Sermon

May 08, 2011 God’s Love through a Mother’s Heart

Since it is Mother’s Day, I felt the Lord leading me to bring a message of honor to each of our mothers and to those here who are mothers.  I found some interesting facts about the establishment of Mother’s Day as a day of national observance.  In 1872, Julia Ward Howe organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace.  The idea was born out of a desire for peace after the Civil War.  Julia Ward Howe also wrote the words to the hymn, ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’.

 

Starting around 1907, Anna Jarvis campaigned vigorously for years to get state governments and private leaders and organizations to officially recognize Mother’s Day, a tradition she had started in honor of her mother, who was a Sunday School teacher for 20 years in West Virginia.  Anna finally convinced the World’s Sunday School Association to back her, and they were a key influence over state legislators and congress at that time.  Interesting and sad how things have changed in 100 years.  What sort of influence would the World’s Sunday School Association have on congress today!  In 1912, West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

 

Another interesting fact is that after Mother’s Day was established, it became so commercial that Anna Jarvis and her sister actively campaigned against it until Anna died in 1948.  She and her sister spent all they had fighting the path the day had taken and died poor.  What would they think of it today?

According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card.  As she said,

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

—Anna Jarvis.[2][3

 

However, we know that honoring our mothers is a commandment of God.  It is the 5th commandment as given to us in Exodus 20:12:

 

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

 

In Deuteronomy 5:16, the Word says: ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.’

 

This is the only commandment that is joined with a promise.  This promise is clarified for us by Paul where he writes in Eph 6:1-3:

 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

 

We may therefore conclude that it will go poorly with the disobedient, and there is no doubt that the untimely deaths of many young people are the natural consequence of their disobedience to their parents.(Adam Clarke’s Commentary,para.)

 

Let’s turn to Proverbs 30:17(read).

 

This proverb seems to tell of the consequences of ignoring the 5th commandment!

 

Why do you suppose that this commandment was given and why it is joined with a promise?  Is it just to keep us safe and to live a long life?  I want you to think of the relationship that a mother has with her child.  For a great number of years, our parents, who includes our mother, stand in the place of God.  When we are young we don’t have a real understanding of God.  Our mothers and fathers were God to us!  So to disobey lawful commands of one’s mother is likened unto disobeying God.  Rebellious behavior toward your mother is rebellion against God.  We learn to obey God by first obeying our parents.  Also, as God requires parents, requires mothers, to care for, to provide for, to nourish, to defend, to instruct the children He graciously gives to them, the same is expected of the children as their parents grow old and are in need of care, sometimes in the same way that they were cared for as a child.

 

So we honor our mothers in obedience to God.  When we are obedient to God, we are showing Him that we truly love Him.  We truly honor God when we honor our mothers.

 

Another great gift that God has given mothers is the innate ability to love – to love unconditionally, to love without ceasing.  The Word of God uses a mother’s love as an example of His own love for us in Isa 66:13:

 

As a mother comforts her child,

so will I comfort you;

and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

 

Here God is promising to comfort His people just as a mother comforts her child.  How great it is to have the Lord our God use a mother’s comfort as an example of His care for us.  God is showing us that in a mother’s love, we see the love of God!  What an honor it is to be the very face of God, the true love of God, to your children.  And not to your children only, but to your husbands and to your friends, to others, and to your children when they are no longer children, and to your grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on.  Mothers have a special place in the heart of God in that His tangible love and comfort comes through them to the world!

 

How many times have we heard the expressions of a mother’s love?  That is, ‘a face only a mother could love’, or ‘a child that only a mother could love’.  Sometimes these statements are meant in jest or even to be cruel, but they are based in a great truth.  Mothers love from their hearts and with their hearts and not from what they see or even what they must sometimes endure.  Is this not a glimpse of God’s great, unwavering, unconditional love for each one of us?!  As much as a mother loves, God loves 10 times, a hundred times, a thousand times more!  But a mother’s love gives us a glimpse of how that love is shown and how it feels.

