By John J. Blanchard
May 11, 2013
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May and has been designated as such since 1914 by law. Actually the practice itself goes back a few hundred years, but it was not until 1914 when a law was made that we would observe Mother’s Day in the United States. Up to that time there had been various movements here and there across the country to get it started, and they would peter out until finally Woodrow Wilson signed it into law in 1914.
Obviously mothers have been around prior to 1914, so I want to start with our first Scripture in Genesis chapter 2 where we will begin to read in verse 21: “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 become one flesh.”
God created women, and He created women with the capacity to bear children. That is a very, very special gift to women. It is an important part of God’s plan. Sometimes we focus on these Scriptures and say, Adam was lonely. That’s true. If you back up to verse 18 of Genesis 2 we are told: And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’”
We can see that it would have been lonely. He had been given all these animals to name, but he was still without a companion. But when God created woman, He did several things. First of all He created a companion, as we just read, so that Adam would not be alone. But we are also told in verse 18 that He created a helper—a “helpmeet” in the King James Version, someone to live and work with side by side, a partner in life. He also and most importantly created a life-giver because Adam would need a family in order to grow, and God would need a family in order to have a human race to increase His family, which is ultimately God’s plan. His plan is to increase His family.
Go back to Genesis 3:20 where we are told “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
Eve essentially means that: the mother of all living. That is chavvah (#2332, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) in the Hebrew which means life-giver.
Next to Adam, God actually created a life-giver. Adam could not continue life on his own. He had to have a woman, and the two had to come together to be one flesh. They had to come together intimately in order to have children and keep the human race growing, thus eventually giving God a family. That is life itself. It means physical life ultimately leading to spiritual life. All of this is because of woman. It is a tremendous gift to women and a tremendous responsibility to both men and women to do it right. We are talking about eternal life here. This was physical life to start with, but we must have the physical before we have spiritual life.
Turn now to the Book of Romans chapter 8. We will see that God is creating a family. Romans 8, verse 12: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
We see this wonderful plan of God to actually have children, but it can’t be done without women. It cannot be done without mothers, so when we have a day such as Mother’s Day, it is a wonderful opportunity every year to recognize the mothers among us. They are the women who have been given the responsibility and the opportunity by God to bear young. Ultimately, God can have children come into his family through the blessing of the word and through the begettal of the Holy Spirit. Eventually this leads to eternal life, which we see spoken of in I Corinthians chapter 15.
If you would, turn to I Corinthians chapter 15. It is sometimes called the Resurrection Chapter. We will read a few Scriptures in I Corinthians 15, starting in verse 20: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
This marvelous plan that gives all mankind an opportunity at eternal life depends on women and motherhood! It is a marvelous concept. It is a very deep spiritual concept. We have talked about it a couple of times during sermons. We talked about the divine institution of marriage. We had a sermon recently defining marriage (sermon “Defining Marriage” done on 4/20/13), and it is definitely one of the most important parts of God’s plan. As a matter of fact, without women and without motherhood, God’s plan really would be stopped dead in its tracks as far as having a larger family.
Continuing in I Corinthians 15, we want to drop down to verse 47: “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”
It starts physically which means actually with physical conception between a man and a woman and then that mother who is so critical to nursing and rearing the child. This is helping us with the furtherance of the plan of God, so it is that important. Motherhood is crucial to everything that God is trying to accomplish.
Why is motherhood looked down on today in so many circles? It makes no sense at all to denigrate motherhood or to look at it as some sort of lesser role for women to play in society. It is the most important role that a woman can engage in other than being the wife herself. There are women who have no children, but they have their husband that they are to care for and to be the soul mate with. But once a child enters the picture, that becomes like the consummate job of the woman to provide for that child and to make it possible in the first place to even have that child. Remember Eve’s name is life-giver.
A MOTHER’S VALUE
It is interesting that every year if you follow the news you will hear what a mother is worth or what a wife is worth. Recently they said a woman’s worth has dropped a little bit because of the cost of inflation. It was $60,000 a year last year, and this year it is $59,700 or $59,800. That’s the value of a wife and a mother. They take into account the price of the babysitter and preparing food and all this stuff. That is ridiculous! A mother is priceless. My mother was priceless. I couldn’t possibly put a figure on what my mother was worth. The things that a mother provides are far beyond clean clothes, good food, and nursing when you are little. It is far beyond that.
A mother instills the ability of love and compassion more so than the father. The mother is around the child day in and day out, or she should be at least until the age when that child can be off to school. Ideally the mother should be rearing that child and helping the father make a better society through the family. That is an important job. So many circles of people today think increase in material possessions is really more important. Making money and having a big job is more important for women. Having that high-powered career is more important. That does not make any sense at all. How do you say that something is more important than rearing the next generation of human beings? There is no more important job. You cannot equate it with any kind of price tag.
