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If you had A Mother Who | Sermon May 12, 2024

Updated: Jun 20

Mother’s Day 2024


If You Had A Mother Who….


Scripture: Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:2-3; Genesis 16:1-6   


Good morning, Strangers Rest and happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers present and those watching via live stream. The title of my Mother’s Day message is “If You Had a Mother Who ______.” I will fill in the blank throughout and at the end of this message.


Deuteronomy 5:16 says, “(16) Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”  Likewise, Paul referenced this Scripture when he wrote in Ephesians 6:2-3, “(2) Honor your mother and father’, which is the first commandment with promise: (3) ‘That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’” When we read these two Scriptures, we find that Deuteronomy captures what God told Moses when He gave him the Ten Commandments and Paul was quoting from these Ten Commandments in his letter to the church at Ephesus. What stands out clearly is that our respect/honor for our mothers (and fathers) is so important to God that He attached a promise and/or warning to the commandment. This commandment is not one to be taken lightly even though many children probably do not even think about it when they are mouthing off to their parents.  


Mother’s Days have been somewhat difficult for me as my mother died the Saturday before Mother’s Day in 1986. What has made it easier is celebrating my wife as a mother on this day and the other mother figures that God placed in my life after my mother died. And men, I want to say this up front, if you are married and your wife bore your children, even though she is not your mother you should celebrate her. I have interacted with men in the past who believed that since their wives were not their mother, they did not need to celebrate them. If you have taken that stance in the past, I want you to know that you were wrong and today is the first day of the rest of your life to get it right! Celebrate your wife!


Now, for me, I was and always shall be a “momma’s boy.” As a matter of fact, I am a card-carrying member of the “Momma’s Boys Club.” If you talk to anyone who knew me back in those days, they will confirm my lifelong membership. I truly loved my mother. We called her “Muddear”, which I thought was just our family’s name for her. But I have since learned that there are many “Muddears” in the south. My mother was special to me because of who she was and how she lived. I had a very close relationship with her until the day she died in 1986 when I was 25 years old. We could talk about everything and because I was in ministry, she often confided in me what she was thinking about certain things happening within her faith walk. Because of my mother, I learned as a child to respect her as there was no grey area as to what my rights were as a child. But I never doubted my mother’s love and support of me and my siblings.


I remember after I had gotten my first job as a teenager that I spent a lot of my money buying clothes. Growing up my brother and I were of similar size so we would share some of our clothes as brothers do. My parents did not have a lot of money so we wore our clothes until they literally wore out. I was one of those kids who put paper in the bottom of my shoes when the hole appeared. I was one of those, like others in our neighborhood, whose friends made fun of when the soles of my tennis shoes separated from the top and would make the flapping sound when I walked. Some of you know what I am talking about. So, when I started earning money after school, I spent some of my money on clothes. So, there was this one time when I was going out somewhere and my mother looked at me, smiled and said, “Boy you always want to dress like you have a million dollars and you don’t have a pot to pee in (she used another word but for this message this sounds better.” So, after Nikki and I got married and we got our first home on the base, I called my mother. I was acting all excited and she asked me what was wrong. I said “Muddear guess what?” Now she was starting to get excited too thinking I had some great news. When she asked me what was happening, I responded with “I finally got my own pot to pee in!!!” My mother immediately knew what I was talking about and busted out laughing and simply said “Praise God.” She was very proud of me and we laughed for a while after that.


All of us, in one way or another, are products of a mother. Most of the things we needed to know, somewhere along the line, a mom, whether our own or someone else’s, probably taught us a lot of it. For example, here are a few life lessons that mothers have been teaching their children for years. I do want to say that I am not knocking fathers, but most of these sayings I actually only heard from mothers growing up. Mothers taught us:


Logic: “If everyone else jumps off the cliff are you going to jump too?”

How & When to Cook: “If you’re hungry, go in the kitchen and fix yourself something to eat. There are no servants in this house.”

Wisdom that comes with Age: “Keep on living, you’ll see, you’ll understand.”

Medicine: “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they will freeze that way.”

Humor: “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

Justice: “One day you will have kids of your own and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you will see what it’s like. I can’t wait!”

Recipes: “A hard head makes a soft behind.”

Fat Meat: One of my personal favorites: “You don’t believe fat meat is greasy, do you?”


These are some of the lessons that have been taught through the years by some of the most loving and God-fearing mothers that ever walked the earth. And even though most of us have had the experience of being around some good mothers, we sometimes have forgotten just how blessed we are because of them. This morning, I want to take this time and remind all of us how blessed we have been because of the mothers we have had in our lives. I want to do this by sharing with you the story of Hannah – the story of a mother who gave her child to God Who used that child as a prophet in Israel. Turn to First Samuel chapter one and we will begin reading at verse two.


