There’s an old Spanish proverb: “An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” So, on this Mother’s Day weekend, let’s thank God for many ounces of godly mothers.
Look into a classroom with me, 27 years in the past. The event about to be described never happened but it very well could have. There I am in math class and Mr. Spurgeon, my sixth grade teacher is reviewing fractions.
“Jon, suppose your mom baked a pie for your family — your parents and you 10 kids (the other four were still on the way). What fraction of the pie would you get?”
The shy boy with the home haircut who loved math sitting in the back answers: “1/11th.” Mr. Spurgeon said, “No, remember that there are 12 of you — mom plus dad plus 10 kids.” “Yes, but one of them is my mom, and she would say she didn’t want any so that we could each have more.”
Like I said, that classroom situation didn’t actually happen — but I would’ve been right had I answered like that. That’s how my mom was — all love, all putting us ahead of herself.
That’s how she is. So, I am sending her a card. I will call her on Sunday and wish her a happy Mother’s Day, but you know that’s not enough.
Every day, I’ll strive to appreciate how God has blessed me through what she’s done for me every day of my life, not only on Mother’s Day.
Friends, whether you realize it or not yet, your mom has had an incredible impact on your life.
And moms, whether they’ve admitted it or not yet — you’ve affected your children — and that goes for you virtual moms, you second moms, you adopted moms out there, too. Abraham Lincoln once said, “No man is poor who has had a godly mother.”
And I’m not just talking about these things because they are nice things to say on Mother’s Day.
I’m saying them because they are true, because God says things like this. Today let’s look at what Paul wrote to Timothy about his mom. Paul was like a father to Timothy, a father in the faith, but Paul appreciated the work Timothy’s mom had done.
At the beginning of his letter he said, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
Of all the things she had done for Timothy, this was key — she shared her faith. And it wasn’t just that he was a Christian because that’s what his mom called herself.
Paul said it is clear that it lives in him now, too. So how did that happen? Well, I wasn’t there in Timothy’s home growing up, but I can tell you how my mom affected me — whether it was the example of seeing her stand by the counter every morning doing her Bible readings before the house woke up (she stood because she never got enough sleep and didn’t want to doze off while reading), or the fact that there was no question that we’d be in church every Sunday, or the passion with which she volunteered for so many ways to serve her Savior.
It is that living faith that gasped when she was sitting in that living room listening to the officer tell about the drunk driver who took her daughter away from her…but in the next breath confess that Erika was with her Savior, rejoicing.
It was watching the eight hours worth of people line up out onto the street to give her comfort in the next days, with tears in their eyes.
And every one of them going away marveling at the strength they received through mom’s faith.
How do you get through the storms in your life? That faith, that real faith. God gave it to you as a gift. Who did he use? If it was mom — thank her for that this weekend.
And I realize that not everyone has a mom like I do — in fact, I’m convinced that no one has a mom quite like I do. But if your mom has been a blessing to your faith, praise God and thank her. And if not, praise God for whomever he has used. What an amazing gift! And it is a gift we can use. Look at verse 6-7.
For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
God has given us a gift. Let’s use it. You have faith — and so Paul said — use it. Get it fired up. How? Through the word. And then Paul talks about that faith, the spirit it has given us.
And the spirit we have is not one of fear or cowardice. In fact, it is just the opposite. It is a spirit of power (the power of a powerful tool — God’s word).
It is a spirit of love. And if you remember what John wrote in 1 John 4:18, “that love drives out fear.” The spirit of love we have doesn’t coexist with fear. It drives it out.
Think of that picture — love driving out fear. Can we understand that? I think a great way to picture it is — again — mom.
It was mom we ran to when the bee was threatening, because in that love we found safety. Fear was gone. Remember how mom’s ear could calm our nerves, how her advice gave ease, how her smile can drive away whatever the stress of the day is? Why? Well, there is love there. It is proven. It is powerful. It is effective.
How much greater a spirit of love haven’t we received from our God. We had every reason to be afraid. The monster in our spiritual closet isn’t imaginary.
It is real and powerful — with the fangs of conscience and the face of guilt, with the strong arms of temptation and the claws of shame.
And that monster is powerful, because we know, and that prowling lion the devil reminds us, that every time we fail — we act like his children, children of the devil, not children of our loving Father.
But God’s love for us overcame all that as he sacrificed more than any mom ever has. He went to the cross and grave to defend and protect us.
He rose again to provide for us eternally. That’s love that drives out all fear.
Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Worship every Sunday is at 10:30 a.m. Full sermons and more information can be found at abidinggrace.com.