This past Sunday (May 10th) was Mother’s Day in the U.S. Barring the side note of how the woman who helped created Mother’s Day spent most of her life trying to end it due to commercialization, it is a day worth spending time with nonetheless. So as we do, there are a few passages that we should be familiar with. First is in Genesis 1 where God said he created man and woman in His image. Second is the ten commandments in Exodus where we are told to Honor our fathers AND our mothers. Third is Proverbs 31 where we are given an idealized view of a woman… who is also a mother. Forth and finally is 2 Timothy 1 where Paul recounts the faith he saw in Timothy’s mother and grandmother. Besides the fact that looking all these up will give one good Bible time during this time of semi-forced isolation, it also demonstrates the Bible’s position on women and Motherhood.
So from the beginning and throughout, the Bible has pointed to the fact that women are important in society, highly valued, and have the same intrinsic self-worth as men. It also highlights that while fathers and mothers have different roles in the family, they, too, are to be equally valued and respected. There is nothing to suggest that women are to be regarded as being inferior, less than, or other than. In fact, of all God’s creation, only woman, a special creation just like man, was suitable to match with man. Of these, the passages on woman being an image bearer of God and the call to honor Father and Mother are most telling. They point out that they are in many ways to be viewed equally and given the same respect, courtesy, dignity, and regard. For many, this does not fit well with a mistaken understanding some have of a Christian / Biblical view on women, but those are usually formed from taking things out of context or instilling their own view on a situation, and there are those who would accuse me of doing the same thing.
The idea of the Biblical woman really gets pushed by Proverbs 31. Here we see a woman who is well-to-do, married, with children, and living on an estate. Given all of that you may think she is stuck at home, keeping house, watching the kids, and enjoying the good life. Not even close. She isn’t keeping house, but managing the estate from the food, to the clothing, to the servants and their duties. She is bringing in income through her own work and business and providing supplies from her own work. She is also making deals over land and trade. She is strong, dignified, industrious, has a head for figures and business, is respectable and respected, faithful to her family and most importantly to God. This is a very modern image from something written about 3,000 years ago. This just highlights the important role that women were expected to play in their family and society and how they were to be regarded, not as second class appendages of their husbands, but workers in their own right. No Victorian ideas of finance being too much for a woman to handle, she is making determinations on agricultural land, investments, finance, and doing all this independently of her husband. This adds further proof that women are important and to be valued and are extremely capable in their own right.
Lastly in Timothy, we see the role of the mother as a spiritual guide. It was their faith for which Eunice and Lois were remembered. These women, early on, valued what Jesus meant and passed that along to Timothy. Apparently his father was a Greek and never converted, but Timothy was surrounded by it and would become a leader in the early Church. Not only were women and mothers to be people of faith, but they have a duty and obligation to pass that along. There was none of this foolishness about letting the child decide on their own. I mean really, what other major life choices do you let a child make? I get that after a certain age they will do what they will, but the influence of early years is crucial. Just like teaching manners, hygiene, and healthy habits are important for development, so, too, is faith a crucial endeavor and should not be left to chance. Read the Bible with them and to them. Tell them Bible stories, carry them to church, and demonstrate through your own actions that faith is important and what it means for you. This is where many a child gets their first exposure to Christ and who he is. It is this legacy of faith they will cherish long after the pains of physical death separate parent from child.
So make sure to take time to honor your mother, or mothers, as is may be. Some are blessed to have a biological mom and others have teachers, aunts, cousins, neighbors, or grandparents who fill that role or add to. Others have step moms or even single dads. Whatever the case may be, be sure to honor them not only on Mother’s Day but every day by giving them the respect and dignity they deserve and cherish their legacy in your daily life. Mothers, make sure you are passing along that legacy, especially of faith and love. God Bless