A Mother's Mission
This morning we come to worship the Lord by honoring our mothers. To help us do that, I want to talk to you for a few minutes about a Mother’s Mission.
When I was a kid there was a program on TV called “Mission: Impossible.” It was one of those cool spy shows with cool music and cool gadgets. Every episode started the same way: someone receiving a taped message describing a mission that seemed impossible. But by the end of the show, the spies had accomplished this impossible mission.
This kind of reminds of me of the mission of a mom.
A teacher asked her class what each wanted to become when they grew up. "President." "A fireman." "A teacher." One by one they answered until Billy's turn. The teacher asked, "Billy, what do you want to be when you grow up?" "Possible," Billy responded. "Possible?" asked the teacher. "Yes," Billy said, "my mom is always telling me I'm impossible. When I grow up I want to become possible."[i]
Some of you moms have/had kids like Billy, who seem impossible, but you still love them anyway. Being a mom sometimes involves dealing with impossible kids or eve impossible husbands.
I want us to look a little closer this morning at a mom with a sure-enough impossible mission. Yet as impossible as it may seem, her mission mirrors the mission God has given to all moms. We read how she receives her mission in Luke 1:26-33.
This mom’s impossible mission isn’t recorded on tape. God sends the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to a young virgin named Mary who is betrothed, but not yet married, to a gentleman named Joseph. The Bible doesn’t say how this angel appears: whether he just pops out of thin air, or walks through the front door. Vs. 29 does tell us when Mary sees him she is both troubled (=greatly agitated) and thoughtful. Who is this man? How does he know me? What does he mean, blessed are you among women…(v.28)? She’s frightened and confused and amazed all at the same time. Gabriel tries to ease her mind by explaining her mission in vs. 30-33: you will be the mother of the Messiah.
This is a mission every Jewish girl dreams of fulfilling. Mary, your dream is about to come true. God has given you this mission to be the mother of His Son.
But Mary is still a little confused about one detail: how can I become a mother when I am still a virgin? That could be a problem, couldn’t it? Not for God Gabriel says God can do anything. God Himself will perform this miraculous conception.
What now Mary? God gives you your mission to be a mom. Will you accept this mission--or will you walk away? She answers in vs. 38. I am the Lord’s maidservant. I accept my mission to be a mother for the Lord.
Just as Mary accepted her mission to be a mom, so God calls you to accept your mission to be a mom.
I think it’s safe to say none of you mothers here this morning were visited by angels before your children were born. Since there was only one Savior, none of you are in exactly the same place Mary was. But every mom needs to understand that being a mother is not just a great blessing and privilege—it is also a great responsibility.
Bro. Mike, what choice do I have? Unfortunately, not every mom accepts God’s mission. Society tells millions of moms every year that they don’t have to let a baby slow them down. Just a quick visit to the abortion clinic can save them all that hassle. What they don’t tell you is how that decision to end an innocent human life will haunt you the rest of your life.
But there are also other moms who go ahead and have their baby, but they still focus more on their own desires and goals than God’s mission for them. Not every mom accepts her mission from God.
Aren’t you glad your mom chose to accept her assignment from God? You and I were a little impossible at times, but she hung in there, through pain and tears, and still seems to think it was worth it. You and I ought to thank the Lord for our moms who have endured through thick and thin to care for us and love us.
It would have been easy for Mary to have say, “Thanks, but no thanks. Why should I have to deal with the headaches and hassles of motherhood? What about my plans and my dreams?” But Mary saw herself as first and foremost a mother whose mission was to serve the Lord by being a good mom to her child.
The most important occupation on earth for a woman is to be a real mother to her children. It does not have much glory to it; there is a lot of grit and grime. But there is no greater place of ministry, position, or power than that of a mother. -Phil Whisenhunt
Mom, do you see what an awesome, important calling God has given you? Becoming a mother who fulfills God’s mission involves a great deal courage. Do you gladly accept the responsibilities God gives you to care for and nurture your family?
Well, Bro. Mike, exactly what responsibilities are you talking about? What is involved in fulfilling your mission as a mom? Mary gives us some insight here, also.
The first responsibility of moms with a mission is simply to be there for their kids. Mary was there for all the milestones in her Son’s life. She was never too busy for Him.
