“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise); that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).
When God created the world and all that’s in it, He had a perfect plan for family. A man to protect and provide for his family and a woman to be his helper and nurture the family. God created Adam on the sixth day, then drew Eve from him. We know the history. Though God placed our first parents in a perfect place, they chose to rebel. Adam and Eve knew God’s one rule but disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit. Because of that, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1).
Eve was the first mother and recognized that her child was a gift from God. Some erroneous teachings say that Cain was conceived inside the Garden of Eden and his father was Satan. Scripture doesn’t support that belief, but Cain had a sin nature and eventually killed his younger brother Abel. Eve must have been heartbroken. Her disobedience to God brought on Adam’s sin, and the result of that disobedience is the sin and death first seen in her sons.
Sin and death are still a part of our daily life. We all have a mother, and she isn’t perfect, but most of us have warm memories of childhood and how our mothers made things special.
Many mothers are singled out in Scripture, and women can learn from them. One of my favorites is Hannah. She was one of two wives of Elkanah. Polygamy was practiced at that time, though it didn’t follow the example of a one-man/one-woman marriage which God ordained in the Garden of Eden. Elkanah’s other wife was named Peninnah, and she wasn’t a very nice person. Hannah had no children and Peninnah, who did have children, treated Hannah awful. Though Hannah hurt inside, she didn’t allow bitterness to ruin her life. She yearned to have a child, so she prayed. What a blessing a woman of prayer is to her family.
“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1 Samuel 1:10-11).
Hannah’s desire for a son was strong, and her love of the Lord was stronger. She knew that God could allow her to have children and promised Him that if He gave her a son, she would be sure that he would know the Lord. The vow she made was a Nazirite vow. She promised that he would be set apart for God’s service. God answered her prayer, and Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel and was true to her promise to God. Hannah sent her son to live with Eli the priest, and Samuel did serve God his entire life.
“And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:21).
Scripture doesn’t tell us about her other children, but with a mother like Hannah they were loved and prayed over. Children who are born to a Godly woman are very blessed to have her as a mother.
There are special mothers in the New Testament too. None of them is more special than Mary. She had all the hopes and dreams of a young woman, and her future was clear. She would marry Joseph, raise a family, and live out a normal Jewish life. She must have been a special person because God chose her for a very unique and important task. She would give birth to the Messiah.
Mary was no different than any other young woman of that time, but God knew that she would be a good mother to His Son and chose her to fulfill prophecy. An angel made the announcement to Mary that she had been chosen. There was nothing supernatural about Mary, but she did love the Lord and was humble before Him. When the angel appeared to her, she was afraid, but he put her at ease.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS” (Luke 1:30-31).
Mary wasn’t married and only asked how she could become pregnant. When the angel explained that the Child would be the Son of God, Mary was humble and obedient.
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).
Like Hannah before her, Mary humbled herself and declared she was a “handmaid of the Lord.” Mary had no idea what heartache she would face, but submitted to God. Everybody knew she was pregnant but not married, and that was forbidden under the Law. She could have been stoned to death, but Joseph was also visited by an angel and understood that he needed to stand by her.
After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary were married and had other children together. Mary knew that Jesus was the Son of God, but she was also a human mother and didn’t want Him to be mocked. There were times when she even tried to stop Him from fulfilling His purpose, but it was only because she loved Him. Jesus understood and He loved her. As He was dying on the cross, shedding His blood for the forgiveness of her sins, as well as the sins of all who will accept Him, He looked down and saw her there along with John. Before Jesus gave up the ghost, He gave the care of Mary over to John, who took care of her until she died. Yes, Mary was a very special mother.
Many times, mothers are a quiet influence upon their children. There’s one mother who is only mentioned by name in one verse, and we are better acquainted with her son. We first learn of her when Paul was on a missionary journey.
“Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium” (Acts 16:1-2).
The first time Paul was in Lystra, he had quite a time convincing the people that he and Barnabas weren’t Greek gods. He preached the Gospel and established a congregation of believers. When he came back to check on the congregation, he found a young believer named Timotheus, whom we know better as Timothy. Timothy’s mother was Jewish but had accepted Christ. His father was Greek and apparently not a Christian. This quiet mother had a strong influence upon her son.
Paul became close to Timothy and established him as a pastor in Ephesus. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy and, in the second, he mentioned Timothy’s mother and grandmother.
“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” (2 Timothy 1:5).
Paul was aware of the strong faith of the two women who grounded Timothy in his faith. Many mothers today are the only Christian influence in their children’s lives. Those mothers need to be encouraged, because the influence of an unbelieving father can damage the faith of the children. Timothy was blessed to have Eunice for a mother and Lois for a grandmother.
Times are changing, and many women have placed a higher priority on working outside the home rather than doing the most important job they can do, being a wife and mother. Raising a son to be a God-honoring man and a daughter to be a God-honoring woman is the most important thing a woman can do. Circumstances or poor choices may have required her to be a single mother and work to support her children, but teaching them about Jesus and not to make the mistakes she has made will give the children a solid foundation on which to build their lives.
I was very blessed to have had a mother who was a beautiful Christian lady. She faced many tests of her faith but always came out stronger. Though she died over 40 years ago, she is still an influence over my life. Like Timothy, I also had a grandmother who found strength in her faith and is still an example to me. God has blessed me with three children whom I love very much and pray they see God’s love shine through my life.
None of us are perfect, not even our mothers. Take time to thank God for your mother, and say a prayer for her.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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