have any value. Others have it better than I do.” Although she was “in bitterness of soul, she prayed unto the Lord and wept sore.” Eli thought she had been drinking when she knelt and he talked sharply to her when he said, “how long will you be drunk? Put away the wine from thee.” Hannah was not only sorrowful but treated rudely. She said, “I have not been drinking wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.”

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