Summary: A mother’s opportunity to share her faith in Christ makes motherhood great.
How do we measure greatness? Greatness is usually measured in terms of the end result. For example, a movie is considered a “blockbuster” by the amount of ticket sales it generates; the end result. An historical figure is considered great often by the sheer amount of information written about that individual.
We humans, all too often, fall into the trap of measuring greatness by what comes out. Today, our Lord tells us that he measures greatness not necessarily by the end result, but by all that goes in to making that blessed outcome possible. We will apply those truths this morning, as I ask this question: WHAT MAKES MOTHERHOOD GREAT? God tells us it’s not just about what we see. Motherhood is: 1) more than the struggles of maternity. Rather, it’s all about the time and energy our Lord has placed into this earth-bound existence – motherhood included -- in order to make the end result so great. Motherhood is great because of: 2) the joys of eternity.
1) Not the Struggles of Maternity
To be fair, the apostle Paul was impressed with the results in Timothy’s life. He thought highly of his young co-worker Timothy. The end result was that Timothy was a man of faith as well as a pastor sharing in the gospel ministry. Yet, Paul did not forget all that went into making Timothy the young man of faith that he was. He says, “ I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” What went into Timothy was directly responsible for the end result. His mother and grandmother raised him. And they raised him well. And just like any mother-child relationship this one had its struggles and challenges. I’m sure there were the diaper changes, the midnight feedings, as well as the instruction and discipline, “No! No! Timmy! Don’t touch!”
Is that what made Timothy into the young man for which Paul was led to praise God? No. You see, being maternal doesn’t make someone a mom in God’s eyes. I’m reminded of an article I recently read in one of our synod’s publications. A high school student wrote it. He was on his way to a basketball camp. His mother was driving and he noticed that she slowed down and came to a complete stop. It was then he realized why; she stopped for a family of ducks that was crossing the road.
The mother duck patiently led her little one across the road. Other cars soon approached the scene. Suddenly, the mother duck stopped in the middle of the street, as if in shock. The son and mother were soon caught up in the drama. Would they make it across? How long would she sit there? They found themselves cheering the mother duck on, “C’mon. Keep going!” The mother duck finally regained her composure and guided here little ones safely to the other side of the street. Everyone in the car breathed a collective sigh of relief. The mother duck did it! She led her babies to safety.
That’s not the end of the story, though. As the mother duck confidently continued up the street, she approached a gutter that led down to a sewer. The mother, seeing no problem with the gutter, walked right over its grated cover with her large, webbed feet. She failed to realize her little ones were much smaller. Yet, the babies faithfully followed their mother, and one-by-one they fell in-between the cracks of the sewer grate. Plop … plop … plop. Everyone’s heart sank as they watched the mother duck boldly lead on thinking her babies were safely following in stride. (“Mother Duck, Lead On.” Forward In Christ, May 2002: 20)
What can we learn from such a story? This Mother’s Day we learn one important thing from that mother duck: simply being motherly doesn’t always make someone a mom. As parents, we get caught up in our children’s life and the outcome of their lives. We want the best for them; the best doctors, the best schools, the best coaches, the best clothes, the best homes, the best toys. Just like that mother duck we worry about the seemingly “big” things in this life that we forget about the much more dangerous, and much more subtle dangers – the dangers to the soul.
A mom of greatness is more than motherly; she’s godly. A mom of greatness is not just concerned with the end result – making it across the “street”. She’s concerned about how to get there. A godly mom hopes for the joys of eternity made certain in Christ Jesus and shares it. Lois and Eunice were determined to share such a certainty with Timothy. This wasn’t easy. We learn from Scripture that Timothy’s father was not a believer. What a struggle those two women faced! Eunice’s husband probably didn’t offer any help in Timothy’s spiritual education. Certainly there were heated discussions, even arguments, over the topic of religion: “You have your religion, I have mine. Don’t force it on our son, let him decide for himself.” Such arguments echo throughout kitchens and living rooms today. Not every parent, not every mother, is concerned with spiritual growth. Too many parents just focus on the outcome. They want their children to grow up to be honorable children of the world; someone who is successful, popular, and even famous.