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Grace Community International
Rev. John S. Mahon  |  Houston, Texas
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In Celebration of Mothers
TUESDAY, MAY 09, 2017
Posted by: Grace Community International | more..
In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day. Now Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than 46 countries throughout the world. Everybody loves Mother’s Day, yet more and more this holiday is being downgraded in the Protestant church here in the US. The reason given is that 1. There are women in the church who are not given children through birth by God; and 2. There are people in the church whose mothers have recently gone to heaven. Neither of these reasons justify the false guilt and lack of recognition given to mothers in the church. They are, instead, excellent teaching points on the sovereignty of God and the glories of heaven.

The command to honor our mothers is given to the Church by God the Holy Spirit and both precedes and transcends any cultural acknowledgement of this responsibility. Here is an example of one of the many passages in Scripture dealing with this…
Proverbs 31:28-29 & 31 “Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.’ Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.”

These passages are accompanied by ones which deal with the failure to honor and bless one’s mother. What follows is but a small sampling…
Proverbs 15:20 But a foolish man despises his mother.
Proverbs 19:26 He who…drives his mother away Is a shameful and disgraceful son.
Proverbs 30:17 The eye that …scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it.

I would like to challenge pastors, teachers and those in positions of responsibility to offer to mothers the celebration of a guilt-free Mother’s Day. There was a time in the Protestant church when this was a norm. Everybody had a “Mother”. Mother’s Day was not only a celebration of being a mother but of having one. This was a time of thankfulness and celebration in honor of mothers and grandmothers. The thought that one might not want to celebrate Mother’s Day because you were not a mother was unheard of. Mother’s Day was not about what you might or might not have been given by God but about the honor, thanks and celebration of God having given you a mother.

When I was a boy, Mother’s Day was a grand celebration. At church, Mothers were given a gift. Men whose mothers were in heaven were given a white carnation to wear. A rousing Mother’s Day sermon was given in praise of motherhood, with teachings from the Holy Scripture on bearing children, raising children and both the honor and responsibility of being a mother. A warning of believing the false teachings of the secularists concerning not having a “quiver full” of children was also given. A time of remembrance was made for all mothers who had gone on before and were now waiting for us in heaven. Words of comfort and encouragement were given those whose mothers were in heaven and they were led into a proper perspective of this temporary separation. For those whom the Lord in His sovereignty had not been given children by birth, teachings were included on adoption and the joys of spiritual children which a personal ministry would supply. The newest mother, the oldest mother, the mother with the most children – these received special recognition.

How things have changed! A campus minister recently told me that he would not be going home for Mother’s Day because his wife was having a hard time conceiving. It would just be too traumatic for her to visit either mother since she herself was not a mother. Again, a fellow minister told me that it was hard for him to celebrate Mother’s Day since his mother was no longer with them (read “in heaven,”) For a woman to deny her mother and mother-in-law the blessing of Mother’s Day because of what God has withheld from her, is simply wrong. To cast a pall over your wife’s and your mother in law’s Mother’s Day because your mother is in the arms of Jesus, the ultimate objective of all Christians, is again wrong. I cringe as I hear from pulpits, “Now we have to be careful this Mother’s Day because it is a time of sorrow not of celebration for many.” This should not be so and pastors and Bible teachers who are committed to helping those in their congregation grow in a Biblical perspective will help those whose mothers are in heaven or who have not been granted children by the Lord to see this in it’s proper perspective.

A Guilt-Free Mother’s Day Part One: Children are “a” gift and not “the” gift
Psalms 127:3 states, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” This is a much abused passage, especially in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements within Christianity. The Scripture clearly teaches that children are a gift from God, but this passage does not say that it is a universal gift, nor the universal reward for faithful service to the Lord. A careful search of Scriptures will reveal many spiritual gifts and many more rewards for faithful service. It is by God’s good will that gifts and rewards are bestowed as He, in His sovereign knowledge, knows best and gives that which is best. The doctrinal reality is that childbirth is one of many blessings that God has bestowed upon mankind, according to His good pleasure, irrespective of faith and conduct. In Genesis 1:27-28, God the Holy Spirit teaches us that “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…’” And again, Genesis 9:1 “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’” Like the sun and the rain (Matthew 5:45) childbirth is a gift which God extends to mankind, not on the basis of faith but according to His divine will. There are those, however, who would make godly servants of our Lord feel a great sense of guilt for not having children. They are told that the reason is that they lack faith. If they only had faith, then they would have a child. This is a cruel teaching. Are we to believe that Muslim women, Hindu women, satanists, prostitutes and drug addicts are women of faith being blessed by God, while this dear servant of the Lord stands wanting? Never!! A woman to whom God has withheld one gift is given another. All women are loved, blessed and precious to our Lord. We may ask for gifts but we should be happy with our father’s wise bestowal. This is an area of Christian growth for all and mothers are no exception.

