“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.”
“They say that man is mighty,
He governs land and sea;
He wields a mighty scepter
On lower powers than he.
But mightier power and stronger
Man from his throne has hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that ruleth the world.”
The great inventor Thomas Edison paid a lovely tribute to his mother in a moving testimony when he said, “I did not have my mother long, but she cast over me an influence that has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my experience, I should never have become an inventor. I was always a careless boy, and with a mother of different mental caliber, I should have turned out badly. But her firmness, her goodness were potent powers to keep me in the right path. My mother was the making of me. The memory of her will always be a blessing.”
It is without question that a mother will make and mold her children. God has designed it that way. Therefore, it is imperative that a mother be many things.
A mother should be a mature woman. She should be mature in her thinking and philosophy of life. Biologically, women are able to become mothers at a young age but that is not enough. Marriage and motherhood should be delayed until there is a maturity of mind reflected in the life of Mrs. Burke. Her son John Burke was once a governor of North Dakota. He writes this about his mother.
“To think of mother is to recall her unselfish devotion, her limitless, unfaltering love through good and evil report, never wavering, but growing stronger and stronger with the years; and to remember that she asks nothing in return for herself; she asks of us and for us that we be good men and women. If we fail, she does not love us less, but more.”
Some years ago, a pastor in Florida came across a picture of a little shack outside the wall of the State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. The mother of a son in the penitentiary for life occupied the shack. She had gone as close to him as she could possibly get and pitched her tent there, saying, “I’ll be waiting if he ever comes out.” Such is the heart of a mature mind.
Sometimes a young person can be mature beyond her years and thus be a good mother, as was Mary. Though still a teenager the maturity of Mary is manifested in the magnificent prayer of praise as recorded in the gospel of Luke 1:46-49. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name.”
As a mother should be mature, so she should be observant. It is important for a mother to know her child, or children, internally and externally. One of my mother’s favorite phrases from time to time was, “I know you. You cannot fool me. You will never be able to fool me.”
And she was right. Because a mother is observant, she knows just what to do for her children, and for others. Men must be careful not to even suggest what one unwise husband said about his wife’s day.
“She cooked the breakfast first of all,
Washed the cups and plates,
Dressed the children and made sure
Stockings were all mates.
Combed their heads and made their beds,
Sent them out to play.
Gathered up their motley toys,
Put some books away.
Dusted chairs and mopped the stairs,
Ironed an hour or two,
Baked a jar of cookies and a pie,
Then made a stew.
The telephone rang constantly,
The doorbell did the same,
A youngster fell and stubbed his toe,
And then the laundry came.
She picked up blocks and mended socks,
And then she blackened up the stove.
And when her husband came at six
He said: “I envy you!
It must be nice to sit at home
Without a thing to do!”
That husband probably did not get a good supper for a week after that remark, nor should he have.
A mother is to be mature in her mind, and observant, she should be tenderhearted. There is a tremendous amount of tension in the homes of America. The calm in the eye of the storm should be mother. When it is, her tender touch will never be forgotten. During World War I, a young man was badly wounded on the battlefields of France. He was taken to a hospital, and finally brought back to America. He was in a critical condition when he reached an American hospital with eyes blinded, his mind beclouded, and his body mangled. His elderly mother traveled many miles to his bedside, laid her hand on his brow. Instantly he said, “It’s my mother’s hand! I’d know it anywhere!”
The mother had not spoken, but he knew the touch of her hand! The tender touch of a mother will help to cultivate a heart of love that will be made known, and shared with others.
A teacher in a public school was teaching math class one day. She had a student named James.
“James, suppose your mother made a peach pie, and there were ten of you at the table—your mother and father and eight children—how much of the pie would you get?”
“A ninth, ma’ma,” the child replied.
“No, No, James. Now pay attention,” said the teacher. “There are ten of you. Ten remember. Don’t you know your fractions?”
“Yes, ma’am,” was the quick reply. “I know my fractions, but I know my mother too. She’d say that she didn’t want any pie.” Such is the nature of a mother’s love.
True love is not always found in the great acts of life, but in the little acts of constant kindness. A singular expression of a mother’s kind love consists of earnest prayer.
C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words and prayers of my good mother. It was the custom on Sunday evenings, while we were children, for her to stay at home with us. We sat around the table and read verse by verse, while she explained the Scripture to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading with God. Some of the words of our mother’s prayers we shall never forget, even when our heads are gray. I remember her once praying thus: ‘Now, Lord, if my children go on in sin, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Jesus Christ.'”
