Jesus and Moms
You want to know something? Jesus loves your children more than you do. You probably already know that. In order to understand what Jesus has to say about Moms and be encouraged by it, we need to take a look at what He has to say about our children.
Have you ever noticed that some of the tenderest scenes in the Bible involve Jesus and children? He heals them, welcomes them, and encourages them to approach Him.
Let’s look at Jesus and the little children in Mark 10:, “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms,placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
There’s a lot going on here. Jesus welcomed little children into the kingdom with their child-like faith and sense of awe and wonder and admonished we adults to have a child-like approach to the heart of the Father. I love that! And I love that Christ took little ones in his arms and blessed them. In my mind’s eye, I can see Him with a full-lap, children on every side, smiling, and even laughing that hearty way men do when they’re amused.
Surely our Lord sees our children as unique persons entrusted to us as our stewardship. I know we usually tend to think of stewardship of something we do with our money or talents. And that’s true. But in this case, it makes me think of a question my dear friend Ruth Smith of Pilgrim Institute once asked when she was called to make a decision regarding something that would impact families and children. She asked, “Who do the children belong to?” She was asking others to consider that the children weren’t the “property” so to speak of the school or state. She was asking them to “think governmentally”, which means asking Who or What is in control.
Well, who DO the children belong to? Who are we stewarding for? What is, then, stewardship?
Psalms 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
Stewardship then is the responsibility (and for Moms, their very calling and vocation) of taking care of something. We are asked to take care of our children (stewardship) them on behalf of someOne else. If we are to stewardship, then certainly we are stewards.
What is a steward? In Scripture a steward is a minister of Christ.
Now think on that for a few minutes. Have you ever considered your calling as a Mom one of a minister of Christ? What do ministers of Christ do?
Webster’s 1828 dictionary tells me, ” In Scripture and theology, a minister of Christ, whose duty is to dispense the provisions of the gospel, to preach its doctrines and administer its ordinances.”
What then is our role as Christian Mothers? To preach the gospel and its doctrines to our children. Ladies, this is radical!
Our role isn’t simply to give birth to our children, or bring them into our hearts by adoption. It isn’t just to feed and clothe them. It isn’t even just to give them a quality education. Our primary role is to preach the gospel and its doctrines to our children.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
I want to suggest to you that you’re doing this whether you realize it or not. You may not be actually “preaching” to your children, though that is what the word really means, but through the art of mothering, you’re demonstrating the Gospel to them with every word and deed. Just as our children are unique and special to the Lord, so are you. He has equipped you to do the word He’s called you to do.
In Titus 2 we read, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity…”
At this point you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t feel equipped. I don’t know that I’m doing a good job. I have a wayward child. I’m not even sure some days that I like my children!” We all have these kind of thoughts that run through our minds.
What I’d like to share tonight is a way to embrace the vocation and high calling of motherhood that keeps our eyes on Christ. We’ll look directly to the Lord for the equipping and lay aside advice from Dr. Phil, and others (at least as far as they disagree with Scripture).
First, let’s look at how Jesus taught. This will help us in our daily, minute-by-minute instruction of our children no matter what age they may be. This is also called relationship.
If we look at the life of Christ we see that Jesus was loving. He repeated spiritual truths over and over so that people might understand. He walked among the people healing them, by asking them questions, and by imparting truth through ways they could understand (Mark 4:34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.)
Jesus was someone who attracted others. He had a way of pointing to the Father that satisfied the needs of people. He knew how to satisfy their greatest spiritual needs. Even when they just returned for more bread, he knew they had a greater need.
Here are ways he did just that, and how as Moms we can be encouraged that if we will follow the master Jesus will meet their needs and our own.
- Children need to feel safe, loved, and important. Do you have a consistent temperament? Do you meet as well as you are able your children’s basic needs for clothing, shelter, and food? Is your discipline consistent or are your children unsure of what to expect? Can your child confide in your? We are especially admonished not to provoke our children to anger or discouragement (Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Jesus makes us feel safe, loved, and important in his very life (lived sinlessly), death (for our sins), and resurrection (for our justification) that we might have peace with God the Father, Romans chapter 4.
- Children must trust their parents Do you keep your word to your children? Do you keep your word to others so your children witness this? Do you do your best to make sure that your children are influenced by trustworthy adults? Remember when we talked about how Jesus patiently repeated things to his followers (and for our benefit) so we’d understand? This built trust. We can trust him because He did exactly what he said he would do. Read Mark 8,9, and 10. He said he would suffer, die, and rise. He did.
