A Candid Approach on Mother’s Day

Last Sunday was my second Mother’s Day as pastor of FBC Diana. Here is the brief statement I made at the opening of our service on Mother’s Day 2016.

A mother found a paper on the table one morning. It was a bill from her young son. “For being good: $1. For taking out the trash: $1. For feeding the dog: $1. For brushing teeth: $1. Total: $4.” At lunch, later that day, the young boy saw a note beside his plate at the table. It was a bill from his mother. “For making your breakfast: nothing. For washing your clothes: nothing. For driving you everywhere you go: nothing. Total: nothing.”

The message was clear, mom does all she does because she loves, not because she will be rewarded.

And yet, the Scripture speaks of the praises of her husband and children for the “excellent” wife and mother described in Proverbs 31. Certainly there is good reason to praise, to admire, and to honor a wife and mother who exhibits such wisdom and faithfulness. However, we would miss the entire point of Proverbs 31 if we overlook a single verse. The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom, and the constant refrain is that wisdom is granted by God to those who fear Him (that is revere and love Him). No less than 20 times, the author presents the “fear of the LORD” as desirable and profitable. Proverbs 31:30 is the last of these verses, and it says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” That’s it! That’s what Proverbs 31 is all about!

Since this is true, then we may (and should) put less emphasis on the accomplishments of this wife and mother. Rather, we should emphasize the wonderful benefits of a life devoted to God and motivated by reverence towards Him. This is great news for all women, not just for moms.

As a pastor, I am aware of many people who love Mother’s Day. Some moms are able to convince their children to come to church on at least this one Sunday each year. However, I am also aware of the reality that not everyone is so excited about Mother’s Day. There are likely some women here who want to be mothers, but have been unable to conceive. There are women here who have lost one or more children in death, and there are many here whose mothers have already died.

Additionally, I am aware of the painful reality that some mothers were or are not exemplary mothers. The thought of your mother may not bring back fond memories, and the thought of your own attempt at motherhood may stir feelings of guilt and despair. All of this swirls about in my head during the days that lead up to Mother’s Day, and as I stand before you now I nearly tremble at the thought of addressing such a complex and emotional matter, so full of expectation.

Since I am inadequate for the task (as with so many of my pastoral responsibilities), I find great confidence and comfort in the Word of God on this matter. So, let us briefly return to the oft-cited Mother’s Day passage – Proverbs 31.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30).

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. A woman who reveres God, is devoted to God, and is marked by a heart-felt love for God; that woman is to be praised.

Well, if your mother fears the Lord, then praise her this day. Make the time to praise God for His gift of such a mother. For a God-fearing mother is a true gift indeed.

If your life has enjoyed the benefit of a God-fearing, God-honoring, and God-loving woman, then be grateful for such an influence. Praise her, and praise God for her.

If you hope to be a praise-worthy woman, then you should not aim to be like the Proverbs 31 woman… at least not in any way she is described before verse 30. If you try to accomplish these feats in order to receive the praise of others, then you will be sorely disappointed.

Rather, begin with the fear of the LORD, for here is the beginning of wisdom, and here is the true treasure.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30).

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