Mothers have a special place in God’s heart. Of all the ways God could have chosen to insert Himself into our world, He chose to do so through a mother. And His mother was important to Him. So much so, that when He was suffering the torture of the cross in extreme agony, He made provision for her to be cared for by his best friend.
“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved, standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27, NIV 84).
I’m not sure how much Jesus just “knew” because He was God in the flesh, but I’m sure Mary still taught Him many things. He had to grow, to be nurtured, to learn how to walk, to put on his sandals.
The same Holy Spirit who lived in Jesus inspired these words written through Solomon:
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).
What Mothers Teach Us about the Gospel
I think mothers actually teach us a lot about the gospel. Through the gentleness, comfort, and instruction of our mothers we see the blueprint for sharing Jesus with those around us.
“As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:6b-8).
Paul is saying that as apostles, they had the right to seek support from the church in their efforts to spread the gospel, but they were motivated not by greed but by love.
Sometimes sharing the gospel can become about what we can get out of it–building our church or ministry, seeing our loved ones make better choices–to the point that we are no longer motivated by love but by our own selfish interests. Our hearts will then be reflected in our actions, words, and even our countenance.
A mother’s gentleness and care toward her babies can be a great example of how we should share “not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
“As a mother comforts a child, so will I comfort you” (Jeremiah 66:13).
Another great example from moms is found in how they comfort a child. If we are hurt, wounded, sad, or afraid, we need our mamas to be there for us. I am forty-seven years old, but when I’m sick or hurting, I still want my mama.
Because God comforts us in this way, we are called to bring comfort to those around us. In sharing the gospel, we will often find that those who are living in darkness are also in pain. They need the truth of the Gospel–the Light of Jesus–to bring them out of darkness.
But they also need the comfort of someone caring enough to give them a hug or hold their hand.
Sharing the gospel is more than just telling someone how to be saved. We also need to demonstrate the love of Jesus in their lives so they can see His love through us.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
A mother’s comforting presence, prayers, and touch are sometimes exactly what a lost person needs to show her the truth of who God really is.
But moms aren’t all roses and sunshine.
Correct when necessary.
Sometimes mamas have to correct, instruct, and rebuke. Godly mothers will have a standard of right and wrong by which they expect their children to abide. When their kids cross that line, mamas know how to bring them back.
“The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Proverbs 29:15).
I know there is much controversy over the use of spanking as a means of discipline because there are parents who cross the line into abuse. But I do believe the idea here in this Proverb is that children have to be corrected. The Hebrew word translated rod actually means branch. I got a few switches in my day!
Regardless, the point here is that a mother who wants to impart wisdom to her child rather than suffer disgrace will correct her child. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of the gospel?
We were once lost in sin on a path that leads to hell. Someone came along beside us and shared the truth of God’s Word–the standard of right and wrong. We acknowledged that we are sinners and sought forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Now, as we grow, we need faithful sisters in our lives who will speak truth and correct us when we go astray.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Galatians 6:1).
Just as a loving mother will correct her child and bring him back into a right relationship, we are to offer loving, gentle correction to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are young Christians and just beginning to grow in their faith.
Go to any length.
One of my favorite Bible passages describes how the love of God has been passed down from mother to child for generations.
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
Here we find Lois, who first became a believer in Christ. She shared the gospel with her daughter Eunice because she loved her. Eunice then shared the gospel with Timothy, to whom Paul was writing.
Mamas sharing the gospel with their youngens–here we find the perfect motivation for sharing the love of Jesus with others: Because we love them!
There’s nothing quite like the love of a mother for a child. Until we parent someone else, we can never understand the depth of love and passion that we can have for another.
But God calls us to love the lost with that very same passion.
Years ago, while my children were at vacation Bible school, a storm came up that was much like a tornado (I thought it was!) The sky turned black, then completely white from the heavy rain. It turned out to be straight-line winds, but the storm did much damage to our back porch.
As soon as the roaring stopped and I saw the destruction, I ran outside to the car to go check on my kids. But our basketball goal had been knocked across our driveway behind my car. The goal is the type that has water in the base to hold it down. Before that day, I had never had the strength to move that basketball goal even an inch.
That day, I picked it up and moved the entire goal from behind my car to get to my children. I think it could have been a tank, and it still would have moved. There’s a strength and fierce passion in a mother’s heart that will move mountains to save her children.
What about us?
Will we go to any length–moving mountains if necessary–to share the love and truth of the gospel with others? Are we desperate to rescue them from hell so they can enjoy a life of freedom, joy, and peace?
Mamas have a lot to teach us. As we celebrate our mothers this week, let’s seek to model a mama’s love to those around us. Some have never known the love of God or the love of a mother.
We can show them both.