THE MISSION OF MOTHERHOOD
Influencing Your Children for God's Glory
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Exodus 20:12; 1 Sam 1:20-25
Sunday 30th March 2014
Today, I want to join the world in the celebration of mothers; those with biological children, those who believe God for the fruit of the womb, and those who are yet to marry but consider themselves to be mothers – by virtue of their influence on children or young people. We celebrate you for being real champions, for being stars, for being true difference makers. We thank you for letting your light shine, we thank you for affecting our world, we thank you for being world-changers, difference-makers; we thank you for being God's vessels, we thank you for your love, sacrifice and impact. Thank you for the decision you've made to partner with God to raise and nurture the next generation. Without your commitment and your impact, there is no future. We say, "Thank you ... thank you... thank you ... and again, thank you!" We truly celebrate mothers in this house for your roles in homes, communities and in the house of God.
The foundation scripture in Exodus 20: 12 says, "Honour your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." Although this scripture's instruction is to honour both parents, today, my focus is upon mothers. The word 'honour' in this scripture is the Hebrew word KABAD, which means glory. The Anglo-French word from which we derive honour has connotations of elevation, high respect and great esteem. It speaks of being heavy, weighty, loaded, numerous, rich, very great, and abundant, and is suggestive of being excellent, matchless, best, outstanding, exceptional degree by which things are done. With this in mind therefore the scripture in Exodus 20: 12 can be read as instructing us to ensure that everything we do for our parents is excellent, matchless, outstanding, distinction, privilege, glory, illustriousness, notable and exceptional. When we truly honour our parents, we will live long; this is not just having length of days but that our years will be full of life; it is a promise of a quality life. When you honour your mother, you increase the quality of your own life. It is therefore to our advantage that we recognise the role of mothers in our lives, and we honour them accordingly.
Abraham Lincoln said, "All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother." "The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured," writes Billy Graham. George Washington, another former president of the USA attributed all his success in life to the 'moral intellectual and physical education' he received from his mother.
The Bible is full of stories of women of God who contributed to making this world a better place; and who helped to advance the Kingdom of God. Jochebed, the mother of Moses had a great influence on her son during the early years of his life such that all his training in the court of Pharaoh could not erase it, and he refused to identify with the wealth of Egypt but held on to his heritage. After the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, it was Miriam who led the women in their rejoicing, saying, "Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted" (Exodus 15:21). Ruth put God first, and as a result became an ancestress of King David (Ruth 1:16; 4:17). Deborah was one of the judges of Israel (Judges 4:4-5). The royal Esther took her life in her hands to plead for the Jews - a people without hope (Esther 4:10-16). In Luke 7:38, a woman's gratitude caused her to wash the Master's feet with her tears and wipe His feet with her hair. Mary Magdalene, carried with her spice to anoint the body of our Lord Jesus, first greeted the risen Lord and received the first commission—"Go, tell" (John 20:17-18; Mark 16:9). Mary, the mother of Jesus demonstrated undying love by standing by her son – Our Lord Jesus, till the very end; that was the love and devotion of a true mother. Sarah, because of her faith received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered God who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. Eunice, the mother of the Apostle Timothy, raised her son in the way of the Lord.
Our nation and indeed our world is in desperate need of mothers. I am not talking about girls or even women, but mothers. We have lots of women with children but fewer mothers. If we had more mothers, we would have less criminal behaviour, less immorality, less ungodliness and fewer broken homes. A child with what I would call a true mother benefits from her knowledge and absorbs her example, attitudes, honesty, life habits, kindness and hard work.
Proverbs 22:6 instructs us 'Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it'. In this uncertain world, when the very foundations of homes seem to be yielding to worldly pressures, there is a great need to consider the subject of motherhood. Motherhood is defined as the attributes of a mother or the office of a mother. The fundamental mission of motherhood is to nurture, protect, instruct; to help children develop a heart for God, and His purpose, to prepare the children to show forth the glory of God in their generation. Motherhood is one of the most fulfilling and meaningful roles a woman can fill and mothers have the unique opportunity to influence the world by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of the children. Through mother's teaching and influence, morality can be learned and modelled; through mother's teaching and influence, love and kindness are taught and received. Through mother's teaching and influence, purpose and vision are ignited and passed on. The real ability of a mother to secure such a spiritual legacy is based on the strength of her relationship with her child.
"Mother" is not a name, it is a divine function! To "mother" is to be the bearer and nurturer of life. Unfortunately, increasingly, the true essence of motherhood is being eroded by self-centeredness – an insatiable desire for success, irrespective of what else suffers. Motherhood has been abdicated and the responsibilities have been handed over to nannies, child minders, nursery teachers and playground instructors. In many cases, television programme, games, telephone, social media have taken the real place of motherhood in the lives of our children. Children no longer have quality time and the opportunity to be taught and discipled; they are left to navigate their way through uncharted territories and many of them have ended up at a place called 'nowhere'. Proverbs 22:6 says 'train up a child in the way he should go'. There must be training that will ultimately lead the child to the way. There must be guidance. There must be unconditional love, spiritual nurturing, inspiration, and emotional security, guidelines for all of life's purpose, relationship, and proper behaviour. A child's life is like a computer; the input determines the output. You need to spend quality time with your child as you cannot influence him or her from afar. If a child is not a champion inside the home, he will never be one outside.
God giving you your child is a test of your willingness to be a good steward. You will be called to account as to how well you have raised them up and prepared them for their purpose. Until you have connected your child properly to the Lord, your child has not been raised. That is the ultimate goal of your motherhood, to connect your child to the Lord.
I would like to open up the life of Hannah to us today. In 1 Samuel 1: 20-25 we learn, 'So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the Lord. Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever." Notice, she spent time with her child. She nurtured her child and gave him her undivided attention. You have no business in the house of the Lord if you have not first ministered to the needs of your children. It does not glorify God if you turn up in all meetings, parties and friends' houses while your children are deprived of your attention. Notice also that Hannah prayed for her child, declaring that he will 'appear before the Lord and remain there forever'.
In verse 23 we learn, that Hannah weaned her child and handed him over to God. She was a woman of integrity and kept her word. Hannah's priorities were in the right place. She made time for her son and gave him her full attention. She trained him and nurtured him and even after she handed over to him she continued to invest in him, bringing him robes for his temple duties. Even in raising her child, she remained connected to her husband and did not fall into the trap of ignoring him. They were friends, they were together. She maintained balance. They were together long after Samuel had left home because they carried each other along. There are mothers who fail to recognise this principle and after the child had left home they come to the realization that there are two strangers in the house. Whilst you raise your child, don't ignore and despise your husband.
There are many Samuels that are waiting to emerge in our world today but very few Hannahs. Very few Hannahs who would recognise that their responsibility is to raise their children for the Lord. God is looking for praying mothers. Godly mothers who will spend quality time teaching their children the word of God. God is looking for mothers who will raise for Him, the Samuels of this world. Never forget that your highest calling is to raise your children for the Lord. Today, I call forth the mothers! Mothers who will recognise and embrace their roles; Mothers that God can count on; Mothers who recognise the power of influence that they carry and who will allow their lights to shine for the Lord! Mothers arise; we salute you in Jesus' Name.
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