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Today's Mothers

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. This is a day set aside to honor mothers for the countless acts of kindness, love, concern, and dedications they have shown their children.

But, about this time of year is also "Mothers take your daughter to work" day, a day which teaches young girls the benefits of a working career over being a homemaker and responsible mother. The role of mothers has certainly changed in recent years. How important is motherhood today and what should be the role of today's mothers?

Today I want to talk to you about what the Bible has to say about motherhood, its duties, and its responsibilities; and compare it with the practices of altogether too many mothers today.

If we are to "keep the commandments in order to enter into life" (Matt 19:17), let's start by reading a commandment:

Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Again in the New Testament, Paul writes:

Eph 6:2-3 "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- {3} "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

This is the first commandment with a stated promise. How will you enjoy long life? - By honoring your parents. But honoring your parents is another principle and law which has been set aside for a long time. Notice what Christ said to the scribes and Pharisees about this in Mark 7:10-13.

(Mark 7:10-13 NASB) "For Moses said, 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER'; and, 'HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH'; {11} but you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, anything of mine you might have been helped by is Corban (that is to say, given to God),' {12} you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; {13} thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."

Yes, even in the days of Christ, people, even religious leaders, were finding excuses to ignore their responsibility to help their parents. In the example we just read, the religious leaders were finding a way to divert to themselves what was owed parents. Christ is telling us here that no matter what our age or whatever our relationship with our parents has been, we must help and honor our parents.

But in order to honor to the fullest, we must respect to the fullest. The duty of the children to respect the parents can be eased by a parent earning the respect of the children. How does a mother gain the full respect of her family? The Bible has much to say about this. Let's see what Paul instructed Timothy concerning young women.

1 Tim 5:14 So I counsel younger widows (single women) to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

As we read here, a mother must be a home-maker or home manager, just as the father must be the bread winner. I don't mean that the mother can not be a bread winner too. There may be many reasons why the wife or mother may want or need to be a bread winner. If the children are gone, the mother may want to work outside the home for additional money, perhaps to put the children through college, or to sharpen up the professional skills she had before she became a full time homemaker. If additional income is required to support the family while the children are growing, the mother may want to find a job she can do while staying at home. There are many of these today: Caring for other's children, typing, telephone canvassing, sewing, ironing, growing and selling home-grown vegetables, painting pictures, selling hobby-crafts, consulting...the list is endless. I well remember that my grandmother, who lived on a good-sized farm in Minnesota, raised vegetables and turkeys to sell to give her additional money around the house. It wasn't that they couldn't make it on the farm's was that with her extra effort they could have more of the nice things everyone desires. My point is the mother's first priority must be to her home and the raising of her family. This is probably more important to the welfare of the family than the amount of income of the father/wage earner. It is for the mother to make the house a home - to keep it up - to manage it.

So the first responsibility we will discuss today is the home. My main points are not in any particular priority order.

Point #1. The home must be a place for security, comfort, enjoyment; not just a pit stop. To prevent the home from becoming just a pit stop, each member of the family must feel comfortable with the home and have responsibilities for the welfare of the family. The home has to be a place of constant, uplifting, and supportive conversation so that a community spirit exists within the family; a community spirit which engenders loyalty, family closeness, love, family projects, family unity. With the mother working outside the home in most of today's homes, this community spirit can be reduced or destroyed, the children must find others who seem to fill the child's need for this community spirit, and the home tends to become just a house where their family sleeps - hopefully.

What did Paul mean by "give the enemy no opportunity for slander"? Women who do dedicate themselves to the home and family are usually the first ones to be blamed when something goes awry in the family. To prevent criticisms of the family, a woman must manage her home effectively.

In other words, it is important for women to work hard to keep up their home and family so the whole family wants to be there and so the family carries a good reputation. Paul has an admonition for Titus regarding the conduct of women.