When He was dedicated in the temple in Luke 2, she is there. In John 2, when he performs His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, she is there. Even when He is nailed to the cross on Good Friday, she’s there. The last time Mary is mentioned in the Bible in Acts 1:14, where she is waiting in the upper room after Jesus ascends for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a mother who was always there for her Son.
Mom, nothing communicates your love to a child more directly than your presence. When your child gets hurt, whose name do they call? When there’s a play at the school, or a game on the field, that child is looking for your face. When that teenager feels all alone, when their heart is broken, when they are trying to make an important decision, no matter what they say or how they act, they need you there, mom.
In 1969 I almost died. My mom was carrying me back and forth to the family doctor for pain in my side, and he told her it was a stomach virus. One night my temperature went up to 103 and my mom carried me to the emergency room in Columbus GA, where the doctor informed her my appendix was about to burst, and that he didn’t know if he could get it in time or not. After surgery I had to stay in the hospital for 9 days, and 3 times each day I had to receive a painful penicillin injection. My mom stayed with me the entire time, defying anybody to keep her away. She held my hand every time they gave me a shot. Every time, but one. One morning she stepped out to get some coffee, and they came early and gave me my shot. It was the one and only time I cried. When she got back and realized what happened, she stormed into the nurse’s station and let them have it.
Of course, I’m not angry at my mother for what happened. In fact, I’m grateful for how she was there for me. But one thing you can be sure of, mom: you can make up for a lot of things. You can make up for words spoken in anger. But you can never make up for your absence. You’re either there for your kid or you’re not.
I know they sometimes your presence might not seem very important. Kids like to act tough. But don’t be fooled mom—we need you to be there.
I know you can’t always be there for everything. But when you can, we need you there mom. By just being there you show your child they are important to somebody---their mother. They need you to be there, not just when they’re kids or teenagers, but when they grow up. Your mission, mom: to be there.
Another part of a mother’s mission is treasuring those special moments in their children’s lives.
In Luke 2:19, when the shepherds come and tell Mary all the wonderful things the heavenly angels say about her son, she treasures these things in her heart. She does the same thing in Luke 2:51 when she and Joseph find Jesu asking questions and holding deep conversations with the priests.
These were special moments in her Son’s life, moments she never forgets. Most of the information we have recorded in Luke and Matthew probably came from Mary’s memory.
Moms are the keepers of the family memories. Who really wants a thousand pictures of the baby? Mom does. Who makes you dig out the video camera to catch the first steps? Mom does. Who keeps the baby book up-to-date? Who writes all those names in the family Bible? Who fills up those kindgergarten-12th grade photo frames? Who keeps all your trophies and certificates and ribbons? Mom does.
One of my mom’s favorite things to do when her kids or grandkids visited was to reminisce. She could remember all kinds of things—both good and not-so-good. My siblings and I sometimes wondered if she didn’t get some of those stories mixed up about how mischievous we were, but we didn’t let her know that. She kept boxes and boxes of photographs, and every little trinket she ever got for mother’s day. Almost every Christmas she was alive she hung ornaments on her tree that her kids and grandkids made.
That’s part of your mission in life, mom: you are the keeper of memories. Treasure those memories---write them down, tell us about them. God gave you those memories not only for your own heart, but to touch the hearts of others. We forget so easily. Mom, would you please remember for us?
Pastor Roger Matthews tells the following story: “We were traveling one summer in the Pocono Mountains. One lazy Sunday we found our way to a little Methodist Church. The preacher was preaching on and on until, all of a sudden, he said, ‘The best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife.’ The congregation let out a gasp, came to immediate attention, and the dozing deacon in the back row dropped his hymnbook. Then the preacher said, ‘It was my mother.’ The congregation laughed a little nervously, but he had their attention.
I filed this trick away in my memory. Sure enough, the next summer, on a lazy Sunday, I was preaching and the ushers were sinking lower and lower in their seats. Then I declared in a booming voice, ‘The best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife.’ One of the ushers in the back row sat up so fast he hit his head on the back of the pew in front of him. I had them. It was then memory failed me and all I could say was ‘And for the life of me, I can’t remember who she was!’ ”[ii]
For all the times we forget, thank God mom is keeper of our memories.
