MSG: Mothers Predict the Future

This message was delivered May 12, 2013 on Mother’s Day.  There were seven child dedications and two baptisms.

Mothers Predict the Future
2 Timothy 1:3-5
Happy Mothers’ Day! Every one of us had a mother and a father, for there is no other combination that produces children. Let me make several statements:
A teacher asked a boy this question: “Suppose your mother baked an apple pie and there were seven of you–your parents and five children. What part of the pie would you get?” “A sixth,” replied the boy. “I’m afraid you don’t know your fractions,” said the teacher. “Remember, there are seven of you.” “Yes, teacher,” said the boy, “But you don’t know my mother. Mother would say she didn’t want any pie.” 
The mother of three notoriously unruly youngsters was asked whether or not she’d have children if she had it to do over again. “Yes,” she replied. “But not the same ones.”
·         Of all the gifts of life, a loving mother is one of the greatest.
·         A mother’s heart is always with her children.
·         Being a mother means your heart is no longer yours, it wanders wherever your children are.
These all lift the status of motherhood where it should be. Yet, I’m reminded not to become too sentimental about motherhood, because of a number of reasons:
·         for some, motherhood was unplanned, and not always welcome;
·         for some, biological motherhood is not possible;
·         for some, your mother wasn’t all that nice and you have bad memories of her;
·         for some, your mother may have passed away before you could remember her;
·         for some, you may be a mother and your children never contact you;
·         and for some, motherhood may be very difficult, especially for single moms.
What if you are a single mom?  You can make it alone, but it’s difficult and churches should rally men to come alongside and help single moms.  Men, we need to figure out how to help single moms, regardless of the reasons why she is single. They need our help. Billy Graham tells the story of a widow who recognized some special abilities in her son and she did everything in her power to give him the best education possible. She grew vegetables, kept chickens, took in washing etc and sent her son to the university. With his graduation day pending, the son gave his mother the invitation to attend. The mother’s response was typical but true, “I cannot go, I have nothing to wear.” But the son insisted and finally took her to the ceremony in her plain cotton dress. The son tried to have her sit with his classmate’s wealthy parents but on this point she won and she sat on the far left where she could still get a view. The son delivered his message and received his piece of paper and his medal. With the sound of the exploding applause he went straight over to his mother and pinned the medal on her, saying ‘Mother this belongs to you. You earned it’. 

I say, “Motherhood is a career no man can ever achieve.”
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson (the American essayist) who said, “People are what their mothers make them.” I say, “Mothers predict the future, for mothers begin the discipleship of future leaders.” 
There are great women in the Bible:  Miriam who led Israel in praising God after crossing the Red Sea (Ex 15:21), Ruth who put God first and became the ancestress of King David (Ruth 1:16; 4:17), Deborah, who was a judge in Israel (Judges 5), Hannah who gave her son Samuel to the Lord, Samuel was judge and prophet in Israel (1 Sam. 1:28), Esther who risked her life to plead for her doomed people (Est. 5-7), the widow whose obedience sustained the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:9-16), a little captive maid who told Naaman’s wife about the man of God who could cure Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:2-4), the woman who anointed Jesus with the expensive ointment (Mark14:3), the poor widow’s gift of two mites which brought Jesus’ praise (Mark 12:43), Mary who gave birth to the humanity of Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Luke 1:28), Martha who served and Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42), Mary Magdalene who brought expensive oil to anoint Jesus, who first greeted the risen Lord and who received the first commission -’Go tell’ (John 20:17-18; Mk 16:9). There was Lydia one of the first converts in Macedonia (Acts 16:14), Dorcas – full of good works (Acts 9:36), Phoebe & Priscilla – servants of the church (Rom. 16:1-4), Lois and Eunice who had genuine faith (2 Tim 1:5), Persis ‘the beloved’ and Tryphena and Tryphosa who labored for the Lord (Romans 16:12). All great women of faith!
Being a great mother requires great ability. A mother is a teacher, a nurse, a care-giver, a cook, a driver, an entertainment officer, a cleaner, an exercise coach, a counselor, a career advisor, a wardrobe lady, a relationship adviser, a health and safety officer, a play leader and a motivational coach. What would that cost in job benefits?  More than what I make.  
Let’s be quick to acknowledge that Jesus lifted women to equality with men. In many parts of the world women are still considered property, almost a beast of burden. The apostle Paul said that in Christ there is neither male nor female, yet, there are differing roles. What are the roles of women and men? As I address this message, I will not be saying women shouldn’t be in the workforce; many do not have a choice.  Why are mothers important? 
1)      Mothers establish the spiritual groundwork for children to grow 2 Tim. 1:3-5
 
