A Christian radio show host that I frequently listen to turned me on to an internet video put out by a greeting card company. The company put a fake want ad in various newspapers and electronic media for a “Director of Operations.” Several folks applied for the position and interviews were set up. The short four minute video splices together clips of the prospective employees as they are told by the corporate executive that the position requirements include but are not limited to: having advanced degrees in negotiations, finance, and the culinary arts; standing on one’s feet for multiple hours at a time; traveling anywhere at a moment’s notice; working all hours of the day—even staying up through the entire night; no weekends off and no holidays either, in fact extra work is required during Thanksgiving and Christmas; and working in excess of 100 hours a week! When the interviewees asked if they would receive a break here and there or at least be able to have a few minutes for lunch, they were told perhaps, but only if “the associate” with which they were working had eaten first and would allow for them to get a little shut eye. As if that weren’t bad enough, the interviewer then dropped the bomb that the position would pay absolutely nothing! The once excited faces of the applicants had turned to gloom, some even exclaiming “that’s crazy!”, “that’s inhumane!”, and asking “is that legal?!” Just before the prospects ran for the exits, the interviewer posed one last question asking them if they would be surprised to know that there was someone currently fulfilling the described position, in fact millions across the face of the globe were filling the “director of operations” profile under the less grand, non-corporate world title of MOM! At this point the previously frustrated applicants broke down, some beginning with laughter but all ending with tears as they said how great their moms were, how grateful they were for their mothers, and how that job description fit their moms “to the T”! Truly, no matter what one’s abilities or talents or accomplishments, the Bible as well as our own experience tells us that there is no tougher job in the world and no more important work on earth than that of motherhood! In this month’s newsletter we’re going to celebrate a few of the aspects of being a mom as seen in the lives of some famous women from Scripture.
Motherhood Is Desirable (The Story of Hannah—1 Samuel 1:1 to 1 Samuel 2:10)…Hannah was barren. She was loved very much by her husband, she had all of her physical needs cared for, she had enough resource to even enjoy some of the better things of this world. She should have been happy just to live her blessed, carefree, unencumbered, uninterrupted, uncomplicated life, but there was something deep inside her that wanted something more, something that could very well disrupt the good life as she knew it, tying her schedule in knots, taking away from time she could spend with her husband, depriving her of valued resource she could spend on her pleasures. Hannah wanted a child and she wanted a child in the worst way. So strong was her desire to be a mom that she wept bitterly and even refused to eat. Hannah prayed fervently to the Lord and promised that if He would open her womb then she would dedicate her son unto the service of God all of his days. She petitioned so strong that the high priest who saw her praying briefly thought that she was under the influence because even though her lips were moving her faint voice could not be heard by human ear. God, however, heard Hannah’s cry and granted her the son of her heart’s desire. She named him Samuel because she had “asked him of the Lord.” Hannah went on to be blessed with three sons and two daughters.
Current culture, perhaps especially in America, devalues motherhood. Much of the world sells the idea that being a mom is for those who can’t do anything else (much along the same line of thought as the saying that “those who can, do—those who can’t, teach”). If a woman does choose motherhood then it must be an add-on to other professional pursuits if the woman is to truly have worth and be more than “just” a mom. Children are largely viewed by present day society as a drag on an otherwise productive and enjoyable social and financial life. Don’t buy into the world’s lies, motherhood is something to be desired, even greatly desired, even desired to the point of offering up prayers combined with fasting. And children, far from being focused on as a burden, are presented by the Bible as a blessing and as a heritage from the Lord. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every woman has to be a mother. There are some who may be barren and are never able to have children for whatever reason. There are others who may be called to singleness. I’m also not saying that women can’t or even shouldn’t pursue educational and work opportunities outside of the home. There are some moms who have to be employed outside of the home for various reasons and there are others who simply choose to because they either feel called to some particular profession or want to provide certain financial opportunities for themselves and their families. What I am saying is that there is no higher “profession” or calling than motherhood, that being a mom is something to be dearly desired and cherished, and that children are a greater gift and a more important treasure than all the goods of this world combined. Motherhood is desirable indeed!
Motherhood Is Divine (The Story of Mary—Luke 1:26 to Luke 2:38)…One of the more familiar passages of Scripture, especially at Christmas time, is the story of the angel Gabriel appearing unto the Virgin Mary announcing that she was going to bear a Son. The young and chaste maiden responds by asking how this was going to be seeing as she did not yet know a man. The angel then proclaims that Mary would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and that the Child would be the very Son of God! Nine months later, after many awkward glances and untold number of whispers behind the back by those who found her claim absurd, after a near divorce by the man to whom she was engaged was thwarted by him having his own angelic visitation supporting the veracity of the Baby’s supernatural origins, in a Bethlehem stable on a starry night in the midst of a journey to pay taxes, Mary miraculously partook of and witnessed the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us!
While no other birth will be miraculous in the same way as that of Jesus, every mother (and father for that matter) who goes through the wonderful experience of witnessing a child born into the world has to have a hardened heart and searing conscience to deny that the event is anything short of divine. We know about “the birds and the bees” and the act that leads to a baby’s conception. We understand the basics of biology. Yet, clear thinking men and women realize that they have no more power in and of themselves to make a baby grow inside the womb and become mature than a farmer does to make the seeds he’s planted actually take root in the ground and eventually sprout into a full fledged fruit capable of being harvested. I’m thankful for the holiness of marriage and for the Biblically based intimacy that it entails, but when you hold your newborn in your arms with 10 perfect tiny fingers and 10 perfect tiny toes, you know there has been a Divine mystery at work that is beyond the full scope of your capacity to conceive much less achieve. Motherhood is divine indeed!
Motherhood Is Discipleship (The Story of Lois and Eunice—2 Timothy 2:1-7)…The names Lois and Eunice aren’t as well known as those of Hannah and Mary. However, when the Apostle Paul was writing his last epistle mere days before being beheaded for the cause of Christ, they were names that he not only recognized but, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, found worth recommending as excellent examples of the faith. The elder statesmen is writing to his young understudy Timothy, trying to encourage and embolden the timid young man to faithfully proclaim and live the message of the gospel in the midst of a world of persecution and perversion. What better way to bolster and buoy Timothy in the faith than to remind him that this Christian message has been faithfully held to by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice? I can imagine being in the shoes of the young minister as you are reminded by your mentor of the godly testimony of your grandma and mom. As you reminisce you would be humbled by your heritage and have a desire to honor their legacy by honing your personal devotion unto Christ. Timothy had been brought up in the fear and admonition of God and in the wisdom of the Holy Scriptures. The matriarchal side of his family had discipled him in the faith and Paul was now exhorting him to continue in it and to grow ever stronger.
How many of us could point to the power of a praying mother or grandmother as being instrumental in our coming to faith in Jesus? How many of us could look back and say that the testimony of our mother’s life and love has drawn us closer to the Savior? I’ve often said that I’ve read hundreds of books by some premier scholars and listened to thousands of sermons by some powerful preachers, yet I have learned more of Jesus, His righteousness, and His love through the example of my godly mother than through any other source. I am so glad that my son has the example of his mom, my wife, and of his grandmother, my mother, to help lead him to Christ and to disciple him in the goodness and gospel of the Lord. Motherhood is discipleship indeed!