Titus 2:3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. {4} Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, {5} to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

A woman's work is never done. And these verses in Titus prove it. Long after the children are gone, the wife and mother or even the older single woman must continue to work at being reverent, holy women, consecrated to God; not slanderers - a problem for some older women, good examples, so they can teach (privately, not publicly) younger women, by precept and example, how to be good wives, mothers and even how to be successful working, single women.

Verse 4 forms an important foundation for domestic happiness: They shall school or admonish the young women to be lovers of their husbands! Verse 4 also admonishes the young women to be lovers of their children. In my opinion, young mothers can not provide proper love for their children if they farm them out to others to train while the mothers work outside the home. Although I know there can be situations where this almost has to be done, it is not the best way, despite what you read and hear in these end days. There are some women who just do not have as much love of family as they should. I'll discuss one aspect of love, the teaching of moral values, later.

Verse 5 in the KJV says 'keepers at home' instead of 'busy at home.' In the Greek it seems to say 'guardians at home'. Some versions say 'workers at home'. The bottom line is that they be active in household duties, the antithesis of Prov 7:11.

(Prov 7:11 NKJV) She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home.

The word 'kind' in Titus 2:5 is interpreted by some to not only mean good, but also to mean that the wife and mother be thoughtful and thrifty, though not to the point of stinginess.

The wife and mother must be the home manager. She must manage time in the house. She must be able to plan ahead so she will not spend all her time at the store or social events. For instance, when she goes shopping, she should shop for several days worth of meals. She must spend enough time with the children to teach them how to behave and do things. She certainly must teach the daughters how to perform household tasks and how the mother pleases her husband in her relations with him. She must teach all her children moral values. In our way of life, most things can be bought in stores. But it is still desirable to teach children how to cook, sew, knit, keep house, make ceramics, crochet, refinish and build furniture, grow vegetables, hunt, fish, carpentry. Obviously, some of these responsibilities must be shared by the father.

Point #2. The wife has a responsibility to her husband and family.

Prov 31:10-31 gives the description of the ideal wife.

Prov 31:10-31 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. {11} Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. {12} She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. {13} She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. {14} She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. {15} She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. {16} She considers a field and buys it (she owns her own business); out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. {17} She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. {18} She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. {19} In her hand she holds the distaff (a staff on which fibers, such as flax or wool, are wound before being spun into thread on the spinning wheel spindle) and grasps the spindle with her fingers. {20} She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. {21} When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet [a double change of garments - possibly double layered garments]. {22} She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple [a royal color]. {23} Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. [She has not grumbled about him and ruined his reputation, but rather enhances his reputation by assisting and encouraging her husband and by her own conduct.] {24} She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. {25} She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. [She is confident and secure.] {26} She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. {27} She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. {28} Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: {29} "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." {30} Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. {31} Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

There's not much one can add to that. Here is the perfect wife and mother.

Point #3. The third responsibility of a wife and mother really involves how she successfully deals with her husband.

Eph 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your husband [not every man] as to the Lord. {23} For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. {24} Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. {25} Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her {26} to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, {27} and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. {28} In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. {29} After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- {30} for we are members of his body. {31} "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." {32} This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. {33} However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. [Notice: There is no conditional "if" in verse 33.]

1 Pet 3:1-7 is a good example to an unconverted husband:

1 Pet 3:1-7 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, {2} when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. {3} Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing gold jewelry and fine clothes. {4} Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight [that would not include yelling at her husband in fits of anger]. {5} For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, {6} like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear (hysteria). [A supportive wife strengthens her husband.] {7} Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Notice that, in verses 3 and 4, that it is not wrong to have beautiful outward adornment such as pretty hair, jewelry and clothes. But, as verse 4 states, real beauty should come from a gentle and quiet spirit (the inner self) rather than outward adornment.

