A survey was conducted of 600 college students asking them to write down the most beautiful word in the English language. Two out of three wrote the word ‘mother.’ Mother’s Day is a special day, unlike any other. In 1907, a woman by the name of Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. It is reported that she gave to everyone who attended, a white carnation in memory of her mother. Tradition is that children whose mothers has died wears a white carnation on this day, and those whose mothers is still living, wears a carnation that is red.
It is our desire to ‘honor’ all of our mothers today, both those who are living and those who aren’t. For many of us it would be hard to over-emphasize the specialness of our mothers. The Bible says –
Pr 31:28 Her children arise up , and call her blessed ; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Pr 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Mom, today is your special day and we honor you. I have chosen to entitle today’s message – ‘Why Mother’s Day is So Special.’ Here are my five reasons:
I. It Was in Our Mother’s Womb That We Were First Formed
During one of our devotional times this week, I read a portion of Psalm 139. The Lord had put this passage of scripture on my heart and when I finished reading, I looked up and saw that Tammy’s eyes were filled with tears.
Psalm 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:
Obviously a big part of our emotions were due to the fact that it is only a matter of days, perhaps hours, until our youngest daughter, Amy, will deliver our first grandchild. Yet this passage also caused us to think about our own lives and how we began in our mother’s womb.
David praised God for His intimate knowledge of him. David recognized that his life was no accident and neither is ours. The big question that is often debated today is – ‘When does life begin?’ Though there are many opinions, scripture is emphatically clear that life begins at the moment of conception. The fetus in a mother’s womb is not a blob of tissue, but an individual life that God has created and is forming into a special human being. From the passage we just read we see that God has a special plan for every child that is conceived.
Tammy and I were extremely excited the day Josh and Amy told us that they were expecting. Later I became even more excited when they told us that it was a little girl. From that day on I started praying for my granddaughter. And I am sure that we are going to be even more excited before this month is over!
Mothers are special because they are God’s handmaids for bringing life into the world. The mother’s womb is God’s workshop for creating special and unique individuals who will praise God in special and unique ways. Though for the expecting mom there is often discomfort and pain, what a blessing it must be to know that God is using you to bring Himself glory. Mary, the mother of Jesus, called herself – ‘the handmaid of the Lord.’ She considered herself to be God’s servant and in God’s sight, servants are at the top of the list!
II. It Was in Our Mother’s Arms That We Were Nurtured
When I think about a nurturing mother, my mind immediately goes to a woman named Hannah. Many of you are familiar with the story of Hannah and her son, Samuel. As you know, for many years Hannah was unable to have a child. This hurt her very deeply and so with great passion she prayed and asked God for a son. In her prayer she made a vow that if the Lord would give her a son; she would dedicate that son to God’s glory for all of the child’s life. God granted her wish and gave her a special son that she named Samuel, which means – ‘heard of God.’ In other words – ‘God has heard my prayer’.
It’s not hard to imagine the love Hannah must have had for Samuel. After experiencing years of empty arms, to now have a son must have brought her great joy. Yet even though Hannah loved her son, she never forgot what she had promised. The Bible says-
1 Samuel 1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. 25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. 27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
How easy it would have been for Hannah to find an excuse for why she couldn’t fulfill her promise. Yet she didn’t. She fulfilled her promise and for that reason her name will be mentioned from many pulpits today. She is a tremendous example of what being a godly mother is all about.
Yet Hannah’s dedication of Samuel didn’t begin on the day she brought and left him at the temple. It began even before he was born and it continued on in his tender years of development. The Bible says-
24 And when she had weaned him…she brought him…
The Bible doesn’t say how old Samuel was when Hannah brought him to the temple but most guess that he was probably around age four or five. Let’s say that he was four. What do you suppose the relationship was like between Hannah and her son up until then? How special do you suppose Samuel was to Hannah? And how do you suppose Hannah prepared Samuel for the day when he would stay at the temple and not come home? What must she have said to him during those four or five short years? Without a doubt Hannah did everything she could to try to explain to him not only what was going to happen, but why. Hannah nurtured Samuel not only physically, but also spiritually. This leads me to the next point in my message.
III. It Was at Our Mother’s Knee That We First Learn About Jesus
‘Difficult’ is probably an insufficient word to describe the day that Hannah left Samuel at the temple. I was thirty years old when we moved from VA to TN and to be honest I cried half the way to Chattanooga. Yet this day for Samuel would have been much more traumatic if Hannah had not done her part to prepare her son spiritually.
I am not an expert on parenting, but here is something that I believe very deeply. Too many ‘Christian’ parents neglect the early and important spiritual development of their children. They think that their child is too young to understand and that they can wait until the child is older to begin serious teach about the Lord. Yet it has been my personal experience and observation that children, even when they are very small and even infants, are already forming their personal philosophy about the importance of loving God. In OH they used to teach the children in the nursery a Bible story each week.
