The Ministry of Motherhood
Have you ever seen a child with freckles? Well, I read a story about a grandmother who took her freckled faced grandson to the zoo. As they stood in the face painting line, a little girl turned and said, “You’ve got so many freckles, there’s no place to paint!” Embarrassed, the little boy dropped his head. Then his grandmother picked him up and lovingly whispered, “I love your freckles. When I was a little girl, I always wanted freckles.” She traced his cheek with her finger and said, “You know, freckles are beautiful.” The boy began to smile, “Really?” “Of course,” she said, “Name me something that’s prettier than freckles.” Her grandson began to trace the outline of her face and he softly whispered, “Wrinkles.” They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and to that little boy, nothing was more beautiful than his grandmother’s wrinkles.
This morning, I want to look thru the eyes of God at beauty…because God doesn’t look at us the same way others do. On this Mother’s Day, we’re looking at the women who impress God. Please join us as we stand and read from Titus 2:1-5: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
Paul wrote this letter to Titus who was serving in Crete. Now, historians tell us that Crete was a wicked city back in the day. Paul says that “…a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’” (Titus 1:12) These people didn’t care about God, only about themselves and their own power and success. The men were drunkards and lacked self-control. The women seem to be gossipers and neglected their families. And everyone disrespected those in authority. And the new believers had to live among them!
When you live in a culture like that, it becomes easy to think like they do and to live like they do.
- When you’re surrounded by people who tell dirty jokes, it’s hard not to join in.
- When you spend time with people who curse, it’s hard not to pick up that language.
- And when you spend time in school or at work with those who cheat to get ahead, it’s hard not to do the same thing.
It’s called “Peer Pressure” and we’ve all felt it. Today, we live in a pagan or unsaved world and if we’re not careful, we’ll be drawn into the pagan way of life. Especially when we watch the same TV shows and see the same movies and read the same books as they do. Many of these movies and books tell of lifestyles that are impure and immoral by God’s standard. And when we saturate ourselves with this worldly way of living, then we tend to forget the importance of living a wholesome life that is pleasing to our Savior.
But one of the most powerful forces for God in this pagan world…is the words and examples of a godly woman. She can have the same influence as that grandmother did on that freckled face little boy as her words gave him encouragement and strength. God says in Prov 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” I believe the biggest impact on this world is made by mothers. Most people have never heard of a sculptor named Bartholdi. He’s best known for a statue that stands in the New York harbor…
the Statue of Liberty. He was told that the statue had to represent the idea of liberty, respect, love, and acceptance, so he studied the heroes of history looking for a model. But in the end, he chose…his own mother.
Godly mothers can make a huge impact not only on their children, but on those around them. By their behavior, they create a safe and stable home for the whole family. So, in the early church in Crete, God turned to the older women to create a safe and stable environment. He calls on them to guard the homes and the families of the younger women by training them to be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind, and subject to their husbands. Why? So, they’ll not bring shame upon the Word of God. The women of that congregation were the first line of defense against the influences of that pagan world. The younger women listened to the older women who took them under their wing to encourage them, lift their spirits and challenge them to be the kinds of wives and mothers that glorified God. There’s no doubt that godly women are the backbone of a strong church.
Now, I need to clear up a common misconception. Did you notice the part about women being “obedient or subject to their husbands”? Often, men make the mistake of thinking the Bible says that submission is a “woman” thing. It’s not. It’s a God thing. According to Ephesians 5:21 ALL Christians are expected to be submissive. The Bible says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” But do we really understand the biblical term for “submission”? The English word “submit” comes from a Latin root which means “to let down, reduce, or yield.” We picture kneeling before a superior or yielding to someone greater and that angers us. But the N.T. Greek word is hupotasso, which means “to put under or arrange under.” It’s a military word that refers to lower-ranking soldiers arranging themselves under the orders of higher officers. So, biblical submission is an acknowledgment of proper order and authority. And according to Romans 11:36, we’re told that all things are from God, through God, and to God, so He is the highest authority.
Jesus Himself recognized God’s authority and was submissive to it. In John 5:30, Jesus says, “I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me.” Jesus’ entire life is an example of submission to His Father, especially His prayer just before His death. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). To be a disciple of Christ, we must submit to Christ’s authority, just as He submitted to His Father’s. After all, a submissive heart is the core of our salvation experience. And in this early church, God called the older women to teach that truth. Often, women lose focus and complain that men have too much power. But the truth is…even though men may have power, women have influence. As the old saying goes: “Men may wear the pants in the family, but the woman tells him which pair.”
I read a story about a woman who had 10 children and another on the way. One day, for some reason, her 3 yr. old son was under her feet everywhere she went. Every time she turned around; she’d trip over him. Patiently she’d ask, “Wouldn’t you like to go outside and play?” But he’d just smile and say, “No, I want to be with you.” Finally, after stepping on his toes for the 5th time, she began to lose her patience and insisted that he go outside and play with the other children. But when she saw the tears well up in his eyes, she asked why he was acting this way. With a face of an angel, he looked up and said, “In Sunday School, my teacher said we should walk in Jesus’ footsteps. But I can’t see him, so I’m walking in yours.” I want to remind all mothers…to cherish the influence you have on others. You change lives.