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Honoring Your Mother

Leviticus 19:3


    "Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the Lord your God." (NASB) 

 Preaching a Mother's Day sermon is becoming increasingly challenging because of the changing roles of women in our culture.  It used to be that Mothers were the primary care givers for the children and fulfilled all the traditional nurturing roles such as food preparation, caring for the home, and serving as the nurse-maid for the children.  Expectations have changed and so has the roles fathers play in the nurturing/care-giving of the children.  Used to, the Mother's Day sermon was the one time during the year when the faith-community would pause to reflect on all that Mothers do for us and try to show them our appreciation for those things.  Today, in most homes, caring for the family's need's is a cooperative effort.   Mom has her chores, but so do Dad and the kids.  This cultural shift changes the dynamic of what we are doing here today.  Among other things it forces us to go beyond shallow sentimentality or forced appreciation to a deeper reflection on what good mothers do for their children and how children should respond to them. 
 We all know that we are to obey our parents.  Proverbs 1:8 says, "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's teaching;" (NASB) But we are also supposed to show them reverence, as our text today says.  That is what Elisha did in 1 Kings 19:20 when he received the calling to be a prophet.  It says, "And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, ‘Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you.' And he said to him, ‘Go back again, for what have I done to you?'" (NASB) 
 Good mothers are worthy of reverence like Leviticus 19:3 says--or to use a more familiar word, honor--because of the way they believe in their children.  We usually see this scripture in a negative light, but today I want you consider what James' & John's mother was attempting to do it Matthew 20:20-21.  Let's read the scripture: "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him. [21] And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?' She said to Him, ‘Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left.'" (NASB) We usually highlight this scripture to imply that the mother was out of line in making this request of Jesus.  And I suppose we have good reason to do so because Jesus rebuffed her for the request.  But I want to look at this scripture in a positive light, because I believe it reveals a powerful truth about good mothers–they believe in their children.  To this woman, this was a reasonable request because she believed in her sons and probably thought they'd do a great job on the right and left hand of Jesus.
 In her book, Letters to My Daughters, Republican Strategist Mary Matalin captures an universal truth when she writes, "No one else, ever, will think you're great the way your mother does."  (Reader's Digest, May 2004, p. 61) There is a sense of confidence that children derive from their mother's belief in them.
 Personally, I don't know how my mother can believe in me the way she does, especially when I consider that few people know more bad stuff about me than she does.  Yet, she is persistent in her belief that "I can do it." 
 Good mothers do more than just facilitate good self-esteem in their children, they also provide for them. Sometimes it takes creativity, but good mothers find a way to see that their children survive.  Moses' mother exemplified this trait from the very beginning of his life.  She found a way to keep Pharaoh from killing her son and preserved his life.  Let's read Exodus 2:1-10 "Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. [2] And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. [3] But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it, and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. [4] And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him. [5] Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her.  [6] When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews' children.' [7] Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, ‘Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?' [8] And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, ‘Go ahead.' So the girl went and called the child's mother. [9] Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, ‘Take this child away and nurse him for me and I shall give you your wages.' So the woman took the child and nursemaidd him. [10] And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, ‘Because I drew him out of the water.'" (NASB) Not only did she insure he would live, but she was the nurse that her daughter found for Pharaoh's daughter to take care of Moses and to teach him about their faith.  She went to extreme measures to provide for her son.
 Good mothers are worthy of honor for providing for their children.  1 Tim. 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."  (NASB) 
 Rizpah is another mother that valiantly provided for her children.  With King David's blessing, the Gibeonites put to death seven of Saul's sons to "even the score" with what Saul did to them during his reign.  Two of those sons belonged to Rizpah (Ritz-paw).  To bring shame on them and their family, the Gibeonites hung their corpses on display. 2 Samuel 21:10 says, "And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night." (NASB) 
 For five months, Rizpah watched over the bodies of her sons, keeping the birds and beasts away from them until David could retrieve their bodies and give them a decent burial.  (Easton Bible Dictionary) I won't linger over this thought except to say her watch exemplifies a Mother's compulsion to provide for her children.
 Not only do good mothers deserve honor for believing in their children and providing for them, but they also deserve honor for building a heritage for them.  Tonight we will explore this thought further, but for now, let me say that good mothers build a heritage for their children.
 Ezekiel 16:44 says,   "Behold, everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, 'Like mother, like daughter.'" (NASB) Our children are more likely to do what we do than they are to do what we say.  What is really nice is when we do what we say.  Timothy came by his faithful service and sincere faith honestly, it was the same faith that his mother and grandmother had.  2 Tim. 1:5 says, "For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well." (NASB)
 This Mother's Day, I hope you will do more than get nostalgic for your mother because she picked up after you and cooked your meals.  And if you are still living with your Mom, I hope you'll do more than thank her for what she does for you. Your Mother's contribution to your welfare is greater than the sum of all these things.  She is worthy of honor because she is the one that always believes in you.  She is the one that provides for you and she is the one that is building a heritage for you.

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