In 1963 Betty Friedan wrote a book called ‘The Feminine Mystique’ in which she claimed that women felt trapped in an unwanted domestic life. She was asked to interview her Smith College classmates, who were unsatisfied as housewives and mothers. She wrote that most women don’t really want to stay at home. Three years later she founded The National Organization for Women, a radical political organization designed to promote radical feminism, which assaults women who make motherhood a priority. The structure of our society is such that the woman who has worth and value is the one who runs a business, serves in a political office or is the nightly telivision news anchor. It’s not for me to say women shouldn’t do these things, but are we saying that those making widgets or leading a company are even close to the kingdom impact of raising godly children? These children could change the world for Christ if discipled by loving, faithful mothers!
Most young mothers, I’m sure, have read the articles about mother-baby-bonding.  I hadn’t, and they are too numerous to mention.  What I read was how vital it is for the stability of any child. Mother-baby-bonding has far greater importance than a father’s input at that time.  Father’s are important, especially later in life for affirming a son’s manhood and declaring to his daughter her inner beauty and capability.
Mothers, do you know why you are so tired when you have children at home?  If you depend on yourself, you’ll do well, but wear down.  If you are independent of the Lord, you’ll miss out on the filling of the Spirit and lack the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) of love, joy, peace, patience, etc.  Without that spiritual lift you’ll run down much quicker. You were designed to run by the power of the Holy Spirit, not your own. There are no perfect mothers, no perfect fathers, no perfect children, but God at the helm of our lives will guide us all.
We first meet Timothy in Acts 16:1-2 as Paul begins his second missionary journey.
Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
 2 He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. (Acts 16:1-2)
Timothy is mentioned in 12 New Testament books.  He connected with Paul as a disciple, was equipped by Paul to disciple others and in 2 Timothy, likely the last New Testament letter Paul wrote, he was ready to multiply into future generations.  How did that happen?  
We don’t know very much about Timothy’s parents, except that his mother was Jewish, and his father was Greek. Many believe that his father was either dead, or had left his mother, which is why they were living with his grandmother. And as little as we know about his parents, we know even less about his grandmother Lois except that she had a “genuine faith.” Lois taught her daughter Eunice well and she also taught her grandson Timothy. That’s all we know about her.
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,
 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,
 5 when 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.(2 Tim. 1:3-5)
Paul shows great love for Timothy in prayer with his strong desire to encourage Timothy as a struggling pastor.  An interesting word is the word “genuine.”  It is anupokritosin the Greek and means “not hypocritical,” that is “simple,” or “devoted” faith. Timothy was not a master orator or leader, but he had a simple and pure faith.  It was in Lois and Eunice and they passed it on to Timothy.  Never forget where your faith came from and never hold onto it for yourself.  Always look for opportunities to share it with others.
 
2)      Mothers help determine the future by how their children continue in God’s word 2 Tim. 3:14-15
This portion was provided by Joshua Georgen who is a dedicated disciple and excellent communicator.  He is the husband and father of a wonderful wife and five children.
Background for 2 Timothy 3:14-15
  • Men and women will become increasingly evil (2 Tim 3:1-9)
  • 3:10  Paul—“you’ve known my life and sufferings” at the hands of such people
  • 3:12 “All (including you, Timothy) that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution…”
  • 3:13— The world’s sinful condition will worsen.
The Charge to Timothy
  • 2 Timothy 3:14a “But continue thou…”
    • Similar to Philippians 2:15 “Children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world.”
    • “Continue” — Greek “meno” meaning to stay
    • Paul encourages Timothy to stay where he is…but where is that?
Continue in What?
·         2 Timothy 3:14b “…in the things which thou has learned and been assured of…
o   Refers to knowledge gained from “study and observation”
§  Direct Application:  there is a need to teach children the Word.
§  Indirect Application:  children are constantly in a state of study and observation of their parents (whether we like it or not)— e.g. “knowledge that is caught rather than taught”
Continue for What Reasons?
·         Examples Set for You
2 Timothy 3:14c “…knowing from whomyou have learned them.”
o   Paul encourages Timothy to think about the lives of those who have taught him the Word.  This would include Paul, but certainly also includes Timothy’s mother and grandmother, mentioned earlier in the letter. 
o   The problem:  Children are very sensitive to authenticity in parents—does someone’s preaching match his practice?
o   Especially on days like Mother’s Day, we sometimes become very sensitive to just how “inauthentic” our Christian walk can be, and how this impacts our children.
o   Rejoice in God’s great grace for us and depend on it as you pray for your children.
·         Scripture Taught to You
2 Timothy 3:15  “…and that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
o   The focus of parenting
§  All you teach your child matters greatly BUT…
§  It matters very little in comparison to teaching them the truth of the Bible.
o   The best of parents still teach sinful tendencies to their children.
o   Only the Word is strong enough to combat those.
Thanks Josh!
 
