“The Witness of Christian Mothers”                                       May 12, 2013

I Thessalonians 2:1-8 & John 17:20-26                                   Stephens City UMC

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

I.              Mothers sure do a lot and you don’t have an easy job.

A.   The Rev. Brian Bill talks about mothers who love their children and according to him by the time a child reaches the age of 18, a mother has had to handle an extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work. (Bill, “Mothers Who Love, May, 2000)

1.    That is equal to three months out of every year.

2.    If you are a mother then you are trying to cram an extra three months of work into your year simply because you are a mother.

3.    Oh my!

B.   Rev. Bill also tells the story of a Middle School science teacher who was teaching about magnets.

1.    That’s spelled m-a-g-n-e-t.

2.    To reinforce what he was teaching he gave his students a quiz and the first question was “My name begins with “M,” has six letters, and I pick things up. What am I?”

3.    Half of the class wrote as their answer, “Mother.”

4.    Yes, mothers pick things up because they are such a magnetic force.

C.    One other story Rev. Bill tells is about a father who was trying to explain the concept of marriage to his four-year old daughter.

1.    He got out their wedding albums because he thought that visuals would help her to understand and appreciate.

2.    He went through the entire wedding ceremony from beginning to end and asked if she had any questions.

3.    Indeed, she did for she pointed to a picture of the wedding party and asked, “Daddy, is that when mommy came to work for us?”

D.   Clergy are deeply appreciative of mothers.

1.    An old Spanish proverb puts it this way, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”

2.    We clergy try but the truth is that mothers are much more effective.

E.    What I just said is biblical.

1.    Remember Jochebed who was the mother of Moses?

2.    She saved the life of her son by hiding him after his birth and then placing him in a basket in the Nile River to be discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter.

3.    You can read about that in Exodus Chapter 1 but you have to keep reading to Exodus Chapter 6 to discover the name of this amazing mother.

4.    She is also named in the book of Numbers but like many mothers who do great things for their children and their society, they are either barely named or even go unnamed.

5.    Such is the case with the mother in I Kings 3 who demonstrated sacrificial love when she and another woman along with a newborn were brought before King Solomon to make a judgment.

6.    Each woman claimed that the baby belonged to her and when Solomon ordered the baby to be divided in two with one-half going to each woman it was the real mother who cried out to prevent that from happening.

7.    The real mother would do anything to insure the life of the baby, even to the point of allowing the other woman to gain custody and raise the child as her own.

8.    Solomon had deduced that the real mother would cry out which she did and thus he was able to do the just thing.

9.    But again, that mother is unnamed.

II.            On this Mother’s Day that reminds us that mothers can go unnamed and their sacrificial actions may not be known by everyone or even anyone.

A.   There is more than a little poignancy to that.

1.    And Mother’s Day can be a poignant day for some women.

2.    Maybe you had always wanted to be a mother but things didn’t work out.

3.    Possibly a few of you did not have the best mother in the world.

4.    There are some here whose mothers have died (and here I’m speaking to both women and men) and you miss her.

5.    A few of you have experienced the tragedy of losing a child to death.

6.    A number of you feel the pain that comes with a wayward child – the child who gets not just into trouble but Trouble with a capital T and about the only time you hear from them is when they are in Trouble with a capital T.

7.    Others of you are raising your children on your own and single parenting isn’t even for the birds because birds work as a couple.

8.    It’s tough and yet somehow with some assistance from family and this church you are making a significant spiritual impact on your children.

9.    You deserve a salute for that!

10. Others may not be aware but God knows what you are doing.

B.   I would put forth that you are just continuing a Christian mothering tradition practiced by Lois and Eunice (II Timothy 1:5).

1.    The person who gets much of the publicity and is best remembered is Timothy who was the grandson of Lois and the son of Eunice.

2.    We read about this family in II Timothy 1:5 where Paul praises Lois and Eunice for the sincere faith that dwelt in them which they passed on to Timothy.

3.    That their faith was described as sincere means that it was un-hypocritical and real.

4.    Luke sheds a little more light on this family as in Acts 16:1-3 we are informed that the Apostle Paul traveled to Debre and Lystra  and met a disciple named Timothy who was the son of a Jewish woman, who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.

5.    “He was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him;…” (Acts 16:2-3a)

6.    Now Paul wouldn’t have taken just anyone to accompany him in missionary journeys.

7.    Paul needed an aide who was helpful, not someone who would slow him down or make his ministry more difficult.

8.    Timothy was undoubtedly young but he must have shown some maturity in the faith and the maturity he possessed came from his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois.

9.    Just a few verses after being introduced to Timothy we read of the effectiveness of Paul teaming with Timothy in a mentor relationship “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in number daily.” (Acts 16:5)

10. The same testimony is given in the passage we read from I Thessalonians.

11.Lois and Eunice don’t have two books in the Bible named after them like Timothy does, but their names are there and I suspicion that it does their hearts good even in heaven to know that the faith they passed on to Timothy was passed on to others and that line continues to us today.

12. That is the power Christian mothering.

C.    Today we remember the positive effect of Christian mothers such as Lois and Eunice in places such as Lystra and Derbe and Thessalonica but we also honor and give thanks for Christian mothers here in Stephens City.

1.    The sincere faith that dwells in you has, is and will continue to be effective in passing the faith to the next generation and in converting others who see and hear you.

2.    You are embodiment of the four men who once got in an argument over what was the best and most effective translation of the Bible.

3.    The first man argued that the best translation was the King James Version because it was so poetic.

4.    The second man took the position that the best translation was the New American Standard because it was so literal.

5.    The third man was of the opinion that the best translation was the New Living Translation because of its contemporary phrases and idioms.

6.    But in the end the fourth man won the argument because he stated, “The best translation of the Bible is my mother.”

D.   God bless you Christian mothers and thank you for being such incredibly effective translations of God’s Holy Word!