Summary: Let's talk about the high value of motherhood, the glorious vision of motherhood, the taxing reality of motherhood, and the ultimate restoration of motherhood (Adapted from: http://www.jubilee.org.za/documents/Booklet1_MotherhoodArticle_000.pdf)
Went shopping for Mother’s Day card- Most over the top sappy and syrupy sweet. Found one that made me LOL- Front (picture of a woman with two suitcases) Mom - I'm sure you've thought of it a few times... Inside: ...but thanks for not running away! Happy Mother's Day! Now that's honesty (maybe a little too honest)
Sermons for Mother’s Day fall into two categories: 1) Many of them are sentimental- they are like many Mother’s Day cards, sappy and syrupy sweet 2) Others talk about the perfect mother as described in the Bible. Many times these sermons create an unattainable standard for mothers that make them feel guilty for being less than perfect.
Both of these are unrealistic. Sentimental sermons are disconnected from real life and real people in the real world. “The perfect mother” sermons can be harmful. Much like men have difficulties measuring up to the perfect standards of the biblical father and husband, women are the same way. There needs to be balance of grace and truth.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the high value of motherhood, the glorious vision of motherhood, the taxing reality of motherhood, and the ultimate restoration of motherhood
1. The High Value of Motherhood (established at creation and through OT)
A. We find in Genesis 1-2 that God created Eve to be a wife and a mother. Motherhood, as part of God’s design, is good and valuable.
B. In the OT, mothers often named their children. 28 out of the 46 recorded instances of naming children in the OT were named by the mother.
In the 10 commandments, children are required to honor their father and mother.
D. Proverbs 31 is a passage that highlights some aspects of motherhood by showing us that mothers’ responsibilities focus on providing food, clothing and shelter.
D. From OT we might find some things difficult in this day. However, the standards for Israel were countercultural to the nations around them. Nations around Israel viewed women as slaves and property of men. However, the OT itself granted unusual respect to women like in Proverbs 31. The respect Israel’s women were shown would have been considered radical in that day.
The Glorious Vision of Motherhood (motherhood in the NT)
We find that motherhood involves raising children and managing the home. Although fathers are also commanded to raise their children and manage the home (Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4-5), especially when the children are young, mothers are vital to a child’s life. Because of situation surrounding birth, the mother is the most important parent when a child is born.
Raising children, particularly during their young formative years, is a task God gives to mothers. In Titus 2:4 we see that mothers are to love their children. Raising children involves training and instructing them in many matters like the Bible, ethical decisions, and life management. This high calling, of raising the next generation God’s way, is something God calls mothers to embrace.
The command to “be busy at home” (Titus 2:5) means that wives and mothers are to be devoted to home duties. This does not mean that a mother should refuse the help of others, nor does it mean that mothers cannot work outside the home. However, this does mean that God calls mothers and wives to be devoted primarily to the home. By following God’s instructions in Titus 2:3-5, Christian wives and mothers would earn the respect of outsiders, thereby preventing God’s Word from being maligned, which would be a help in the communication of the Gospel to others.
Even though many of these commands in the bible may feel restrictive and culturally unacceptable, we need to value what God values and know that God will uphold His Word and defend those who are faithful to it. God says these things for our good and the good of the home. We need to enable and encourage women to live out their God given calling.
The Taxing Reality of Motherhood
Despite this grand biblical picture of motherhood’s value and goals, we all know that motherhood can be painful, grueling, and broken. Many children have deep wounds associated with their growing up years because of defective mothering.
Since sin is a reality in our world this affects all things like motherhood. Sin ruins the high ideals of motherhood. Furthermore, God’s created world is corrupted and suffering inevitable follows even though there is no direct sin of one’s mother. This double cocktail of sin and suffering permeates our whole existence.
Because of sin and suffering, because of what we do and what’s been done to us, mothers can struggle with negative emotions and behaviors like: Shame, condemning guilt, debilitating anxiety, constant stress, hidden anger, bitter jealousy, and depression. In addition, because of our fallen world, there are additional struggles such as: being a single mother, having to also work outside the home to provide for the family, abuse from one’s husband, a lack of spiritual guidance and direction, and the list could go on.