May 9, 2021 Motherhood

Motherhood

 

Scripture: Psalm 11:1-3; Mark 10:6-9

 

One reason why the Psalms have been so beloved by God’s people through the ages because they represent so well the thoughts and intentions of a man who loves God when under duress and difficulty. Many psalms are songs of praise to God. Those are uplifting in their own right. But many times David, the author of most of the psalms, wrote them in times of great difficulty. We relate to this because is this not the story of our lives? We encounter one difficulty after another and we must wrestle through those times. If we turn to God the times of difficulty pass more easily than if we attempt to plod our way through on our own. This is why David is loved by so many of God’s children. He was a great and successful warrior. A brave man. A skilled man in more than one way. Yet, he depended on God and yearned after fellowship with Him. That is what a real man does. That is what a genuine person does, male or female.

 

In Yahweh I take refuge;

How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain;

2 For, behold, the wicked bend the bow,

They bmake ready their arrow upon the string

To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.[1]

 

We are attacked by the wicked of the world. There is a battle raging! In David’s time, it was a physical battle which he described as he was set upon by the enemies around him. In our day the battle is mostly spiritual. The wicked shoot arrows at us: the:

  • arrow of promiscuity,
  • the arrow of greed,
  • the arrow of a false idea,
  • the arrow of self-indulgence.

 

Some were saying to David in the midst of assaults upon him, “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” In other words, find your help somewhere else besides God. That temptation comes to us as well. We look for security, practically, in other places besides God. In our minds, and if we were asked, we would all say that we find our security in the Lord. But what do we do? We tend to do things that give us comfort and security in things that are not God-centered: a good job, education, pleasant hobbies, and entertainment. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. In fact, if we have them we are blessed. But we tend to make those things our comfort and security instead of God.

 

When times of spiritual attack and stress come those things will not sustain you.

 

if the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?”[2]

 

We must have the right foundations. This morning I want us to consider the foundation that God has given us. If this foundation is neglected or destroyed what can the righteous do? This foundation is the family. And, within this foundation, is a unifying component that binds the family together. That blessed unifier is the mother. You might think it is the father. In fact, did you know that the name, “husband,” has that connotation? The word comes from house and band. That is, the husband is supposed to band, that is bind, the house together. The house being the people, the family, not the building. The husband, the father when there are children, does have that responsibility. But practically, it is the mother who holds the family together. I hope to show how important motherhood is to the spiritual formation of children and to the unity of the family.

 

The Family is the first divinely created and sanctioned institution.

God designed and initiated at least three institutions. He designed and sanctioned human government and he did this for our welfare and benefit. Man has perverted that institution; nevertheless, it was ordained by God. We see that in Genesis 9 and Romans 13.

 

He planned and began the church, a most blessed and wonderful place to be when it is functioning as it ought. It is not just what happens on Sunday mornings or midweek evenings. It is daily living and sharing with one another. Jesus said that he would build his church. He began it shortly after his resurrection and He has been building it, and He is building it right now. He is the Divine Owner and Foreman and we are the laborers.

 

But before either one of these, he established the family.

 

[1] The family is the foundation of who we are.

 

Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it. [3]

 

We all start out as children but we tend to forget that. The way people behave is primarily because of how they were raised in their families. Frequently, what happens is that, as teenagers, many will come under the influence of their peers and pick up habits (some good, but also bad ones) from them. Yet, a common experience is that, as they progress into adulthood, they return to the standards that they were taught as children. This is what Proverbs 22:6 states. When we are old we do not depart from the things we were taught as children. The “not departing” is not absolute. Almost everyone departs for a time. Also the “not departing” is not a promise. This is a mistake people make in reading the Proverbs. They take them as promises. They are only observations, true observations of course, of life and human behavior.

 

That means that there will be exceptions. There will be a few children who are brought up in the way that they should go and will depart and never return. But most will return.

 

But what do they return to? They will return to what they have been taught at home. Do you see how important the family is?

 

The main responsibility to train our children is the father’s:

 

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. [4]

 

This is a divine mandate. Fathers cannot forsake their responsibility and be faithful to the Lord. But do you know what? Just as unifying the family has fallen upon mothers so has the training of children. It is a fact! And it is not a bad thing that this has happened. Rather it is a good thing. You see, in the days of the apostles the women were not educated. Very few could read or write. Academic training was only provided to males. Today, by God’s grace, women have received an education and have the ability to teach their own children.

 

The burden was greater upon fathers when the NT was written. They had to work all day and then come home and train their children. Now, this task is shared by father and mother and, most often, the mother carries the burden. Thank the Lord for mothers! They form the hearts of their children! They form who we are!