In the same manner, those women to whom God has given the gift of childbirth need feel no shame or guilt. God has blessed them and all mothers are free to rejoice in this blessing. When you are in church or your Bible study and have been praying for a car, if God blesses you with a car, you need feel no shame or restraint in rejoicing in this blessing. If you have been praying for a job and God blesses you with a job, you need feel no shame nor restraint in openly praising Him and rejoicing in this blessing. In the same way, if you have been praying for a child and God blesses you with a child, you need feel no restraint nor shame in openly praising Him. From Sarah to Rebekah to Hannah to Ruth to Elizabeth to Mary – the Bible is full of the prayers and rejoicing of mothers who have conceived and you, too, may join this host of women in rejoicing in your blessing. In the same way, from Sarah to Rebekah to Hannah to Ruth to Elizabeth to Mary-- the Scriptures give example after example of the congratulations and celebration of friends, family and of God’s people in the blessing of childbirth and motherhood upon women to whom God has bestowed this gift. No church, no Bible study, no fellowship, no family should feel any restraint in openly rejoicing and congratulating mothers for the gift bestowed upon them by God.

A Guilt-Free Mother’s Day Part Two – helping those who are struggling with rejoicing in this blessed celebration
A proper teaching on the doctrine of children, motherhood and the Scriptural precedent of celebrating pregnancy and birth is the first step. Space does not allow for an exhaustive compilation but notice just some of the instances below…
Sarah – Genesis 17:15; 21:1-8;
Ruth – Ruth 4:12 - 15
Elizabeth – Luke 1:24 & 25, 57 & 58
Mary – Luke 1:46 – 56
For a mother to rejoice publicly in her blessing of pregnancy and childbirth is biblical. For those around her to rejoice publicly in her pregnancy and childbirth, is biblical. We do not need to be more conscientious than God. We do not need to be more sensitive than God the Holy Spirit. If God’s Holy Word sanctions this, then we should join in.

The correct response for a child whose brother is being honored at a school or church program is not to respond in jealousy by acting up and taking away from the recognition, it is not to respond in jealousy and demand equal recognition but, instead, it is to rejoice in the sibling’s good fortune. This is true for birthdays, school awards, church programs, recitals, etc. It is the spoiled, selfish child who sulks at their sibling’s good fortune. It is the well-disciplined, well trained, wise child who rejoices in their sibling’s good fortune. This is also true in the family of God, the Church. All Christians should respond with joy in the Father’s blessing of their brother or sister in Christ. To be angry, to be depressed, to not go to church on Mother’s Day because a sister in Christ is being honored and you are not, simply means that you have yet to grow in maturity. Just as parents should not be enablers and devalue the blessing of one child because of the selfishness of another, so pastors should not be enablers, devaluing the blessing of one Christian because of the selfishness of another. As mature Christians, we should all rejoice in God’s blessing of our brother or our sister in Christ, irrespective of God’s decisions concerning ourselves.

I often say that a pastor lives under two burdens. First a couple are in his office week after week. They are bitter at God because their child is not going to heaven. They did everything “right” but their child has yet to come to Christ. Then the blessed day comes--the child repents, the child receives Christ, now the child is going to heaven. Then the child is struck down and dies. Now, week after week, the same couple are in the pastor’s office. They are bitter at God because their child is in heaven. Do you catch the irony of this? The fact is that, whether it is your mother, your child, your brother, sister or friend--if you are going to be bitter because they have died and gone to heaven, then satan has you, the clock is ticking. God the Holy Spirit teaches us in Hebrews 9:27 “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” This is a fact--your mother is going to die and go to heaven. This may cause sadness but not despair. This may cause grief at the temporary separation but not such bitterness that it would keep you from rejoicing in her memory on Mother’s Day. My mother is in heaven. I remember saying to my sister at her funeral, “You know what the unfair thing is, we are sad, she is happy. We want her to come back and she would say, ‘Are you crazy!! I am with Jesus, I am never going back!!!’” We may miss our mothers on Mother’s Day but, if we truly believe, then we are rejoicing in her good fortune and are comforted by the fact that we shall soon be with her for eternity.

This Mother’s Day, do not let others rob you, nor your mother, of her joy, of her Scriptural right and privilege, as being honored for the blessing God bestowed upon her and upon you by having her as your mother.

(Next Blog Posting – Reflection and application “Honoring Our Mothers All Year Long”

Category:  Cameroon - 2016

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