Mother’s day is a much more stressful day for pastors than you may realize. The most visible difficulty is the high wire guessing game: “Who is the oldest mother here today?” But that is just the beginning of sorrows. Think about the pressure of getting everyone out early to crowded restaurants!
It is not because of a shortage of references to mothers in the Bible! God has placed the word in His Word nearly 300 times. The Scripture implies it even more often. It’s not because the Bible is unclear about the importance of honoring mothers – it is the fifth commandment after all (Exodus 20:12). The difficulty comes from the biblical command to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have lost your mother, whether recently or years ago. We know that your grief is described by the Bible as one of the deepest kinds (Genesis 24:67, Psalm 35:14), and want to love you in your pain.
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have no relationship with your mother, or you are a mother who has been rejected by a child. Rejection is a feeling God knows better than anyone! We want to bring His compassion to you.
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have struggled with getting pregnant. We want you, apart from childbearing, to know you are infinitely valuable and adored by God (Isaiah 54:1-8).
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have lost children. Some of those children were lost before they were even born. We want you to know that the mourners are blessed because they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have had abortions. We want you to know the forgiveness of God. Through that forgiveness, we want to reassure you that you can one day meet the child you never knew (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have had some or all of your children unwed. We want to show you God’s forgiveness, and let you know that although there are accidental parents, there are no accidental children (Psalm 139:19). God has used your sin for good.
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday are adoptive or foster parents. We want to affirm your full motherhood and celebrate that these children are yours as much as if you had borne them. We want to thank you for modeling what God has done for us (Galatians 4:4-5).
Some of you who will worship with us on Sunday have no biological children, but through evangelism and mentorship have many children in Christ (1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4). We want to celebrate how you have been fruitful and multiplied for the Kingdom.
For those of you who are godly mothers, teaching your children about compassion, faith, and love, we want to honor you. We want to celebrate those of you who, through godly mothers have come to follow God (2 Timothy 1:5).
Through the Scripture, we want to teach people how to honor their mothers and teach mothers how to be good ones. We want to rescue the family from the chains our modern world has wrapped around it, and we want to use it as a tool for raising up children as disciples of Christ.
How can we possibly fit all of these things into one Sunday and a Hallmark card? Who can honor that which aligns with God’s plan, while still loving and celebrating those who do not, and do it all in an hour? Above all that, we have to make clear that motherhood is not your ultimate purpose as a woman! Glorifying God is. The Bible calls being unwed and without a family a gift, although everything in culture (inside and outside of the church) screams the opposite (Matthew 19:11-12).
How can we do it? We can’t. This is the kind of rhythm which we must establish every week. So, tomorrow, we will try to honor moms of all stripes. We ask for your understanding and compassion as we do it imperfectly. Know this year that we love and value all of you!
But, for next year, I have a better plan.
Let the church handle these things weekly, shaping hearts and minds for God’s glory and into His design. We’ll keep honoring mothers and revealing the Master Plan for families. But annually? Move Mother’s Day to Monday and let the employers deal with it. 🙂
– Brother Justin
PS Cynics: I did get something for my wife and my mom already, I am not just looking for an extra day. 🙂