A Christian mother with three small children was about to leave home for a few days. Gathering them about her she spoke about her absence, and their behavior, and bedtime prayers until she should return. She then knelt and poured out her own heart with them in prayer. When she was through, all heads were raised and every face was full of sunshine. After a moment’s pause the youngest boy bowed his head down by his mother’s cheek and said, “More.” “More.” The prayers of that mother were rooted in righteousness, and her child wanted more! More!
Not all mothers are righteous.
Not all mothers are regenerated.
Not all mothers have been born again.
Not all mothers love the Lord.
But those who have repented of sin seek to be clothed in the robes of righteousness. They adorn themselves with spiritual graces. They speak well of others and are sorry when they say unkind and untrue words. They want to worship. They do not miss church. They want to give, and support the work of the gospel.
Those who are clothed in righteousness do not expect others to serve, and wait on them, for they are humble servants to others, and seek ways to help. They want to grow in grace, and in knowledge of Jesus Christ. A spiritual life is sought, because only such a life can bring peace and harmony to our homes. Mothers must do their part to be rooted in righteousness.
Maturity of mind, observant of individuality, tenderheartedness, a heart of love, earnestness in prayer, and righteousness in life will bring eternal spiritual rewards as young souls are won for the Saviour.
In all of this, the spiritual mothers of Israel, the older ladies in the church, may help. Specifically, they can teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husband and to love their children.
I have always been amazed at this passage. The divine command is given that some mothers are to be taught to love their children, which implies that there are women without natural maternal instinct. The evidence abounds that this is true. There are too many babies unwanted and uncared for. The Church can do more to protect the life of the unborn by protesting the taking of the life of the innocent.
Consider some statistics compiled in 1996.
734,000 people died of heart disease
537,000 people died of cancer
82,000 people died of pneumonia/flu
42,000 people died of AIDS
42,000 people died in auto accidents
32,000 people committed suicide
But, 1,529,000 children were killed through the process of abortion. Many suffered the trauma of the partial-birth abortion procedure. It would be better named the partial-birth murder method, for the child is an inch away from being born.
John Powell has referred to the widespread practice of abortion in our own day as ‘The Silent Holocaust.’ Proverbs 31:9 commands God’s people to “Open your mouth for the dumb.”
Perhaps there is no better time to cry out for the children than on the day which honors motherhood. Across this land, the church needs to plead afresh with mothers to love their children. Mother’s love their children best of all when they let them live, and then teach them to love the Lord. The mother that prepares her child not only for time, but for eternity will one day hear her children stand up and call her blessed. In this way the majesty of being a mother is enhanced, and the children remember, as did the author of the following testimonial.
I Remember My Mother
“My mother carried me under her heart;
Loved me before I was born;
Took God’s hand in hers and walked
through the Valley Of Shadows that I might live;
My mother bathed me when I was helpless;
Clothed me when I was naked;
Gave me warm milk from her own
body when I was hungry;
My mother rocked me to sleep when I was weary;
Pillowed me on pillows softer than down,
And sang to me in the voice of an Angel;
My mother held my hand when I learned to walk;
Suffered with my sorrow;
Laughed with joy;
glowed with my triumph;
And while I knelt at her side,
she taught my lips to pray.
Through all the days of my youth
my mother gave strength for my weakness,
Courage for my despair,
And hope to fill my hopeless heart;
My mother was loyal when others failed;
Was true when tried by fire;
And was my friend when other friends were gone;
My mother prayed for me through all the days,
when flooded with sunshine or saddened by shadows.
My mother loved me when I was unlovely,
and led me into a grand estate
to walk triumphant on the King’s Highway and play a manly part.
Though we lay down our lives for her
we can never pay the debt we owe to a Christian mother.”
If I could create a composite biblical woman she would have the following characteristics.
“She would have the faith of Sarah, the loveliness of Rachel, the foresight of Rebecca, and the humility of Ruth.
She would have the persistent prayer life of Hannah, and the courage of Esther.
She would be as brave as Deborah, and as wise as Abigail.
She would be as glorious as Mary, as gracious as Martha, and as generous as JoAnna.
She would have the eyes of Eve who was able to see sin and weep.
She would have the voice of Miriam who sang the praises of God.
She would have the moral strength of Jael.
And she would have the business mind of Lydia, the seller of purple.
She would have the heart of Mary Magdalene who loved Christ completely.
She would have the knees of those women in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost who knelt and prayer and received the Holy Spirit.
She would have the feet of the woman of Samaria who ran to tell others to come and see the Saviour.”
While no single woman in the Scriptures ever possessed all of these collective virtues, each of them is spoken of as example, and so the daughters of Sarah today can plead, “Lord, make me a Christian women, for Christ sake”. Amen!