But these three points are not what we see today. Today's women are taught as small children that they should be independent; well educated for the work place (not for the home). They tend to plan their families around their jobs and social events, letting the behavior of baby sitters serve as the example for their children to follow, giving the children the example of TV programs to teach them values, sending them to ungodly schools who insist on the children accepting the school's principles and values - such as "just because your parents believe that, doesn't mean it is right for you;" "better to be safe with condoms" because the kids will do it anyway; "don't bring your Bible or prayers to school - it's unconstitutional (a cop-out for the teachers); "feel good about yourself;" or, "if it feels good, do it."

I mentioned earlier the subject of letting others train your children while the mother works. Let's talk more about that subject. As a New York Times editorial put it: "Legions of American children are growing up without fathers, with children for parents, in neighborhoods so dangerous they can hope only to make it through the week, rather than plan for the rest of their lives." This adds up to a crises that jeopardizes our children's healthy development, undermines school readiness and ultimately threatens our nation's economic strength as we see happening today. This well describes the children of the under-class, but how about the rest? What these and all children need most is parents. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan once said, "Children who do not live with a father and mother are more likely to be high-school dropouts, more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to be dependent on welfare than children who live with both biological parents."

Conversely, most believe that good parents, however disadvantaged, can make all the difference. The solution to crime, said former Governor Romer of Colorado, is parenting, parenting, parenting.

Social scientists tell us that with enough income and enough education, the risks of an underclass childhood drop away. Is this true? How many drug problems, divorce problems, suicides, and other horrendous personal problems of the extremely well-to-do of Hollywood do you hear about?

Mothers today read obsessively about child-rearing. Dr. Spock is probably the most famous but there are hundreds of other "experts" who write books on babies, young children, adolescents, only children, twins, the psychology of the one-year-old, getting children to eat properly, toilet-training, adoption, family problems, name it.

We used to hear about "the attachment theory" a lot. That is the theory that a child psychologically attaches itself to the adult who cares for it. It became a cornerstone of child-rearing theories at one time. There was never much agreement as to at what age this attachment was supposed to occur; some said three months, others said days, some even said 30 or 40 minutes after birth. The attachment theory was probably given its biggest boost at the end of World War II when orphaned and refugee babies in Europe failed to thrive despite having all their physical needs met by institutional care. Some infants even died - again with no apparent overriding physical cause. What was missing? There was no "special person" to attach to. That special person is typically the mother. Who is the special person when the child is left in day care centers or with baby sitters?

Modern child-rearing experts do not write about the attachment theory. Their main goal is to sell books to working mothers who have guilty consciences about abandoning their children to others. Today, well over 50% of mothers with children under the age of 6 work outside the home. Today's books on child-rearing encourage women to work outside the home by telling them that both the children and the parents will be better adjusted because of it. What these writers propose is having "special moments or quality time together" with your children. What might these special moments be? Often they are once-a-week play or 15 minutes of quiet time each night. Some parents read favorite bedtime stories into a tape recorder so their child can listen to it when the parent gets home too late. Some years ago in New York a child could listen on the phone for a prerecorded story-telling service for the price of only 85 cents a minute. Some parents even arrange for the recording of their child's participation in a soccer championship, when the parent has to be out of town at the time. These examples are the language of an appointment book.

Parents today are encouraged to spend more time on the person most near and dear to them ... i.e. themselves. Mental-health professionals tell parents it is wrong to feel guilty about putting their children ahead of their own wants and needs. In their mind, parents who sacrifice for their children somehow cause the children to suffer. Perhaps it is through that benevolent attitude that modern parents encourage their children to grow up before their time.

A child born today to a teenage mother will go home to a neighborhood few of us can even imagine. That child will almost certainly grow up poor. He or she will more likely than not be involved in drug use, violent crime, substandard medical care, perhaps even neglect. He may not know or ever see his father. Can anyone say that that child is better off than a child who has both parents present and attending him? Can any of us say that the parents have a virtually unlimited right to put their own needs and fulfillment ahead of the child's? Can any of us accept that a parent who exercises these rights is acting in the child's best interests? I want to read an editorial from the Los Angeles Times of twelve years ago.