A woman does many things in her life. It can involve a career. It can involve material possessions, of course, but the central focus once a child comes into their life is to make sure that child is properly raised. Get it on its own two feet. Have that child learn love, compassion, and hard work. Once that job is securely done, a lot of other things can be engaged in. If you can handle a career that doesn’t interfere with raising children then great. But if it comes to a choice between the two, you need to pick one or the other. The children will be harmed if they don’t have the attention of a mother.
It is, of course, best to be a wife before you are mother, but sometimes that’s not the case. No matter what, we all have a mother. Every mother should be honored and respected. A good wife and mother should be absolutely cherished.
Briefly I just want to talk about some of the negatives in our society. I don’t want to dwell on that the day before Mother’s Day. Our society has somehow polarized the concept of motherhood and women in general and the roles that would be best for them to play in life and in society. On the one hand, motherhood and being a woman has been hardened and cheapened. It has literally been cheapened in modern society. On the other hand, women are treated as second class.
HARDENING AND CHEAPENING WOMEN
I want to focus on this first idea that motherhood and being a woman somehow has been cheapened and hardened. I put it this way. To be a woman has been cheapened in our society through styles, through music, through entertainment, and through anything that has made women appear as sexual objects and things to be used. That is not the role God ever intended if you go back to Genesis, like we just did. That is not a partner and a companion to go through life with. That does not connote life-giver and the rearing of children. That has cheapened the role of women in modern society and motherhood also.
There is another side to that where womanhood and motherhood has been hardened. If you have noticed on the news like I have in the last few years, there are mothers serving in the military overseas with children back home. Sometimes they are reared by the single father or some other family member while the mother is off fighting. There is something so anti-life about that. It seems incongruous that we could have allowed such a situation in our country to lower the value of women and children to that of a military combat person. But that has happened. That is one of the ways motherhood and women have been hardened in the view of society.
We also, as I mentioned earlier, have pushed careers on women. To appear successful you must have the clothes, the car, and the job, and that is so untrue. A good mother is the best success we can have as a nation and as a family. That is true success. Yet so many women are focused on breaking the glass ceiling.
These attitudes on the one hand have cheapened what it is to be a woman and a mother. It also hardened this idea of instead of being a compassionate life-giver it is more a competitor and hard-nosed individual. In some cases, it is even a person who does the fighting for the nation! It’s all messed up!
TREATED AS SECOND CLASS
The second thing that has happened in society I would like to lay at the feet, so to speak, of conservative Christians. There are societies in the world that really are unfair to women. I am not talking about that. We know that is wrong. But in our own society even in conservative Christian circles sometimes women are mistreated and taken for granted. They are even oppressed and condescendingly spoken to as a second class citizen. I have seen too many cases when I have traveled around the country and have talked with various couples, parents, and mothers where the mothers and wives are often overly controlled it seems in a Christian household. You will do what you are told, keep your mouth shut, be seen and not heard, so to speak, and walk behind the man. That is not what God ever intended.
A companion, soul mate, and a person to go through life with is somebody you walk with side by side. They are every bit as valuable as the man, and there is no indication that they are less intelligent. I have known some women who would put me to shame and most men to shame in their ability to do intellectual endeavors. It is just one of these things where sometimes it almost appears Christian to make women a second class member of society. That is not what Christ ever intended. We are going to look at a few Scriptures on that.
There is one verse that is constantly misconstrued. Let’s go to I Peter chapter 3, starting in verse 1: “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
People misuse this Scripture. Be submissive to your husband, they take to mean if the husband says, jump, they are supposed to say, how high? It is ridiculous. There is the idea of obedience, and serving your husband is there. Yes, Adam was created first. Yes, Adam is the head of the family, and men are supposed to be the head of the family, but you need to read this whole set of Scriptures to grasp what we are being told here.
Continuing in I Peter 3, verse 3: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
A meek, humble, and compassionate woman is precious in the sight of God. It is not somebody who has been pushed down into some subservient role and forced to be submissive. That’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about a willingness to be kind and gentle toward the husband and to help him in life to support the family. It is very difficult to be a bread winner.
Dropping down to verse 5 of I Peter 3: “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”
In other words, there should be no terror involved here. There should be no harsh chastisement or no looking down on the woman. It is a situation where the man has been given the role as head of the household, but if you follow in verse 7, it tempers this whole thing.
Verse 7: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
The opportunity at eternal life is equal for men and for women, and God has devised a family. We could go back and read Ephesians 5, which we do often. This marriage relationship is a great mystery. We just covered that recently in the sermon “Defining Marriage.” We covered the fact that the family is a tremendous concept. The man is supposed to be acting like Jesus Christ to the bride. If you think of your own situation in relation to Jesus Christ, we don’t want Him beating up on us every time we do something wrong or tell us to “shut up” when we are praying. We don’t want to be treated like second class citizens. We like to go to Jesus Christ and boldly say, forgive me for my sins. Take my prayers and my supplications to the Father. You are my advocate. You are my husband. You are my guardian. You are my protector because we are weaker than He is. That is the situation in the home. The woman is physically weaker, not mentally or spiritually but physically. That gives the husband a responsibility to care for his wife, and that is why we are told this in verse 7 of I Peter 3, likewise, dwell with understanding, giving honor. We give honor to the wife. When you read the whole context here, you see this idea of holding women down is definitely wrong.