I concluded the message with the following:
There are many instances in the Bible where we see the results of faithful teaching without knowing from where it came. For instance, when Nehemiah kneeled before King Artaxerxes and requested permission to return to Jerusalem, we only read that Artaxerxes grantied it with very little questioning. And not only that, but Artaxerxes sends him with enough provisions to rebuild the city walls. Why did he do that? Was he a philanthropist? Was it God’s prompting?  Most likely God worked through someone. You see, King Artaxerxes’ step-mother was Queen Esther. Remember the story of Esther, and this passage from the book of Esther? “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14) I believe she was there for more than one reason. She was there to teach the young king. The Bible admonishes us to teach the scriptures to our children and grandchildren. But of course, not everyone does.
Another interesting thing about Old Testament mothers is to read through the books of Kings and Chronicles and see how many times a king’s mother is mentioned. Some of the very good kings had mothers who were daughters of priests. In these cases, even though the king’s father may have been an evil king, his mother had great influence on the son and he became a godly king. Funny how much influence these mothers had on the kingship and nation of Judah.
Timothy was taught the scriptures from childhood. Timothy was fortunate; he was well-grounded in the faith. I am fortunate also, my mother’s faith was passed to me.
Here is a Mother’s Day Creed and maybe it will have special meaning to you as a result of this message:
 
A MOTHERS’ DAY CREED
I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.
I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance
in the lives of the children they bear.
It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and
more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside.
It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables
the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.
I believe that this love, even at its best, is only
the shadow love of God, a dark reflection of all that we expect
of Him in this life and the next.
And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights
in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through
her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her
touch and the tears of her joy.
Thank God for mothers, and thank mothers for helping
us understand God!
Mothers predict the future in discipling children to Jesus!
 
Message Based Discussion Questions
1)      What is your earliest recollection of your mother or the woman who raised you?
Digging Deeper:
2)      Read Luke 2:40-51. As Jesus was growing up, who had a deep love for Jesus? ___________________ What do you learn about mothers from this passage?
3)      Who was Samuel’s mother (cf. 1 Sam. 1:2-28 [it’s lengthy, but take the time to read the entire passage]) __________________  Upon  whom was she dependent? How did she respond to the answer she received? What were the consequences of her obedience?
4)      Note Proverbs 31:10-31. Who is the subject of this passage? ________________ What are some of the good qualities of this person?  Why are some people troubled by this passage?
Making application from the message:
5)      How well are mothers fulfilling their role of training up children to take their position as spiritual leaders in the world? What evidence influences your thinking?
6)      What are three things you could do for young moms at church to determine its future?  In other words, how can you help young moms raise their children, so the children become spiritually strong and effective in building God’s kingdom?
7)      Make a list of 31 things your wife/mother does for you and the family. Make a point of thanking her specifically for one on each day of the coming month. On each day of the following month pay her a new compliment on one of her good attitudes, character qualities, habits or talents. Be prepared for a better relationship than you’ve enjoyed in quite a while!
 
 And just for a little humor, if you are a mother who faces the criticism from the elites, you could respond this way regarding what you are doing as a mother: 
Not everyone is as bold as the university professor’s wife who replied to such a question from an academic: ‘I am socialising two homo sapiens in the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they may be instruments for the transformation of the social order in the teleologically prescribed utopia, inherent in the eschaton’. That will end any intimidation.
 
 

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