But there is one more very important part of mom’s mission we see in the life of Mary: the mission to lead her children to God. Luke 2:39 says Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple and dedicated Him to the Lord. But even before Mary gives birth to Jesus she demonstrates her own strong faith in God in a prayer she prays in Luke 1:46-56 (read).
This prayer is sometimes known as the Magnifcat, and is one of the most beautiful and passionate prayers found in the Bible.
Here is a young woman who has a personal, intimate relationship with God. As Jesus grows up in the home of this godly lady, He learns of God’s power and promises, of God’s goodness and faithfulness. How often Mary must have prayed for Jesus, must have taught Him God’s truth. Mary shares her love for the Lord with Jesus, and she is part of the reason the Bible says
Luke 2:40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Mom, this may be the most important part of your mission: to teach your kids to love the Lord. You teach them all kinds of things---brush your teeth, clean your plate, wash behind your ears. Don’t forget to teach them the most important lessons of life: love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Mom you take your kids to all kinds of places—school, ball practice, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s. Don’t forget to bring them to church every Sunday. Don’t forget to bring them before the Lord in prayer. Don’t forget to take time to read the Bible with them.
Mom, don’t just tell your kids about Jesus---show them Jesus. Let them see His kindness, His love, His grace, His goodness in your life. Tell them how Jesus died for their sins, tell them how they can be forgiven and become a Christian.
Mom, this is your most important mission in life: to lead your kids to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Many things you do for your kids make a big difference. Bringing them to Jesus makes an eternal difference.
Many of you sitting here this morning had a mom who led you to Jesus. She didn’t send you to church—she took you with her to church. Many of you had moms who prayed for you, who pleaded before the throne of God every day, asking the Lord to touch your heart, to bring you to commit your life to Jesus Christ. Can you imagine how excited she’d be if today, you stepped out and surrendered your heart to Jesus Christ?
Howard Cadle’s mother was a Christian, but his father was an alcoholic. By age twelve, Cadle was emulating his father, drinking and out of control. Soon he was deep in the grip of immorality and gambling and in the clutches of the Midwest crime syndicate.
“Always remember, Son,” his worried mother often said, “that at eight o’clock every night I’ll be kneeling beside your bed, asking God to protect my precious boy.” But her prayers didn’t seem to make much difference. One evening he pulled a gun on a man and squeezed the trigger. The weapon never fired and someone quickly knocked it away. Cadle glanced at a clock and noticed that it was exactly eight o’clock. He’d been spared from committing the crime of murder.
He continued headlong into vice until finally his health broke. The doctor told him he had only six months to live. Dragging himself home, penniless and pitiful, he collapsed in his mother’s arms, saying, “Mother, I’ve broken your heart. I’d like to be saved, but I’ve sinned too much.”
The old woman opened her Bible and read Isaiah 1:18—Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow. That windswept morning, March 14, 1914, Howard Cadle started life anew. The change in him was dramatic and permanent. A few years later he began preaching the Gospel, becoming one of America’s earliest radio evangelists. He once said: Until He calls me, I shall preach the same Gospel that caused my sainted mother to pray for me. And when I have gone to the last city and preached my last sermon, I want to sit at His feet and say, “Thank You, Jesus, for saving me…” [iii]
Thank God for moms who’ve made Mary’s mission their own: they’ve embraced the high call of motherhood, they’ve been there for their kids, treasuring up the special moments of their lives. But the highest call of a mother is to lead her family to the One Who loves them even more than she ever could: to lead them to Jesus Christ.
As much as your mama loves you, as much as she’s done for you, Jesus loves you even more. He did what mom could never do for you—He died for your sins. He gave you your mother to love you enough to point you to Him. She’s done all she can do to lead you to Jesus. Now you must take the next step.
Will you? Will you come today and trust Christ as your Lord and Savior? Will you come and rededicate your life to God? This moment just might be the answer to your mother’s prayers.
[i] James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 64.
[ii]Streiker, L. D. (2000). Nelson's big book of laughter : Thousands of smiles from A to Z (electronic ed.) (268)
[iii]Robert J. Morgan, Real Stories for the Soul, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000), 141.