The Influence of a Godly Mother
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: John 19:23-27, Exodus 1:6-2:11
Sunday 6th March 2016
On this special Mothers’ Day commemoration service, we appreciate and celebrate all our mothers in the house. We thank God for the significant role you are playing daily in the lives of our children – both biological and mentees. We salute your courage, sacrifices, labour of love, loyalty, love, availability and prayers, the unquantifiable price you’ve paid and continue to pay over all our children. The future of the church rests on your shoulders and we are convinced that you will undoubtedly succeed.
To mark this special occasion, I am bringing a special message, which I have titled ‘The Influence of a Godly Mother’. Let me start today, by stating this loud and clear – motherhood is a call from God to raise a godly generation. It is an opportunity to mould minds, nurture growth and develop potentials. It is a divine privilege to express love and deploy God-given gifts and abilities. Evangelist Billy Graham wrote of his mother: “Of all the people I have ever known, my mother had the greatest influence on me. I am sure one reason that the Lord has directed and safeguarded me, as well as Ruth and the children, through the years was the prayers of my mother.” He goes further to write: ‘What a comfort it was for me to know that no matter where I was in the world, my mother was praying for me’. Here is another quote from Billy Graham: ‘Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children’.
Here are some other quotes relating to motherhood: ‘There can be no great men and women without great mothers’. Abraham Lincoln said: ‘All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother’. Billy Graham writes again: ‘the influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured’. George Washington writes: ‘My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am, I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. Thomas Fuller writes: ‘For a wife, take the daughter of a good mother’. CH Spurgeon wrote: ‘I cannot tell you how much I owe to the solemn word of my good mother’. Abraham Lincoln writes: ‘I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life’. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes: ‘Men are what their mothers made them.’
The Bible is full of stories of women of God who contributed to making this world a better place, and who have played their part in shaping the lives of God’s servants. Women like Jochebed (Moses’ mother), Miriam, Ruth, Deborah, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Sarah, Eunice and many more.
Today, I would like to address this subject from two angles. First of all, I want to encourage and challenge us all to continue to play our part in appreciating our mothers for their immense contributions to our lives. Secondly, I would like to encourage the mothers on how to continue playing their godly roles in our lives.
Let’s start with the first half of this message, by reading John 19:23-27. ‘Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
At the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified, there were four women, four soldiers and the disciple that Jesus loved. That moment would have been emotional for everyone around that cross, especially for Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had to watch helplessly as her innocent son was being crucified, his head being shoved with a crown of thorns, and eventually gasping for breath as he bowed his head in death. She stood with him till the very end, when his other disciples had fled the scene. She would have easily recollected the words of Simeon, when Jesus was born and taken to the temple for his dedication. Luke 2:34-35 reads: ‘Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”’
Jesus would have looked with compassion at his mother as she stood by the cross – how could he forget her care, nurture and support? Knowing he was soon to depart this world, it was imperative that he placed her in capable hands, despite the excruciating pain he was suffering at the moment. Thankfully, John was around to play this part. Undeniably, Jesus loved his mother dearly. Right there on the cross, Jesus’ actions spoke clearly to us all: We all have to love and value our mothers.
From John 19:25-27 outlined above, let’s learn five lessons as recommended by Jesus:
(a) Jesus gave his mother his undivided attention: We live in a generation, where mothers have been disregarded and disrespected. This passage mentions four soldiers, four women and a disciple standing by the cross, all representing the world and the church respectively. In the presence of these witnesses, he demonstrated care and devotion to his mother, a lesson which we should all learn from, regardless of our personal faith inclinations. We must not ignore our mothers, but learn to respect, appreciate and look out for them. They must know that we care about them and are valuable to us. Proverbs 23:22 reads: ‘Listen with respect to the father who raised you, and when your mother grows old, don’t neglect her’ (MSG).
(b) Jesus cared for his mother: He protected his mother from loneliness. Loneliness is a devastating experience, especially for a person who had enjoyed the love and warmth of family life. We must be deliberate in shielding our mothers from such an experience. Her psychological, physiological and spiritual needs must all be taken care of. Psalm 68:6 reads: ‘God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity’. No one is designed to thrive alone. We all have the need for affection and fellowship. God intends that we share our lives with others. We must contact our mothers and let them know how much they mean to us.
(c) Jesus provided for his mother: From these verses, we can infer that Jesus made adequate provision for his mother. John was charged with the responsibility of taking care of her. In the same way, our mothers must be adequate provided for and must not be left to fend for themselves and struggle through life.
