Summary: The hand that rocks the cradle may very well be the hand that determines the eternal destiny of our children.
Title: The value of mothers
There is a modern proverb that most of us have heard that says: ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.’ While not all proverbs found outside the Bible are true this one is. And it’s true because the person who rocks the cradle will also be the person who will have the greatest impact on the moral and spiritual development of the child. As a result of this impact the child in the cradle will be influenced for either good or evil depending upon the moral and religious beliefs of the one doing the rocking. You see the mind of a young child is like a sponge that is just waiting to be filled. Now, this is a truth found not only in Scripture (Proverbs 22:6) but in the secular world as well. For not more than a year ago a study was conducted in which researchers attempted to find the age at which children appeared to establish a moral foundation. Based upon their research it was determined that by the age of 3, a child’s basic ideas of good and evil, right and wrong were pretty well set. And this is why we have Christian daycare centers, Sunday school classes, and children’s church – all designed to influence the young for good. Now because children do learn at such a young age the job of raising children in a fallen, sinful world is a huge responsibility, a responsibility that for the most part falls on the shoulders of those women who go about the business of being mothers. And it really doesn’t matter if these women are mothers according to nature, or mothers by proxy as in the case of nannies, stepmothers, or daycare workers, because they all fulfill the same role as guides and teachers to those whom God has placed in their care.
And it is because of this great impact that mothers have on the lives of the young that various countries throughout the world have honored them since at least the 1600’s, as well as here in the United States. For it was in this country that mothers were officially honored when the second Sunday in May was set aside as a national holiday by presidential decree in 1914. Now since the nurturing of children is such a great responsibility, a responsibility that even our government recognized 85 years ago, isn’t it unusual that in our country today motherhood is by and large considered to be the least fulfilling task that a woman feels obligated to perform. Too often careers, self, materialism, want, pressure from a spouse, or a whole host of other things take the preeminence or the priority in life and children must somehow be squeezed somewhere in between. And though many mothers today, both in and out of the church don’t seem to have the time to teach their children the most important things in life like they once did, they are only deceiving themselves if they think that their children are learning nothing at all. For just as the children of the 60’s learned that there was a double standard without their parents telling them of it, a standard that said: ‘do as I say, and not as I do,’ so our children also learn by what they see and hear. And so if a mother ignores her responsibility to teach the child committed to her care good things, i.e. honesty, integrity, faith, love, righteousness and godliness, or treats that responsibility with contempt by relegating it to a very low priority in her life, the impact will be felt throughout entire families, communities, and nations.
But perhaps some of you are among those who don’t believe the consequences are so dire. If you don’t, look at the world around you. Look at the problems we as a church and nation are facing with gangs, teenage pregnancy, violence, and drugs, and then tell me that mothers have little or no effect on the moral or spiritual direction that their children take, especially when you consider that so many homes today are single parent homes, homes where mom is the only parent present.
In the Bible the extremely important role that a mother plays in shaping her children’s beliefs both spiritually and morally are well documented. And because Mothers Day has been set aside as a day to honor those who have shouldered the burden of shaping young lives, were going to take the time to briefly look at the impact that two mothers had on each of their children. To do that we’re going to look at two different stories told in the textbook of life – the Bible. The first story is found in Judges 17:1-12:
“Now there was a man from the mountains of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, the eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, and on which you put a curse, even saying it in my ears – here is the silver with me; I took it. And his mother said, may you be blessed by the Lord, my son! So when he had returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son, to make a carved image and a molded image; now therefore I will return it to you. Thus he returned the silver to his mother. Then his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to the silversmith, and he made it into a carved image and a molded image; and they were in the house of Micah. The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah; he was a Levite, and was staying there. The man departed from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he could find a place. Then he came to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. And Micah said to him, where do you come from? So he told him, I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to find a place to stay. Micah said to him, dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes, and your sustenance. So the Levite went in. Then the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man became like one of his sons to him. So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as a priest.”