 

[2] The family is also the foundation of our community. What makes up the character of any community? It is the quality of the families who live there. If there is a community with lots of single men in it, the establishments that arise and flourish there are not the best kind of establishments. There will be more bars and even worse places in that kind of neighborhood than in a place that has families within it.

 

Yet, to a great extent, it is the mother that raises the quality of the family that will, in turn, raise the quality of the community. Mothers are important to our communities!

 

[3] The family is an important building block of the church. It is not the foundation of the church. The foundation can only be the Lord Jesus Christ. But a church is made up of mostly families. Of course, there are singles in the church. I was a single person in the church for 20 years. We need our single people because, according to the apostle (I Cor 7:32-35), single disciples are more devoted to the Lord. Their interests are undivided as they seek to live for the Lord. Single saints also have more time to give to the Lord. All true, but the church is still constituted with more families than singles. Therefore, the health of the families will overflow into the health of the church.

 

Do you know who plays the most important role in the spiritual health of the family? It is the mother! I believe the Scriptures teach that it ought to be the father. But I am not speaking about the way things ought to be at this moment, but the way things actually are. It is more often the wife and mother who encourage their husbands and their children to attend church, seek the face of God, and who themselves, devote themselves to the Lord.

 

It was never God’s intention that a woman be the judge of Israel. It was the duty of men. But there were no faithful men in Israel for a time, so the Lord rose up Deborah to lead the nation. Thank God for Deborah! Israel’s general, Barak, could not kill Sisera, the Canaanite general. He escaped. So the Lord brought Sisera to Jael’s tent and she killed him. In the same way, there are many men who are not leading their families as they ought, so the Lord has raised up countless godly mothers to bind their families together.

 

Mothers make the church spiritually healthy!

 

Our own values, our community, and our church have mothers to thank for the good that we have.

 

Motherhood is good. Being a mother is good. It is much better than a career. A career is good too. A career helps the wheels of society turn and builds prosperity.

But motherhood turns the wheels of life itself and builds character.

 

Life is more important than society and character is more important than prosperity. Therefore, motherhood is more important than a career.

 

Motherhood is good. Being a mother is good. It is much better than self. We need to take care of ourselves. We have a body God gave us and we should take care of it. We have a soul and we need to look out for its interests, its well being. But self only goes so far. It is a dead-end street. Now, you shouldn’t neglect a dead-end street. It still needs to be kept clean and swept. You need to pick up the garbage and you need to change the bulbs on the street lamps. But how foolish for a city to invest almost all of its budget on a dead-end street!

 

Self only goes as far as self. This is why Scripture speaks despairingly of loving self, meaning that, if one’s primary love is self then this is a sign that the person does not know God in reality.

 

Motherhood, properly exercised, looks beyond self to the health and well-being of others, her children. Therefore, motherhood is more important than self.

 

Motherhood is good. Being a mother is good. It is much better than preaching. When you preach (if you are preaching faithfully from the word of God) then you are influencing people for the kingdom of God, showing them the right path. But there are 168 hours in the week. If you preach a half-hour that is only .029% of the week’s time. A preacher’s influence is very limited. Maybe the preacher is doing open air preaching in addition to in church. Still, this amounts to only a small percentage of a week’s time.

 

But a mother is spending a hundred times this amount of time preaching to her children. She is preaching by her teaching and she is preaching by her living. Therefore, motherhood is more important than preaching.

 

Motherhood is good. Being a mother is good. It is better than fatherhood. You see, a father’s time is divided between his career and his family. By the very nature of the family roles a father’s time with his children is limited to a greater extent than a mother’s. This is why fathers must be especially vigilant in guarding their time with their children and not let overtime, hobbies, and friends come in to rob them of the time they need to spend with their children. Unless they can share hobby time and recreational time with their children.

 

Because mothers have more time with the children and greater influence on the children, motherhood is a little better than fatherhood. But fatherhood is very important and its neglect is causing untold problems in our country and in the world. But this is a message about mothers.

Motherhood is good. Being a mother is good. We know it's good because God designed it and planned it and kept it. Once creation was done, no one can exist without a mother. It is fundamental to who we are.

 

Motherhood is good. Being a mother is good. We know this because God the Father gave a mother to God the Son. Jesus was raised by a godly mother who loved him, fed him, cared for him, worried about him, and nurtured him. He nursed at her breasts and she washed his soiled undergarments.

 

Motherhood is good and being a mother is good because mothers share in forming the souls of new people. They are partners with God in soul formation.

 

Because of all these things, being a mother is the most important job in the world.

 

Because motherhood is so important and we have all received the direct benefits of it, we must love our mothers. Jesus did.

 

 

[1] Legacy Standard Bible (2021). (Ps 11:1–2). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 11:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 22:6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 6:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.