Monday, May 7, 2001
Not All Mothers Rise to the Role
By Norah Vincent

Motherhood is more than a biological imperative. The fact that you carried an embryo to term does not make you a mother any more than it makes you an obstetrician. Strictly speaking, it makes you nothing more than a viable genetic host. Motherhood is something else altogether, a relationship earned by years of sacrifice, dedication and care, not awarded by an accident of birth.
So on this Mother's Day, we should be doing more than mouthing laudatory platitudes. We should be asking every assumptive mother to ask herself one honest question: Am I doing or have I done my job?
I say this partly because one of the most famous mothers in recent memory, murderess Sante Kimes, is in the news again. Kimes and her son, Kenneth Kimes, were convicted of swindling and murdering an elderly New York City woman and now are accused of killing a Granada Hills businessman. But Kimes other son, Kent Walker, has just published a memoir, "Son of a Grifter," about his life of crime and abuse with his mother and half-brother.
Now a vacuum cleaner salesman living with his wife and children, Walker managed to escape his charismatic mother's corrupting clutches as well as the life sentence she and Kenneth are serving in New York prisons. Meanwhile, Walker is on a book tour, shocking everyone who thought motherhood was sacred. He says he's lucky to have survived and did so only because he managed to befriend a few "normal" adults and because he is an unusually strong person. His brother, he says, never had a chance.
I say this also because a conversation I had recently with two fifth-grade public schoolteachers who work in one of Manhattan's most blighted schools reinforced my belief that maternal irresponsibility is at the heart of a great many problems in the inner city. Problems that government largess cannot solve because it cannot reach into the private lives and decision-making processes of ignorant, unprepared or uncaring women and girls. Fathers are guilty here too, but they have long been rightly pilloried for desertion and neglect. Mothers often get a free pass as the innocent dupes left holding the bag. This is a myth.
One of the teachers with whom I spoke related a conversation she's had with two 12-year-old girls in her class, both of whom said they had already had consensual sexual intercourse. When asked if they had used a condom or any other form of birth control, they answered with a puzzled "no." The concept of prophylaxis was clearly foreign to them — as was, subsequent questioning revealed, the concept of pregnancy being a likely result of unprotected sex.
Yet the phenomenon of young motherhood was not, by any means, unknown to these girls. They were, in fact, surrounded by it. Their own mothers had given birth while still in their early teens. Countless friends and acquaintances were doing the same. The degree to which these girls had come to expect teenage motherhood became obvious when one of them said derisively of her older sister: "She's already 20 and she doesn't even have a baby yet."
Here you have the classic vicious cycle. Girls getting pregnant way too young because their own teenage mothers didn't learn from their mistakes or bother to convey the facts of life to the children they were woefully ill-equipped to raise. Thus, the legacies of ignorance, unplanned pregnancy, poverty and abuse go on apace, robbing generations of children of any opportunity to better themselves.
They go to school unable to learn because their ruinous home lives have left them with severe behavioral problems. Their teachers can't reach them. As one of these teachers told me, she spends all her time disciplining and virtually none of it teaching. She's a surrogate parent, forced to lecture her students not on history or standard written English but on the perils of condomless sex, because nobody else cares enough to do it. When she calls mothers and tells them of her concerns, they say, "Why are you calling me?" and hang up.
Leaving aside demagogic rhetoric about family values and the dubious post-feminist dogma that all mothers are good, its time we spent Mother's Day this Sunday reminding ourselves that simply having a child is no accomplishment and that raising one responsibly must be a mandate. Throwing public money at the problem won't help. That is proven by the results of today's teachers' unions

Every mother and every teacher in this country needs to take a long, critical look in the mirror.

Norah Vincent is a Freelance Journalist who lives in New York City.

Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times.

