Last Sunday we looked at the first four of the mothers listed in our outline. We looked at Eve, THE PRODUCTIVE MOTHER (Genesis 3:20), Rebekah, THE ASSERTIVE MOTHER (Genesis 27), Jochebed, THE PROTECTIVE MOTHER (Exodus 2:1-4), and Hannah, THE IMPRESSIVE MOTHER (1 Samuel 1:10-11, 24-28). Let’s pick up right where we left off with number 5. THE INFECTIVE MOTHER.
5. THE INFECTIVE MOTHER: Zarephath Widow, 1 Kings 17
This is a single mother. We can’t talk about mothers without paying tribute to single mums. And this single mum, a widow remains nameless and interestingly, she was no stranger to death. She had seen her husband die. And now she was watching everything around her die: the withering grass, the trees shedding their leaves, the skeletal and gaunt farm animals slowly dying all around her; now, she was preparing for her and her son to die after their last meal. You know, you look at this and it seems like there is no meaning to life. But it is so far from the truth! Like many mothers do today, this widow of Zarephath struggled; she struggled very hard. She struggled to get food to put on the table. What is harder than that? Her situation is infective. It is capable of producing infection. In fact it affects us. Aren’t we all worried when we don’t have a pay cheque? It doesn’t matter whether a single mum or you are in a family facing economic hardship, we are all worried about not having enough food. That’s the bottom line. Then we think of shelter, clothing. Without food, we are wasted. And like us today, this nameless single mum of Zarephath worried about the lack of food for her and her child. And on top of it, God tells her to give away what little she had to someone else. Whew! Talk about faith on trial! This is not something that we will think or even consider doing. Share or give away my last resource? After all, we live in a very individualistic society and further, we know how we need to conserve and save for bad times. Bad times never cease. From the dawn of time, since Eve, every person has faced bad times. Everyone! But to give our last dime to somebody? Our last pizza slice to someone else? Ludicrous! But that is exactly what the widow did. Her response to Elijah is infectious. It teaches us faith.
It’s in the giving that we receive, in the trusting that provision transpires. In the faith that we are strong. This single mum is telling us that we should trust God as our Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider. It may look like death is all around you but trusting God, the Giver of life, is the wisest thing you can do. This nameless, unknown woman’s faith is infectious and we should catch it.
6. THE INSTRUCTIVE MOTHER: Eunice (and grandma Lois), 2 Timothy 1:1-5
The Apostle Paul loved Timothy as if he were his own son. Timothy, along with his mother and grandmother, were Jewish believers who had accepted Christ as their Saviour and Lord. The faith that was in Timothy was first in his grandmother and also in his mother who had received it from her mum. Both grandma Lois and mum Eunice believed in the early training of their children: Lois trained Eunice and Eunice in turn trained her son Timothy. They were both examples of faith to Timmy. They taught him the scripture. We can be sure their children knew very well the stories of the Old Testament. Mothers and (grandmothers), I have this question for you: How much time do you spend talking to your children and grandchildren about the Lord? About the Scripture? About Jesus coming back again, real soon? Undoubtedly, Lois and Eunice had deeply steeped Timothy in the knowledge of the Word. Your children should first hear about God from you. Teach them the songs about Jesus. In fact, they should be singing about Jesus first before they sing about Barney. Teach them the story about Jesus. Get them into church. Share in their Sunday School lessons.
You know, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear Lois and Eunice repeating some of Bible verses to each other, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Or, “She that bare thee shall rejoice.” Another might have been, “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths” (Proverbs 4:11). And look at this; Timothy was only about fifteen when he left Lois and Eunice to go with Paul and Silas to preach the gospel. His mum and grandma taught him the value and importance of hard work and we can only imagine the pride coupled with sadness that they experienced as they went to see him off to say their goodbyes when he was about to go and do the Lord’s work with Paul and Silas in foreign missions; for sure, it was going to be harsh and difficult. Amazing!
7. THE SUPPORTIVE MOTHER: Mary, John19:25a
Mary seems to be the most honoured mother in the Bible. After all, she was the human mother of Jesus. She supported Jesus throughout His entire life, from manger, to stranger, through danger to His ascension. She never doubted her Son for a moment. Ever loyal, ever supportive. Check her out at Calvary. There standing by the cross of Jesus is Mary, His mother. She was supportive of her Son all the way till His death. We know mothers have this wonderful ability that no matter what children do, no matter what they go through, they are supportive of their children. Mary didn’t give up even when her Son was being demonized by the religious leaders. Mums shouldn’t give up. This of course does not mean that you should condone or approve of your child’s sin or ungodly behaviour. We are aware of many mums who have blindly supported their children, even when these children are doing evil. You may love your children but it doesn’t mean that others love them; at least not the way you love them.
Many of us have mums that could have given up on us; but they hung in there, being very loyal as well as supportive of us. Mary is the epitome of never giving up and she was very supportive of her Son. Today, she stands as highly favoured by God, a mother who loved her Son so much. She is a shining example of obedience and submission to the Father’s will. She loved and supported her Son so much that when He grew up, He said of children,Matthew 18:3, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
These moms in the Bible reveal to us that a mother’s love, mother-love is fierce and stubborn to a fault and even wrong-headed sometimes.
As I end, you can tell I didn’t talk about Ruth or Naomi or Rahab the Gentile prostitute (the mother of Boaz, grandmother of Jesse, great-grandmother of king David and who’s famous descendant is Jesus); I didn’t talk about the mother of James and John (Zebedee) who wanted more than anything else that her sons be as close to Jesus as they could possibly get. So Jesus asked her, Matthew 20:21, And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. While these are simply a few of the mothers of the Bible, I would say that a great cumulative lesson that we can learn is that the responsibilities of motherhood are great, but the rewards in waiting on the Lord are even greater.
Shall we pray.