A wonderful illustration of what I am saying can be found in the life of a man named Timothy. As many of you know, Timothy was a young spiritual leader in the early church. When he first met the Apostle Paul and began his ministry, he was perhaps only a teenage. Yet Paul referred to Timothy as his son in the faith and when Paul was searching for a successor, Timothy who stood out above all the rest. What made Timothy so special? It was what his mother and grandmother did with him, even when he was but a small child. We read from scripture-
2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child – thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Where did the child Timothy learn so much about Jesus?
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy’s spiritual preparation for a life of serving Jesus began when he was a small child with his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois.This is not to say that the spiritual training of a child should be left up to the mothers and that the dads bear no responsibility. It is to say that unfortunately that’s often the way it turns out. Moms on the whole seem to recognize the importance and become more actively involved than the dads. That’s sad. What children need most is two parents who are working together to train up their children in the way that they should go.
Parents, it is crucial that you begin the spiritual preparation of your child at a very young age. ‘How young?’, you might ask. You can’t begin too young. Obviously it has to be age appropriate but little children can learn a lot. I remember our daughters, even when they were still very young, coming home from Sunday School and retelling us their Sunday School lessons. A typical Sunday in our home was Sunday School, church, an afternoon of hearing the same lesson over and over again, and then going back to church on Sunday night. Yet I don’t remember anyone every complaining.
IV. By Our Mother’s Words That We Have Been Encouraged
Being a mom doesn’t end when our children are grown and leave home. Yes, the job description may change some, but once a mom always a mom.
When I think of a mom encouraging her adult children, two women come to my mind. The first is named Salome.
A. Salome, Mother of James and John
Matthew 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
Many are quick to criticize Salome and indeed she was a bit presumptuous; yet most loving moms would do the same. Salome was a follower of Christ, herself. Some believe that she was actually a sister to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Scripture doesn’t tell us that but there does seem to be an indication that many of the first disciples and Christians were somehow related to Jesus. Salome was very active during the days of Christ’s ministry. She was present when Jesus was on the cross and she witnessed the empty tomb.
Obviously she wanted the best for her sons. And I am sure that she was very excited to see them follow the Messiah and to become spiritual leaders. Some have pointed out that Jesus did not directly deny her request, but informed her and her two sons that such an honor would come at a high price. They would drink from the same bitter cup that the Lord Himself would have to drink. Suffering was in their future.
B. Mary, the Mother of Jesus
I also think of another mother that continued to encourage her son, even when he became a man. It is Mary, the mother of Jesus.
As you read through the Gospels you often find Mary present. Apparently Joseph was dead at this point and therefore Mary dedicated herself to supporting her Son anyway possible. Most significantly is her presence on the day that He was crucified.
John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
That day must have been terrible for Mary. The Son of God was her son as well. Yet her love for Jesus would not let her stay away. She not only had to be there; she had to be near Him. I am sure that she was praying to God with her every breath. What a precious mother.
Almost always when mom and I talk on the phone, we talk about spiritual things. I want to know what God is teaching her and I love to tell her what He is teaching me. I should also say that I have been blessed by many spiritual moms within the church. I honestly do not believe that I would be in the ministry if it had not been for the encouragement of many godly women. That includes my mom, my wife, my two daughter and many of you in this church.
V. At Our Mother’s Grave That We Stand and Weep
For many of you, today is a very painful day. Mom is no longer here on earth. She is now home with the Lord. I often tell people during funerals that the primary reason a death is so painful is because life with this individual has been so special. I suppose that the more special life has been, the more painful it will be when that time comes to an end.
Yet if you and your mother both know the Lord, your relationship with them has not ended; but has only been put on hold for a season. We read from God’s Word
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The Bible says that for the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Mom is home with Jesus and for many of them, they are not suffering anymore. And if you know the Lord as your Savior, one day you are going to be reunited with your mom. I am often asked – ‘Will we recognize each other in heaven? Will I know that it’s mom and will they know that I am their child?’ Let me say two things:
A. I do believe that we will recognize each other
Jesus is going to resurrect the same body that has been buried in the ground. Yes, it will be changed; nevertheless, it will be the same body. Jesus still bears in His resurrected body the scars of Calvary.
B. I believe that our new heavenly relationships will supersede our old earthly relationships
Will we know that it’s mom and dad? I believe so. Will that be the most important thing to us? It will be important, but not the most important. Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 4 to give comfort to Christians whose loved ones had already died. ‘Where are they? What will happen to them? Will I ever see them again?’ And he concluded his comments by saying – ‘Wherefore comfort one another with these words.’
However, I don’t believe that earthly relationships will carry nearly the significance that they do to us today. The Bible also says that in heaven we are neither married, nor given in marriage. There won’t be ‘husband and wife’ in heaven; therefore there will most likely not be ‘mom and dad’, ‘son and daughter.’ Heaven will be a place of Father and child, brother and sister.