Taking Up The Slack

Mother’s Day has just passed, a time when we pause and reflect upon all that our moms have done for us over the years.  We probably wrote them a card or got them a gift, maybe gave them a call, or even went to church with them on that Sunday.  It is what we are supposed to do, and we don’t really need much prompting to do it on that special day each year.  They are our moms, and we appreciate them for who they are and what they have done for us.

But what about the rest of the year?  They aren’t just great women one day a year, so why do we act as if that is the only time we are to show our gratitude?  The truth is that the daily, mundane, ordinary tasks of life take just as much courage, fortitude, and endurance as anything else.  The care of a home and family are not something a mom does only when she “feels like it.”  Instead, it is a daily determination to fulfill her God-given role as a mother.

One particular aspect that we often don’t take time to consider as we should is the faith of our moms.  How many grandmothers and mothers have spent hours on their knees praying for their family, reading the Scriptures to their children, and raising their family to follow the Lord while the men were shirking their duties?  As I sit here and write this, I know of several friends of mine who had no Godly father in their life, or even a father at all.  It was their moms and grandmas who stepped up and filled the gap.

This is not a new role that mothers have filled.  When we examine Scripture, we see time and time again how mothers were faithful to pass on their belief in God to their children, both by their words and by their actions.  One example that often comes to mind is  Timothy and the women in his life.

In his final letter to his young protegee, Paul writes that he is confident that “the sincere faith…which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice…is in you as well”(2 Timothy 1:5).  In that same letter, he reminded the young man “that from childhood you have known the sacred writings,” meaning the Bible  (2 Timothy 3:15). And who taught him the Word of God?  It was his mother and grandmother.

We don’t know much about Timothy’s father, except that he “was a Greek,” and seemed to be an unbeliever (Acts 16:1).  We never hear of Timothy’s father again, so perhaps he had died, or simply wasn’t a part of his son’s life like so many fathers today.  Regardless of what happened to him, it is clear that  the task of Timothy’s spiritual training fell to his mother and grandmother, and they took to it with a ready heart.  It would not have been an easy task, for Timothy would have been the victim of ridicule, scorn, and even exclusion as a result of his blended background.  It would have been so tempting for these two women to give up, to say it was a lost cause and that they had tried their best…but they didn’t.

Day after day, year after year, they poured themselves into this young man, clung to the Lord through prayer, and devoted themselves to the Scriptures.  What was the result of their labor?  Timothy grew up to be one of the closest companions to the apostle Paul himself, and was entrusted with the care of a church that Paul had labored in for at least two full years (Acts 19:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:3, 4).  What a man of God he became, and though it was the Spirit of God working in him, he is a testimony to the faithful love and care of his mother and grandmother, two mighty women of the faith.

Of course, these two ladies are not the only examples.  There is a scene from the crucifixion that we need to look at.  Though “many women” stood at the foot of the cross, including Jesus’ mother and aunt, only one man from all His followers was committed enough to do so (Matthew 27:55, 56; John 19:25-27). It was some of those same women who went to the tomb early in the morning three days later while the men stood cowering behind closed doors (Mark 16:1, 2; John 20:19).  There was a combination of reasons for this, but part of it was the faithful devotion of the women and the disciples’ fixation upon saving their own necks.

Now am I saying that the women were somehow better than the disciples?  Not necessarily, for they did not believe that Jesus would rise from the dead either.  However, they were unflinchingly committed to following and serving Jesus, regardless of what it might cost them.  They were sold out for Jesus, and their actions proved it.

So even from these two quick examples, we see that there are women who give themselves completely to the Lord, serving Him with all that they have and sharing the truth with those around them, especially those in their own family. For many of our moms, the same is true today.  Women often play a key role in our spiritual development, though we hardly thank them for it.

This is not to say that there is no place for the father.  Not at all.  He plays a just as vital—if not more important—role than the mom in spiritual leadership, but countless mothers have had to take up the slack as the entire responsibility of spiritual guidance falls upon them.  We need to be truly grateful for their service and devotion, and not just be thankful for it, but express our appreciation, admiration, and love for them on a regular basis.  Mother’s Day is a great time to do that, absolutely, but we need to make it a regular part of our lives to honor and praise our moms for their faithful teaching and example.

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