A Mother's Task
II Timothy 1:1-7 (Proverbs 31:10, 27-31)
This is a special day.
Anytime we honor our mothers is special.
Mothers tend to be taken for granted except on the second Sunday in May.
And that is not very appropriate considering the contributions they make to our lives.
It is said that by the time a youngster reaches age 18,
the mother has had to handle some 18,000 hours of child-generated housework --
work that would not have been necessary had there been no child.
Being a mother is a difficult job.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Men are what their mothers make them."
An old Spanish proverb has it that, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of priest."
"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 rules the world."
There are some Scripture passages of mothers that we should acknowledge.
There is Jochobed, who loved her son, Moses, so much
that she broke the law to keep him safe and to teach him the faith of his people.
There is the mother who appeared before King Solomon
who loved her child so much that she was willing to give him up forever
rather than see any harm come to him.
There was the mother of James and John who loved her boys so much
that she wanted them to sit by the Lord's side,
one on the right and one on the left, in the heavenly kingdom.
Our Scripture this morning is from Paul as he addressed Timothy.
"I am reminded of your sincere faith,
a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice
and now, I am sure, lives in you."
We do not know a great deal about those women, but they were really special.
They had Jesus as their Savior, and their faith was so important to them
that they wanted Timothy to know Jesus.
Timothy was well aware of the faith of his mother and grandmother.
He could see and hear everything that happened in their home.
Aren't you amazed at all our children pick up.
They see commercials on the Saturday morning cartoons,
and when they go shopping with you they have their list
of all the items they want.
They also repeat words or phrases they hear around the house,
That could be embarrassing at times.
They remember things that parents quickly forget.
They might be naive, but it is difficult to get ahead of them.
And just as they are not fooled by anything else,
they will not be fooled about religion either.
That should say something to mothers and fathers.
It says that if you really want to share the Gospel with your children
you had better take your own faith seriously.
Paying lip-service to Christ and the church will never give the proper message.
Unless you want to let them think that faith is not very important,
your own life had better reflect a seriousness of purpose and commitment.
Your attendance at Sunday School and worship,
and your participation in the life and mission of the church,
and the effort you put forth in the deepening of your relationship with the Lord,
will determine what lessons about the Lord and the church
that your children will learn.
One thing is certain, mothers can never fool their children
with a message of "Do as I say, not as I do."
Children are too smart for that.
If you tell them that Sunday School is important, but you do not participate,
you know the message your children will receive.
If you tell them that regular attendance at worship is important
but you find other things to do on Sundays,
your children will see what you do as more important
If you tell them that a personal relationship with the Lord is important
but they never see you reading the Bible or hear you pray,
your children will not believe that such a relationship is important.
Apparently Lois and Eunice lived their faith in front of Timothy.
They left him an incomparable legacy.
Timothy listened and learned.
We know that because of what Paul said to him about being careful of false teaching.
"Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed,
knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood
you have known the sacred writings that are able
to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
Timothy had seen God's power in their lives.
He saw that his mother and grandmother were totally committed to Jesus Christ.
Timothy learned about love in his home.
At an early age, Timothy accepted Jesus as his Saviour
because of the influence and love of his mother and grandmother.
He knew the joy of living in a Christian home.
Timothy learned about self-control and discipline in his home.
Lois and Eunice had to be disciplined to live their Christian life in their pagan world.
It would have been easy for them to slip back
into the kind of non-religion they had before.
It would have been easy to keep quiet about their faith
at that time in Asia Minor where being a Christian was not very popular.
It would have been easy not to have a time for personal study.
And it would have been easy not to take the time
to teach this young boy about the things of the Lord.
But Lois and Eunice had disciplined themselves into maintaining a home
where Jesus Christ was first, and that discipline was noticed by a young Timothy.
They gave Timothy the right start.
Every Christian mother should strive constantly to give their children the right start.
After they are grown, they make their own decisions.
It would be wonderful to say that all children who have grown up in Christian homes
will turn out to be a Timothy, but sad to say that is not true.
Mothers, you still have a certain responsibility for them after they are grown.
You must still pray for them, and let them know that you are continuing to pray for them.
The influence a mother has on her children concerning the things of the Lord
can make all the difference as to what those children will become.
Someone has said,
"Mothers write on the hearts of their children
what the rough hand of the world cannot erase."
A Christian mother's most vital task is passing her faith on to her children,
not only by what she says, but by what she is.
A minister was in conversation with someone
who had come to ask about becoming a member of the congregation.
The pastor asked, "What was it that I said that convinced you to join?"
The man answered,
"Nothing that I ever heard you say.
It was the way my mother lived."
Mothers pray that you will be the kind of woman
who lives her life for Christ so your children
will rise up and call you blessed.
"A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Prov. 31:28a, 30b)
Happy Mothers Day.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White