(d) Jesus provided comfort and security for his mother: Jesus’ mother was shielded from mockery, hostility and shame. We must be mindful of caring for our mothers and protecting her from anything that could diminish her self-worth and dignity, including the lifestyle that we choose to adhere to. Ephesians 6:2-3 reads: ‘“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’.
(e) Jesus loved his mother: Despite his crucifixion, Jesus love for his mother was palpable. He looked beyond the ridicule he suffered from his captors, to his mother. In the same way, our mothers should be able to know how much we appreciate them, and how much they mean to us. So celebrate them, especially if they are still physically around you. Cast your mind back to the sleepless nights, the days of going without, the deprivation of comfort and amenities all for your progress and good standing in life. Celebrate her with your words and actions.
So while we have learnt the importance of celebrating mothers, it is important that mothers are encouraged and challenged to greater works. To help in putting this in focus for us, let’s turn to a mother in the bible who played a significant role in shaping the history of the Jewish people and by inference the history of our world, today. So as I address mothers, let me do this with the life story of a woman in scriptures who we hardly pay much attention to. Her actions rescued millions of Jews from slavery – her name is Jechobed, the mother of Moses. Here is Exodus 2:1-10. ‘And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. 4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
This story transpired at a time when Pharaoh was intimidated by the population growth of the Israelites. Consequently, he ordered for the execution of all male children born at that time. Moses was born during this difficult period and he was hidden from the public for about three months. Jechobed, although born into slavery had no loss of hope in seeing her progenies succeed and break out from this conundrum. She was mother to three children-leaders: Miriam, Aaron and Moses. Her efforts were of such magnitude, that it was listed among the roll call of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. She was not intimidated by the hostile environment in which she grew up. Instead, she led her brood, teaching them to embrace God’s purpose for their lives, leading to outstanding miracles in that era.
Let’s learn some lessons from the life of this woman, Jechobed.
(a) She discerned her child: Using Moses as case in point, she understood and recognised the uniqueness of her son, despite the difficult circumstances under which he was born. In Moses, she discerned a God-given destiny that could not be ignored, an outlasting purpose. She appreciated his features and exceptional in-born qualities that distinguished him as beautiful child and she was determined to protect him, regardless. Conversely, as mothers, we ought to appreciate and embrace those qualities that mark out our children, right from an early age. Beyond their present behaviour, the labels from society and the pressures of contemporary culture, begin to nurture and cultivate those characteristics that mark them out as distinct and extraordinary.
(b) She fought for the destiny of her child: Despite the unfavourable decree issued by the Egyptian monarchy of the day, she protected her son from the onslaught of the enemy. In the same way, mothers ought to stand up for their children and guard them from the attack of the evil one. As a praying mother, you must stand in the gap for your children, protecting them from worldly and ungodly influences that could hinder their ultimate destination. If Jechobed had been found out for hiding Moses, she would have been killed. She willingly took the risk and laid her life on the line – so should every mother.
(c) She trusted God for the life and destiny of her child: Having received a divine strategy from God on what to do, she committed Moses’ life and destiny into His hands. As mothers, we must stop being anxious about our children; instead, let us trust God for the future He has in mind for them. Hand them over to Him. God can always do the things that we cannot do. As the story unfolds, we read that Jochebed had a state-sponsored nursing offer to raise up her child for the Egyptian state – what a wonderful God we serve! Let’s learn to trust God with the future of our children. Right under her eyes, her child grew up learning the Hebrew culture with nothing to fear.
(d) She nursed her child: Jechobed taught Moses godly virtues – how to pray, she also taught him about the covenant promises from the days of Abraham, values that nothing could take away from him. As mothers, we must instil and inculcate Christian virtues into our children. We must not be too busy to ignore the call of God for our lives. Beyond the role of other third parties – minders, nursery teachers, grannies, songbooks, TV, games, we carry a unique gift from God that we must pass on to them, unfailingly. Make time for them and build them up spiritually. The destiny of the next generation is locked up within their hearts, which we ought to cultivate it.
(e) She gave Moses an understanding of His identity: Your children must know who they are and who they belong to. She nurtured Moses, instilling within him the truth that He was not an Egyptian. She raised him as a Jew, and he stayed in that path throughout his lifetime. Proverbs 22:6 reads: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it’. Despite Moses’ exposure to an Egyptian education, he remained a Jew. Mothers, we must teach our children that they belong to God and not to the world. May He strengthen and guide us as we purpose to obey His will for their lives in Jesus name (Amen). Go ahead, raise them for Him!
Now Apply the Word HERE
Download the PDF of this message HERE
Weekly Uplift Archives HERE