- Children need to know their worth Do your children understand that their value as a human and made in the image of God? Do your children see how important they are to you by the time and real attention you give to them? Are you full of distraction? God’s Word tells us children are a heritage (Psalm 127) and fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and that the Father would hold nothing back in saving them should they stray, and in fact he didn’t hold back his only son. (Matthew 18 and the parable of the lost sheep)
- Children need to see their purpose and calling Do your children see that they’ve been created by God and live in the culture and time we live in “for such a time as this”. Do you? Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Children need chores Constant entertainment is soul-destroying to anyone, but especially to a child. There is value in work that sparks their creativity and curiosity and helps them see their place in God’s world. Again, Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Wisdom and role models- Children need your guidance and the guidance of trusted adults, especially as they become young-adults themselves to help grow discernment. Who do you know that exhibits wisdom that would be a good influence? Do you exhibit wisdom to your children? Proverbs 13:20 tells us, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Now, let’s be real for a minute if we can. We do our best as moms. But, if you’re like me you fail. I lose my temper sometimes. I’m convinced driving with my kids in the car is meant for my sanctification! I call a friend with my tale of woe instead of turning to the Lord in prayer. And much more. I fail often.
As a mom, the thing the Lord keeps bringing before me is that I need to learn to trust Him in this calling of motherhood.
Trusting the Lord doesn’t mean neglecting the principles I outlined earlier, it means confessing when I fail my children and repenting the sin that brought me to that neglect. And God is so good. He promises to forgive us and restore us. And in the repenting if we turn to Him, he will teach us what we need to know to be the mom He wants us to be. His word will thoroughly equip us for this good work. (James 1:9 and 2 Timothy).
This is another thing our children desperately need to see. The power and work of the Holy Spirit working in the life of their mom. Are your children seeing that? This may be one of the greatest needs in our families. Are you a mom who keeps a close relationship with God? Do they see a mom, who when she fails goes to her Father in heaven and seeks Him? Do our children see us walk in newness of life when we are forgiven, not mired down in sin or past sins, but accepting the Lord’s forgiveness by faith and trusting in his plan of repentance? Are we failing in the same ways over and over, refusing God’s way of blessing?
I want to encourage you as we close today with an example of a Christian mother and her influence over her children as she set out to follow Jesus. Though she is from long-ago history, she sounds like she could’ve been from our very day.
It seems everyone was off doing their own thing. The spirit of Reform that had marked the age past had died down and the Age of Reason was around her. She was married to a difficult man. Rigid some say. And she was a very busy homeschooling mom. She gave birth to 19 children. Ten of her children lived through babyhood. But there was no large-family homeschooling group for her to join. She taught them all sorts of fun things like French and math. And all without Pinterest. Seriously, she was no unschooler. She made today’s classical homeschool moms look like soft pudding. She had to run a tight ship and lived in a time when moms didn’t hold their babies like we do today. But, no doubt, this was a mom whose children were a high priority!
One scholar described her children as “a cluster of bright, vehement, argumentative boys and girls, living by a clean and high code, and on the plainest fare; but drilled to soft tones, to pretty formal courtesies; with learning as an ideal, duty as an atmosphere and fear of God as law.”
She took her role as steward to heart.
Just wait, it gets even more interesting. This woman and her husband had a disagreement over who would get the trash cans to the end of the street. Of course, I’m kidding! This was a serious woman! They argued about something far more serious. Let’s just say this gal had a mind of her own and very strong convictions. During prayer her husband prayed for the King and due to a belief this wife held regarding the king, she didn’t say “amen” when her husband did. A heated discussion ensued and he left. He left her and all those kids. I’m not taking sides here, just sharing a story. He was gone for a while and her letters to him weren’t all that nice.
Can you imagine growing up in this home? One of her daughters shares that the atmosphere in the home was “intolerable” and I can imagine. We’ve all felt that kind of tension when people argue. Well, the King died and the husband returned home. Nine months later a baby was born, so I suppose we can say they made up.
Her story never improves much. Her children make bad choices. Her house burns down. She was often poor. It goes on and on. But, she holds fast to her Faith in Christ despite all the trials. She was rumored to just throw her apron over her head to form her own little private prayer tent.
She remained faithful as a steward to her children and two of her children would experience a conversion that would bless Christendom to this day. Have you guessed who she is yet?
So be encouraged ladies! Look to Christian examples like Susanna Wesley and keep your eyes on Jesus.
What principles outlined above did Susanna Wesley follow?
- Despite their father’s absence, she made sure her children were provided for the best she knew how. She was a stable influence over them. Mom meant home.
- Through a kindness with strength she cared for her children giving them the ability to trust her. She demonstrated evenness of temper.
- She educated them in the things of Christ so they could establish their worth.
- She provided them with an education that was well-rounded and based on Christ so they could fulfill their purpose and calling in life.
- Though I don’t think it takes 10 children to establish enough work for children to do, I’m sure in the Wesley home she ensured no one was idle! Everyone would’ve had work to do.
- Wisdom and role-models- They didn’t have evening church so she’d have the children sing Psalms and she’d read a sermon of her husband’s. She was a role-model to her children.
Like Susanna, we are called to embrace our Mothering fully. To see it as our highest priority. God has given us the tools to equip us. We only need to put them to use.