HER OWN PERSON
Now I want to read Proverbs 31 about the Proverbs 31 wife and mother. You will see just how much latitude the husband is supposed to allow the wife to have. She is to be her own person. It is her salvation that she must work out with God, and the husband can’t do that for her. There are limitations here. A marriage and family relationship is just that, it’s a relationship. It must be done well and done with balance. That’s what I would like to emphasize. We need to balance the roles and honor mothers and honor our wives. If we don’t, we were just told we are in danger of not having our prayers heard. Who wants their prayers not to be heard? That’s what it said in I Peter chapter 3.
Let’s start in verse 10 of Proverbs 31: “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”
How can you say a woman is worth $60,000 a year? That is ridiculous! It is far beyond any value that we can place physically on a person. That is how important motherhood and wives are.
Verse 12 of Proverbs 31: “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
That’s what it means to be submissive. You are doing good for your husband. It is not that you are jumping every time he tells you to jump. You are helping him in every way that you can. That’s the idea of a helpmeet.
Verse 13: “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.”
I would like to focus on that for a minute. It is brought up a little later where she buys a field, and we will talk about that. I have seen too many marriages where the husband is in control of all the resources—all the money. That’s not right either. That woman needs the flexibility to go out and spend money in the way she sees fit for the family. It is not a question of the man holding everything or forcing the wife out to try to make a few dollars on her own. He is supposed to share his blessings with her, so that she can take care of the children and the family as she sees fit.
Verse 15: “She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.”
It shows you to what extent the woman is supposed to be able to have some of her own resources. You are talking about a virtuous wife here who actually goes out, buys a field, and plants a garden, and makes a profit. Think about that for a minute. I have seen too many families where the husband wants to take it all to himself and makes all the financial decisions. He tells the woman just keep your mouth shut, and let me do what I want to do. That’s not right. That’s not honoring your wife.
Verse 17: “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.”
That’s what good mothers do. They are working night and day to keep that family clothed, fed, warm, and comfortable.
Verse 19: “She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.”
I think this is something that women tend to notice more often than men. They notice people in need. It is part of that motherly instinct. They want to help take care of those in need.
Verse 21: “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.”
Here is another little business for this particular virtuous woman who is talked about here. In other words, they are industrious. Today that could be a little Internet job. I know some mothers who sell things on the Internet. We have members in our Church congregation here who take in work and do seamstress work. They have a little side business as well as taking care of their children. More power to them!
Verse 25: “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
I have seen over and over that the wisdom of a woman tempered with their marvelous compassion—this motherly instinct—can really help a man with his temper and with his relationships with other people. On and on it goes. The woman has this compassionate side that takes into account other people’s feelings, where men sometimes run roughshod over other people. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and men tend to realize they have to go out and compete to earn money. It is the woman who says, wait a minute. We have to be concerned about so and so’s feelings or so and so’s needs. It is a natural instinct in a mother and in a wife.
Verse 27: “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…”
That is what we are doing on Mother’s Day tomorrow. We are blessing our mothers. We are thanking them for what they have done for us. I don’t have my mother. If your mother is still alive, take the opportunity to honor her. If there are any mothers near you in your life, tell them what a marvelous thing it is to be a good mother. Encourage them because there are so many people attacking the whole idea of motherhood and how to be a wife. It is hard in our society.
Continuing in verse 29 of Proverbs 31: “‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
With that I am concluding the Scriptural portion, but you can see where wives and mothers are praised in the gates for their hard work all their life for taking care of their family. That’s what Jesus Christ is using the Church for as His bride. It says, it is the mother of us all in Galatians 4. The Church is the mother of all those who are coming into the Church and being begotten of the Holy Spirit. We share that Holy Spirit with them, and we teach them compassion, kindness, and forgiveness like a mother does her children. That is the point of the Church.
Within the Church there should be a tremendous sense of honor toward the wife and a mother and a tremendous sense of appreciation for all that they do. It is a fact that the human race would quickly peter out if there was no such thing as motherhood. It is the co-work of Adam that God created Eve. It is someone that God created that is in woman to go through life with side by side and not one always in the front and the other always trailing behind. It should be side by side going through life’s problems, and that’s why in marriage we say till death do us part, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. We are there for each other.
A lot of strong men have found themselves at some point in their life pretty sick, pretty weak, and in desperate need of the help of their helpmeet—their wife. Keep that in mind you guys who are strong, powerful, young and making money. Don’t mistreat your wife. Some day she may be the very staff you lean on in your old age. I have seen it happen over and over.
You children who still have your mothers, know how much your mother is doing for you. Some of you are too young to recognize that and too young to know how much your mother is doing for you, but as you get older, you will realize how much work and effort went into making who you are.
Remember your mom for the rest of your life. Cherish her, and you will be blessed. That’s in the commandments. Honor your father and your mother, and you will be blessed.