I have observed, that of the two parental days we accentuate during the course of the year, Mother’s Day, which is this weekend, garners the most attention. Rightfully so. Churches and families across our nation honor and cherish the women that are woven into the fabric of our spiritual and domestic lives. We regale our special ladies with flowers, cards, and expressions of love and appreciation for who they are and for what they do. There is something that endears to us the one who bore our conception and gave us birth.
It seems to me that there is a kinship with the mothers we know within the ranks of the Church and the mothers that are modeled in the Bible. For example, there is the “virtuous woman” modeled in Proverbs 31: “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
A virtuous woman is a woman of ability, power, and strength. She is guided by the moral expectations of God. She excels in the spiritual understandings, which flavor our lives with beneficent qualities. “Strength and honor are her clothing,” according to King Lemuel of Proverbs 31. Such a woman / mother of this modeling shall be and should be praised.
My favorite modeled mother has to be Sarah, Abraham’s wife. In the book of Genesis, God visited Abraham, who was all excited about the visit. He told Sarah to start fixing a meal for the guests just arrived.
I can just envision it. Sarah is in the kitchen tent room stirring up a big bowl of Bisquick to put in the oven. But, positioning herself in hearing range, she eavesdrops in on the conversation going on between the Lord and Abraham.
In the process, she overhears God affirm to Abraham that they are going to have a child—-and she snickers at the prospect! She and Abraham were at elderly ages where it was not likely that they could have a child.
But, in due course, something changed with Sarah about this natal prospect, and this is where the Writer of Hebrews picks up on this story. He wrote, “Through faith, Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
What happened? She evidently chewed on what she had heard. Perhaps after prayerful consideration, faith built up in her to the point that she decided just to believe God’s promise, and apparently it was the key point in her being able to conceive. Ultimately, according to the Writer, Sarah becomes a standout mother model of faith and trust in God.
The Apostle Paul presents an example of modeled mothers in the persons of a mother / grandmother combo. These were Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of the man of God, Timothy. They clearly raised the young man in the Christian faith.
It is the integrity of women who are Christians to influence children in the things of God. Martha Branch of Salisbury, NC, was one of my grandmothers. She loved the Lord. She loved her church. Because her heart condition was so precarious, she would after getting to church sit in a chair, and the men of the church would carry her up the steps to the sanctuary. I was impressed with her devotion.
Floyce Lineberry of Cooleemee, N.C., was my other grandmother. At her church, she once taught me to properly observe the Lord’s Supper. Without going into detail, she impressed me with spiritual steadfastness.
My mother was Margaret Branch. Mom would post Scripture verses on the kitchen wall. If you do not have anything else to look at while you are eating, memorizing Scripture seems to sink in. I was not perfect growing up, but having those verses embedded in my mind kept me from doing some things that perhaps I could have done.
Terry has been my wife for 42 years. Before I even asked her to marry me, she told me, “I know the Lord is going to call you into the ministry, and I just want you to know that I will go anywhere He wants you to go.” You can’t beat that with a stick!
It is those women who try to make a spiritual difference in your life that you cannot help but to admire and uplift, like those modeled in the Bible.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.
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