The Call of Motherhood
* (Video – “A Mother’s Day Moment”) If I were to ask each of us to give a ‘moment’ with mom, many such moments would be funny, some would be highly emotional, and a few would be ‘strained.’ One reason that there could be any strain between a person and their mom (I know there are a lot of reasons for this), is that being a MOTHER is an overwhelming task. It is not for the faint of heart or the weak minded. This is why we love mom!
* A wealthy Texan was in the habit of giving his mom unique gifts on Mother’s Day. One year it was lessons on hang-gliding. the year before that it was the entire record collection of Slim Whitman’s hits. But this past year he felt he had outdone himself. He purchased a rare kind of talking bird that could speak five languages and sing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” while standing on one foot. The talented bird cost ten thousand dollars, but he felt it was worth every penny. This would be a Mother’s Day gift his mom would never forget.
A week after Mother’s Day he called his mother. “Mom, how did you like the bird?” His Mother responded, “It was delicious!”
* In the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” one of the most telling scenes was when Jesus interacted with his mother by playing with her and splashing a little water in her face. For me, this was a keen reminder of the love Jesus obviously had for Mary. She was the woman chosen to be HIS MOTHER. Never forget, your mom was divinely chosen to be your mother. Honor her today, because the call of a Mother is a challenging call. Let’s return to our scriptural text.
* Today we have read about 2 moms, the mother of John and of Jesus. They go by the name Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth had a child after she likely thought, “no more”, while Mary had a child when she thought “no way.” Both women were called to become mothers. I submit that being a mother is a challenging call, a serious call, and a divine call. While this call is Biblically seen for Moms, it also applies to every person. God’s call for character and service knows no boundaries. Consider 3 parts of this call.
1. To Be Commendable – Both Mary and Elizabeth found ‘favor with God’. Have you ever given any real thought to what this might mean? Women in that day, as we all know, had no social status. Candidly under the legal system of that day a woman could be ‘put aside’ (that means ‘divorced’) for something as simple as ‘burning the dinner.’ In other words, women were good for cleaning the house, having babies, and taking care of the kids. They were really considered unworthy, unrecognized, and in large measure unneeded for anything other than to serve their men. I submit that it would be very easy for a woman of that day to simply ‘do what was required’, emote a ‘whatever’ type of attitude, and not care about her character.
* Because of the position of the women in that day, the work force had very few females in it. Quite frankly, if a man decided to divorce his wife, the obvious and option open to her for employment was prostitution.
* Yet even in this climate, both Mary and Elizabeth rose above the culture and determined to live their lives in a manner that was found to be both worthy & commendable before God. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, these moms (like most) find a way to walk worthy and even commendable in the eyes of God.
* A three-year-old girl told her mother she learned that Jesus will come to live in the heart of those who invite him. That is a difficult concept for a little girl to grasp. The mother was sitting on the couch and her three-year-old came over and put her ear to her mother's chest. "What are you doing?" asked the mother. "I'm listening for Jesus in your heart," replied the child. The mother let the little girl listen for a few seconds and then asked, "Well, what do you hear?" "He's there," replied the little girl, "and it sounds to me like he's making coffee."
* The interesting thing is that the 3 year old had not doubt Jesus was in her mom’s heart.
2. To Be Challenged – You and I may not have ever seen this, but can you imagine the challenge facing these two ladies? Consider Elizabeth who was ‘well along in years’ and didn’t have the experience of pregnancy or raising a child. She was going to be challenged physically, emotionally, and even relationally. After she conceived, she remained in seclusion (hidden) for 5 month until it became apparent. Many believe that Mary was the first person to know about the baby. Can you imagine the challenge of ‘not telling’ because of her age and inability to bear children? On the other hand, Mary probably didn’t WANT to tell. Quite likely, she was in her early teen years, was unmarried, and knew that no one would believe this incredible story of an angel, a message, and a divine child. May I suggest that all of these challenges do not even touch the challenge of raising a child? It is true that both of the mother’s knew that their boy was sent by God and that God has special plans for them, but can you imagine what it must have felt like to raise a child with such pre-determined expectations? These two women were raising the “Messenger and the Messiah!” What a challenge! Is there any mother here who knows that being a mother is a challenge?
* DEAR ABBY: I heard about teen-age rebellion, but I never experienced it until suddenly Joe, seventeen, and Betsy, fifteen, let me know they were old enough to do as they pleased.” Life became one constant battle about hair, clothes, late hours, and poor grades. Taking away privileges and cutting allowances didn't faze them. After I was told for the fiftieth time that they were old enough to do as they pleased, I saw the light. I told them that by their reasoning I was also “old enough to do as I pleased.” Then I sat down with a book, put my feet up, and relaxed.
* When they asked when dinner would be ready, I told them that whenever it pleased them they could make their own dinner. I then made myself a salad and a hamburger and continued to read my book, ignoring them. For five days I never cooked, cleaned, washed nor ironed for them. Only for myself. When they asked what was wrong with me, I told them I was “old enough to do as I pleased, too,” and it pleased me to think of no one but myself. Being a mom is a challenge to the best, just like we’ll hear it is to be a dad!
* As a general rule, Mom’s rarely thinks about ‘self’ first, they seem to have the sense of “always their children.” The trick is to partner with dad to make sure that the child, to whom you have been entrusted by God, finds their God’s design path. Here’s the difficult part or the challenge; sometimes their path is one that the parents agree with the child about, at other times, our kids are determined to do what we don’t want. This happened with Jesus and his Mother. Turn to Mark 3:31. Jesus began his public ministry, had crowds following Him, and yet his family came to take Him HOME! Jesus’ focus was on the spiritual and moral decay of the world, while not wanting to be disrespectful of His Mom, He found His position to be like similar to that of Nehemiah when Sanballat tried to distract him from the wall project. The challenge for every parent is to turn loose when the child finds their purpose and direction.
3. To Be Committed – Years ago I heard a preacher say, “The best thing a dad can do for his kids is to love their mom.” Certainly, this is true in a humanistic sense, but I declare to us that the best thing we can do is to live our lives according to God’s word. God’s word tells us that the greatest thing we can do is to “Love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” It is only when we truly know the Love of God that we can show the love of God. Moms and dads are called to show their children the love of God in everyday life, not by acting spiritual, but by being spiritual. When we are authentically committed to Christ, it permeates every part of our life. Mary & Elizabeth responded in their own spiritual way. Elizabeth said, “The Lord has done this for me.” Obviously, the focus of her life matched the desire of her heart and both pointed toward the Lord. She was not ostentatious about this being a baby that was a miracle, was truly wanted, or even that her son came with a divine mandate. She was very humble and low-key about the entire experience. On the other hand, Mary’s response was, “I am the Lord’s slave. May it be done to me just like the Lord wants?” Once again, we see the deeply personal call of a mother as being willing. Willing to do whatever her God has called her to do.
There we have it, the call of Motherhood, like the call of Fatherhood, is to be committed to Christ and willing to do WHATEVER it take to turn the hearts of her Children to our Lord. In this is the salvation of our kids, family, country, culture, and world.