Today, we celebrate Mothers Day 2011. It is a fitting and apt time to pause and recognize our mothers and the mothers among and around us, and say to each of them, “Thank you.” As a man, as a husband and father, it is difficult to imagine how much patience a mother, a wife, must have in order to remain at peace and to trust God’s leadership through her husband in the family order and structure. Yet, many women have developed such genuine faith in God, that they do trust Him in all circumstances, even as we husbands so regularly are imperfect in our decisions and leadership. Husbands, we must smile at God’s grace as, in making His face to shine upon us, He has so often brought our wives, the mothers of our children, to places of deep forgiveness, and quiet agreement with God’s plan for our families, so often a plan we do not know the end of from the beginning. No wonder it is called faith! Mothers, we thank you and collectively celebrate you and your place in the social structure which God has ordained. Thank you, again.
This morning, God wants to remind us of the roles of women in God’s plan for mankind. Scripture shows us that the roles of women are designed in four parts: A woman is created for the roles of (1) companion and helpmate to her husband; (2) as the mother of her husband’s children; (3) sharing in the economic function of the family to be self-sufficient; (4) evangelism and discipleship. Today, we are privileged to share the instruction of Holy Scripture about the mothers who brought us to this day, and those who continue to bear us up in this day.
First, Genesis makes it so clear that God created Eve, He created woman, because He saw that it was not good for man, in his flesh on earth, to be alone. God saw that man needed a helpmate, and so he created Eve. In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge, articulates that Eve, the last of God’s creations, was the beautiful crown of God’s handiwork, actually finishing the very work of the creation of Adam, because Adam was incomplete without Eve, man is incomplete without his wife. Imagine Adam’s delight, when God presented Eve to Adam to be his companion and helpmate, to be his wife and the mother of his children.
In Genesis 2: 18, 21-24, it is written,
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him”. . . . And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept, and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.
In the evaluation of mankind, God saw a need for human, for fleshly, relationships that, in His infinite wisdom, God designed and created women to fulfill. Women are the nerve center, the heart center, the outreach center, of stability in relationships in the family structure and in society. But women are not alone, for they cannot be in a relationship by themselves; men (husbands) are fulfilled and their loneliness resolved in a Godly marriage.
In our society, as true in most of the history of mankind, there is a great tension between God’s plan and the frequent un-Godly plans of mankind. People make choices, and God has so empowered us to make choices, and those choices are often not God’s choices. Popular figures from our culture often say, as it has been reported that the singer Carmen Diaz recently, in her wisdom, proclaimed, that marriage is a dying institution. She argued that marriage gets in the way of people’s lives and happiness, and she is completely wrong. Such women are in rebellion to God’s plan for women and for men.
We also see this tension between God’s plan and the plans of mankind in the sexualism of our culture outside of marriage. As we honor women today, as we honor mothers, we are reminded that God designed and intended sexual conduct to remain within the confines of marriage, and that a marriage, as with Adam and Eve, between a man and a woman.
God’s plan for life clearly mandates, like the old song, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” That is God’s highest and best for each one of us, and for our children. Don’t shortchange yourselves, your children or God. If you have made mistakes, and haven’t done so, repent, change your lifestyle, receive God’s forgiveness and rejoice in your decision to bring the relationship side of your life clearly into God’s plan, never forgetting (Proverbs 14:12) that “[t]here is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Marriage is not a dying institution and it is not in God’s plan that we let it die. So, in your time in life, nourish marriage – both men and women – for it is the wellspring of God’s plan for people’s lives and relationships.
Second, women were created to be the mothers of the children of the world, and that in the context of husband and wife, in a Godly marriage. Women have a unique role, not just in pregnancy and childbirth, but in child rearing and nurturing. To paraphrase God, it is not good for children to be alone, and God’s plan for that loneliness is motherhood. All the celebration of Mother’s Day centers around our appreciation of the fact that our mothers did not leave us alone. They didn’t birth us and leave us, they loved us and nurtured us and fed us and cleaned us, and taught us. The most important summary of what they should teach us, along with our fathers, is found in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Especially since the advent of progressivism and collectivism, after Karl Marx wrote in the 1800’s, our society has torn down the traditional work models of stay-at-home moms, and this has created an especially–difficult set of decisions for parents to make, in the area of child rearing, because, in two-parent working households (and in single-mom and single-dad households), especially with pre-school children, day care or an employee gets substituted for the stay-at-home mom, to care for the children. So, in making these difficult decisions about child- rearing, parents need to re-double their efforts at relationships with their children, relationships born and strengthened by the parents’ service of the children as a love example of what relatioships really are supposed to be. It is necessarily a bit of patchwork, but it can be done, as we have seen. Take care of that next generation, the ones to replace us!
Third, God has ordained that the role of the woman is to be part of the fundamental economic unit of society, the family. This obviously relates to the fact of two-parent working households, and to single-mom, or single-dad households with children, as well. This structure is so well noted in Proverbs 31: 10-31 (Read). The Proverbs 31 wife is virtuous, industrious, hard-working, kind, generous, well-prepared with storehouses of food and warm clothing for her family and others for difficult times, she contributes to the family’s economic self-sufficiency, she is blessed by her children and praised by her husband, and most importantly, she fears the Lord, which is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1: 7). The Proverbs 31 wife is GREAT – every man should have one and should measure up to her GREATNESS!
Fourth, God has a major role for women in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. We considered this role, briefly, above in the discussion of Point Two, concerning children and training them up in the way they should go. God is love; He is a God of relationships, and women are the makers of relationships and the sustainers of them, the makers of family memories and the keepers and sharers of them. Women are the heart of the family. They join with the fathers to be the first line of teaching the next generation, and there is no bigger nor more important service role in life than to teach Jesus Christ to the next generation of children. Evangelism and discipleship truly begin at home. The mandate of Matthew 28: 18-20 begins in the family home, in the family’s hometown. We see witness to this in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, II Timothy 1: 5, “. . . I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” Those women taught genuine faith in Jesus Christ to the next generation in their household.
But this role of evangelism and discipleship for women goes elsewhere, too. In Titus 1 and 2, Paul, writing to Titus exhorts and encourages Titus in a way that he would teach the older women how to live their lives and to influence and teach younger women. Follow with me in Titus 2: 1-5 (Read). Paul is setting the Christian “normal life” for women, to be taught by the older women to the younger woman – daughters of the flesh and daughters in the Spirit – 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.
I am thankful that my wife is a woman of God and that she is committed to our family on a Godly, Christian foundation. I say “thank you” again to all the mothers here today, and to all of our mothers (alive and gone). Thank you all for your roles in God’s plan for society, for being helpmates and companions to your husbands, for being so much the heart of the family in child rearing – to train up the next generation, for being part of the economic self-sufficiency of the family, for teaching other women, both daughters and sisters, in God’s standards and expectations of women and their role in establishing marriages and families in Godly order, and keeping them that way.
In closing, Lord, we bless each mother here today, each woman not yet a mother, and we ask you to seal in their spirits the deposit of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and fear of you O’ God, and we ask you to grant them knowledge, understanding, discernment and wisdom in their lives as the crown of your creation as wives and mothers. Hallelujah! Lord, we praise your name. Amen.