To a very large extent, what's wrong with today's kids is what's wrong with today's mothers and fathers. If parents were willing to live the God-directed roles we have previously discussed and not worry about their materialistic status, the children would be in much better shape. Unfortunately there are many pressures on both the parents and the children these days which work against the family. But Satan doesn't mind that either.

The following scriptures describe other results of women pursuing the wrong goals:

Isa 3:16-4:1 The LORD says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. {17} Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald." [Is he describing the women you see today with what looks like crew-cuts?] {18} In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, {19} the earrings and bracelets and veils, {20} the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, {21} the signet rings and nose rings, {22} the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses {23} and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. {24} Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding [or should it say "tatoos"?]. {25} Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. {26} The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground. {4:1} In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!"

Notice in verse 1 that women will want to be totally independent of men and will think they need men for only one purpose - to provide them children - their disgrace being that of virginity. How descriptive of many of today's women and adolescents!

1 Tim 2:9-15 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, {10} but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. {11} A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. {12} I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. {13} For Adam was formed first, then Eve. {14} And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. {15} But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

These verses describe a woman's balanced values in apparel and adornment. But notice:

1st. The use of jewelry is not prohibited, but rather, outward appearances are placed in lesser importance to good deeds.

Many think that the use of expensive clothes and jewelry is wrong. But let's look at some scriptures for examples of how gold and silver jewelry have been historically used by women (and men too):

Exo 3:22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."
Gen 24:22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.
Ezek 16:9-14 "'I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. {10} I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. {11} I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, {12} and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. {13} So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. {14} And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Did God make a mistake here? Were women really too adorned with fine jewelry and beautiful clothes? Maybe He changed His mind for the New Testament! I'm being facetious.

Luke 15:22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

Doesn't sound like fine robes and rings were wrong, does it?

2ndly. In 1 Tim 2:9-15, which we read, Paul is condemning the wrong use of jewelry - that is, women trying to look luxurious rather than performing good deeds.

3rdly. Women should strive to please their husband and God rather than the world in the way they dress, act, and talk.

In 1 Tim 3:11, Paul addresses the wives of bishops:

1 Tim 3:11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

This verse is talking about the wives of bishops or leaders of God's assembly of people, but the principles apply to all women.

In conclusion, motherhood is one of the greatest pleasures but also one of the greatest responsibilities of life.

A mother has the responsibility to be a home maker. In other words, the mother has the responsibility to make her house a home.

The mother has the major responsibility to teach both family values and moral values (laws) to the children. By her example she teaches her husband, her greater family, and all who see her as well.

Today, the U.S. is twenty-fifth in the world in the successful teaching of mathematics. Not many years ago we were number one. With the state of today's public schools, she probably also has the responsibility to give the children, especially the younger children, an adequate education, or at least assure that they get one.

What is the state of today's public schools? Please consider the following: American children don't know American history or geography. Instead of these values, they are being taught atheism, political correctness, multiculturalism,, and moral relativism. Left-leaning instructors have almost monopolized education with their anti-God, socialistic message.

There ought to be, and for many of us there is, a lot to thank mothers for, brethren. I'm sure most if not all of you would share my opinion that our mother is or was the most loving, sharing, caring person we have ever known. Mothers are the glue that holds the family, and hence the nation, together; a glue that's badly needed in the U.S. and many other countries living in today's end-time conditions.

Tomorrow and everyday we should all thank God for our mothers, whether living or dead. If your mother still lives, don't just wish her a Happy Mother's Day; thank her with all your heart for all she's done for you and for her family, for all her descendants, and for her example to the rest of the world.

As we consider our Mothers on Mother's Day our thoughts should be:

To those who comfort with a mother's hand, we thank you.
To those who encourage with a mother's praise, we applaud you.
To those who love with a mother's heart, we honor you,
— not just on Mother's Day, but always.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
11 May 2013
Copyright 2013, Wayne Bedwell

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