Mothers: The Source of Good Men & Women
It takes a big man to be known openly as a “mama’s boy.” However, several of our presidents were openly and unashamedly “mama’s boys.” George Washington: All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. The greatest teacher I ever had was my mother.” Later our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln said: “all that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” President McKinley provided in his will that, first of all, his mother should be made comfortable for life. Garfield’s first act, after being inaugurated President of the U.S., was to stoop and kiss his aged mother, who sat near him. On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
Just giving birth to a baby does not automatically make a woman a great mother. After all, I knew a man who bought himself a grand piano. This did not make him a great musician. He did not know how to play it. But, it was just another piece of furniture for his wife to dust. What does it take to make a mother worthy of honor?
The apostle Paul’s comments about the role of women in the church and spiritual life has caused some to label and libel him as chauvinistic. In the second chapter of First Timothy, he wrote that women are not to function in a public way in the assemblies of the church, such as leading prayer where men are present (2:8), not to teach over men (2:12), but to learn in silence with all subjection (2:11). Just what is a woman to do? Paul said, “nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” (1 Timothy 2:15). Giving birth is not an act by which a woman meets the condition for salvation, like believing Jesus to be the Son of God. Childbearing is the role God has given to the woman. As she faithfully fulfills this role, God will bless her with salvation.
• Household Manager
Next in 1 Timothy 5:14 Paul discusses the main realm of a mother’s labor. “Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” In his letter to Titus, Paul instructed the older, wiser, godly women in the church “that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:4,5). Notice the phrase “keepers at home” does not equate to “keep her at home.” Husbands are not to keep her tucked away behind four walls like a prisoner. Neither does this equate to her being a “house wife.” My wife Beverley declined this label explaining that she is a wife, but she is not married to a house but to her husband. Perhaps the best view of her role in the realm of the home is explained by the phrase “manage the house.” A mother is to be the household manager.
Post modernists reject this role for a woman. They claim that this does not permit the woman to be equal with a man or allow her to be her own person and find herself. However, God is the one who made man and woman. He gave them their roles. He loves them equally. And he knows what role for which they are best suited.
However, it is true that many modern conveniences have made it possible for mothers to have more free time. This free time does not mean she has to be bored. To the contrary, most mother’s do not have time to be bored. Mothers are busy thawing hamburger, washing mounds of laundry; ironing; folding; cleaning; shopping; cooking; worming the dog, car pooling; being a referee, a couch, an encourager, a counselor, a cop. Yet they do all this while making every effort at remaining tactful, lovable, compassionate, cheerful, responsible, balanced, and sane.
• Discipline the Children
Young children must learn to behave and obey. This does not come natural to most children. When I was growing up in a family with six kids, ages one to ten, the great equalizer for my parents was the “Board of Education” to make us mind them. This paddle was often accompanied with a song: “I need thee every hour.” The words which came from my mother’s mouth which struck terror in my soul was: “You just wait till your father gets home.” He was a stern disciplinarian. My parents provided the discipline and I provided the stern. That will make a child ship-shape in no time.
Respect for authority begins in the home. “The little three-year old said to her father, “The dog says ‘bow wow’, the kitty says ‘meow meow’, the little lamb says ‘baa baa’ and mama says ‘no no’.” (Pulpit Helps Sept. 1982, p. 17).
The mother who indulges a defiant and rebellious child invites misery and heartaches. A child left to himself will bring shame. “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” ( Proverbs 29:15). Undisciplined children despise their mother. “There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother…The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it (Proverbs 30:11,17).
A renown Los Angeles doctor has said, “the greatest social disaster of this century is the belief that abundant love makes discipline unnecessary.” Today, everything in our homes are controlled by switches except our children. Our society is advancing technologically and digressing morally. Yet Solomon in his great wisdom warned, “he who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). For a mother to love her children is to discipline them with the rod of correction.
• Provide Spiritual Guidance
A mother’s early influence upon the mind of a small child is irreplaceable. Day care workers are not enough, public school teachers are not allowed to provide spiritual guidance, and even Sunday school teachers have not been given the commandment to take over this role (Eph. 6:4). An ancient Spanish proverb states, “An ounce of the mother is worth a pound of the clergy.”
The apostle Paul praised the role Timothy’s mother and grandmother played in the young man’s spiritual up-bring. “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. (2 Tim. 1:5). “But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (3:14,15). Just as the Canaanite mother sought out Jesus on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter (Matt. 15:22), so mothers need to seek out Christ or lead the children to Him (Ac. 16:15; Mk. 10:13-15).
Two mothers in the Old Testament provide a contrast in parenting. Whereas only eighteen mothers are mentioned in the New Testament more than a hundred are referred to in the Old. In the Old Testament, greater stress is laid on the character of the mothers than the fathers. The very wicked queen of Judah, Athaliah, proved to be the worst example of a mother. “Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly” (2 Chronicles 22;2,3). In contrast Abijah was the wife of Ahaz who was a very wicked king of Judah. King Ahaz was idolatrous, offered human sacrifices, and even destroyed the worship of God in the Temple (2 Chron. 28:1-4; 21-27). Abijah was also the mother of Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:1,2). She named their son “Hezekiah” which means “strong in Jehovah”. Hezekiah “was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him” (2 Kings 18:2-5). Hezekiah’s mother is to credit for his godly reign.”
Many mothers let negative propaganda get to them – and begin to entertain feelings of discontent with motherhood. However, a Ladies Home Journal – Roper poll “Asked to name the best thing about being a woman. 60% of those surveyed answered motherhood” Little girls still want to be a mommy when they grow up. For those wives and mother’s who faithfully fulfill their God-given role “her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).
– Daniel R. Vess