JESUS CHRIST LOVED YOU TO THE END!
And so does your mother. Have you ever thought about what it means to be a Christian mother? On the surface, it means exactly the same thing it has always meant to be a mother. Proverbs says a mother, “brings… good, not harm, all the days of her life… She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family… She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks… She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy… She is clothed with strength and dignity… She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” When I think back on my childhood and I picture my mother, what do I see? I see a woman constantly at work; caring for us; protecting us; guiding us; leading us; chastising us; providing for us; and watching over us. What does it mean to be a mother? To be a mother, you must live a life of love; a life in which you totally sets aside yourself, your position, your pride, your wants and desires for the sake of your children. Much like a shepherd does for her flock. So what distinguishes the Christian mother from all other mothers? Just two things: the mother’s understanding of why she loves, and the end to which that mother loves.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Who makes a mother, a mother? Not her husband, not herself. Penny and I have desired all our lives to be parents. We did everything in our power to become parents, and yet parenthood has always been unattainable for us. By our own power, we cannot make ourselves parents. It is only God who bestows the gift of life to a husband and wife; it is God Himself to entrusts to parents their children. When we read in the fourth commandment that we are to honor our father and our mother, it is not because of who they are, but because of who made them your parents. Mothers are made mothers by God and the Christian mother knows that she is the shepherd of her lambs because she entered the sheepfold by the door and the gatekeeper admitted her. The Christian mother knows that it is through Jesus Christ – the door – that she enters into her love and care for her lambs and it is through the grace of God the Father – the gatekeeper – that these little ones have been entrusted to her. The Christian mother knows that she is God’s appointed shepherd over her children. She is called and appointed to love her children as Christ loves her.
But the Christian mother knows something else. She loves her children with every fiber of her being. Just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us; she has given herself in commitment to what is best for her children. This is true not just for Christian mothers, but for mothers around the world. What distinguishes the Christian mother is that she knows what is truly best for her children; she knows the end to which she is called to love her children. She is called to love her children to the same end to which Christ loves us. That end is reconciliation to her children’s heavenly and the salvation of her children from the power of sin and death through faith in Jesus Christ. The end to which a Christian mother loves her children is everlasting life for her children. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The shepherd who enters into her care of her flock through the door of Christ, by the grace of the Father, is called to bring her flock through that same door to the pasture to be nourish and refreshed; she is called to lead her flock through the door where they might have life and have it abundantly. The Christian mother doesn’t love you to death, she is called to love you to life!
How many of us have truly appreciated the love our mothers have given us throughout our lives? How often have we returned that love with the obstinate bleating of disobedient sheep? How often have our mothers sought to lead us through the door of Jesus Christ into this pasture to feed on His Word and refresh ourselves in His worship? How often have we just moaned and turned over in our beds and said I don’t want to go? Don’t you know that when your mother goads you, it is not for her good, but for yours? When your mother seeks to bring you to church or bring God’s Word to you, she is not doing it for herself – she has a lot more fun things she could be doing. No, she does this because she loves you to the end. She loves you to eternal life. Your are called to honor your mother, not because of who she is, but because of who entrusted you to her and because of the end to which she is called to love you. So today, and every day, show your mother the honor that is her right to receive and your responsibility to God to give. Today, and every day, show your mother that you appreciate the love your mother shows you for the end to which she loves you is your eternal life. Today, and every day, show your mother that same selfless, live giving love.
JESUS CHRIST LOVES YOU TO THE END! AND SO DOES YOUR MOTHER. Amen.