 

So we honor our mothers because they show us the love of God in a way that we can touch and feel so we can begin to believe in God’s love.  What an honored position God has given mothers!

 

What an awesome role God has given to mothers!  I have learned to cherish the women in my life and how they have modeled the heart of God to me and to others.  I praise God for each of you!  And I pray you praise God for your roles, and the impact you have had on so many. Praise God for how he elevated you to honor in His sight thousands of years ago when all around the world, men, living without the Living God in their hearts, did not honor women. Women were property, slaves. And still are in many places and cultures today. God set you apart and made you special and unique as He established the commandments for His covenant people.

 

I commonly talk about and pray about loving God and loving others and we do that by following Jesus and His examples that are provided throughout the Gospels.  Jesus gives us a great example of honoring our mothers in John 19:25-27:

 

Jesus is dying on the cross!  Before He dies, He makes certain that His mother is cared for on this earth for the rest of her days.  He tells His disciple, John, ‘here is your mother’, so that Mary would not be left alone.  And the Word assures us that John took her into his home from that time on.  What a great example for all of us!

 

So, let us honor our mothers today in our hearts, in our prayers, and in our actions.  We have set aside this day to honor mothers, but let us also be reminded to honor our mothers every day; to praise God for them; to pray for them; to thank them; to show our love for them.

 

And I want to say special word to you who are mothers.  The story of Hannah praying for a child is told in 1 Samuel 1.  She is married but she has no children.  Her husband took a second wife which was common and permissible in those days, and she had children.  It was very important then to be able to give your husband children and women who could not bear children were greatly distressed.  It is most likely that the second wife was taken here because Hannah did not bear children as soon as hoped.  It is also interesting to note that in this case and pretty much every case in the Bible where a man has more than one wife, there is strife in the home.  And there was strife between these two.  Let’s read from God’s Word in 1 Sam 1:1-8 (read).

 

Bearing children was very important so that the family would have heirs to their land and their possessions and so that the lineage would be carried on.  Also, there is some thought that they all hoped that the Messiah would come from their line.  Did you notice the insensitivity of Elkanah?  It is so like us men sometimes to be so disconnected from the heart of our bride!  He cannot figure out why she is so downhearted.  Perhaps he is even somewhat unaware of the strife between the two women.

 

So Hannah prayed to God for the blessing of a child, specifically a son, in 1 Sam 1:10-11.  Let’s read on.

 

The Lord heard her prayer and gave her a son and she named him Samuel.  Let’s continue in 1 Samuel 1:12-20 (read).

 

She gave him back to the Lord as she had promised and he became a great prophet for the Lord.  Let’s read in 1 Samuel 1:22-28.  Later in 1 Sam 2:18-21, we read of how the Lord honored Hannah and Elkanah. (read).

 

So what is the point of me telling this story to you?  There are two.  First, through God giving Hannah Samuel, He proves and Hannah testified that God hears and answers prayer!  Let us never forget that God is listening and He cares for our every need and our every problem!  And He will answer your prayer in His perfect time, but not our imperfect time.  Always pray to the Lord your God for your children!

 

Secondly, who or what is responsible for the conception of a child?  Is it two people?  Does it just happen? Is it all by chance?  No!  God is the One who is responsible for conception!  We see it here with Hannah and we have seen it with Sarah and others!  To bear a child is a great gift from God!  Each one of you have been blessed by God!

 

So to all of you who are mothers, praise God for the gifts he has given you!  Praise God for the roles He has given you!  You model the love of God, the very heart of God, to so many – your children especially, but to many, many others.  Pray that He will continue to allow you to serve Him by modeling His very heart to all you come into contact.  Pray for His guidance in every opportunity to serve God and to be eager and willing to represent Him to the world around you!

 

And to all of us, we are to honor our mothers and the mothers among us, for they have a special place in the heart of God and in our lives, placed there by God Himself!