“(2) And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children….(6) And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb. (7) So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat….(10) And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. (11) Then she made a vow and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.’ (12) And it happened, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli watched her mouth. (13) Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. (14) So Eli said to her, ‘How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!’ (15) But Hannah answered and said, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. (16) Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.’ (17) Then Eli answered and said, ‘Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.’…. (20) So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the LORD.”  (First Samuel 1:2, 6-7, 10-17, 20)


Hannah was barren and her rival, Peninnah, who had children and was also the wife of Hannah’s husband, threw it in her face every chance she got. Hannah was so miserable that she was constantly crying and began to be resentful toward the Lord. But on this day, she decided to go to the temple and, while crying out to the Lord, made a vow to God if He would give her a male child. She told God, “(11)….if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.Eli, the prophet, saw her crying and questioned her about it and she confessed everything to him. In verse 17, he tells Hannah, “……Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” Hannah gave birth to Samuel, the greatest prophet in Israel outside of Moses, a little over a year later. After Hannah weaned Samuel, which means he would have been somewhere between five and twelve years old, she brought him to Eli so that he could serve in the temple.


I wanted to share this record with you because of the vow or promise to God that Hannah made that included her willingness to sacrifice or give her son to the Lord. Peninnah, her rival, had several sons. Hannah only had one at this time, Samuel. While she loved her son, she was also a woman of her word. She kept her promise to the Lord and gave Samuel to God for safe keeping. Hannah knew that she would not see Samuel grow up the way most mothers see their children grow. Strangers Rest, this is an example of how mothers make sacrifices for their children. But Hannah’s story does not end there. When you keep reading into chapter two you see that Hannah keeps her word and every year, she took Samuel a new robe to wear as he ministered to the Lord. And it was during one of those annual visits when Eli blessed her and her husband. First Samuel 2:20-21 records, “(20) And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, ‘The LORD give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the LORD.’ Then they would go to their own home. (21) And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD.”


Hannah was blessed with three additional sons and two daughters because she gave Samuel to the Lord. And please do not forget that Samuel replaced Eli as God’s prophet in the land because Eli’s sons, who should have replaced him, were so evil that God destroyed them. Hannah gave her son to the Lord whom God raised up to be His prophet and voice of truth to the children of Israel. Mothers today continue to give their children to the Lord, some because of their love for the children and the Lord and some because they do not know what else to do with them. Regardless of the reason, a mother who gives her child to the Lord is putting her trust in God to do for her child what she herself cannot do. Praise God for these mothers!                 


When I think of Hannah, I think about all the mothers who have given their children to the Lord. I think about all the mothers who made their children participate in Church at an early age because they understood that once the child was grown, they would be making their own decisions and she wanted her child to have a foundation to build upon. When I think of Hannah, my mother, my wife and all of the other godly mother figure(s) that impacted my life, I think of the wife/mother mentioned in Proverbs chapter thirty-one. I want to read just a few verses from that chapter that stands out to me. Proverbs 31:10; 12-15; 20-21; 25-28 describes them this way, “(10) Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.... (13) She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. (14) She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. (15) She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants….(20) She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. (21) She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet…. (25) Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. (26) She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. (27) She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. (28) Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” When you read Proverbs 31, you see a strong wife and mother whose strength is not lost in her submission to her godly husband. She is described as smart, loving, and generous. She is so good at what she does that her husband is known by the elders because of her reputation in the community. This wife is a good mother – so good in fact that her children call her blessed!


There are many mothers who have passed through this world, some were good, and some were not. Some people measure the “goodness” of a mother based on whether she did things for them as they grew up under her guidance. You cannot ask some kids or teenager if they have a good mother because their frontal lobes are not fully developed and they may not fully understand the question. You see, sometimes you have to experience some things in life before you really understand what it means to have had a good mother. Sometimes we do not appreciate them while we are living with them but the knowledge of how blessed we are (or were) comes later when we have had time to be away from them and those lessons start coming back when we begin to experience some things on our own. But for those of you hearing this message today, I want to close with some things good mothers have consistently done for their children. Now if your mother has done any of these things for you, then you are blessed, whether she is still alive and with you presently or residing in heaven with her Lord and Savior, you are blessed! So, to the title of this message, if you had a mother who…..


Stopped you from leaving the house for school with clothes on that were so tight and revealing and were made with less than a half yard of fabric and barely covered you – bless her, you had a good mother! If she showed up at your school to see if you sneaked the clothes out of the house so you could change when you got to school – bless her and give God the praise!!! You see, your mother cared about the image you presented about yourself when your frontal lobe was not fully developed enough for you to know how to dress when you were out in public. She understood the doors that could be opened or closed based on how you dressed and she wanted you to know that early in life versus learning it later. If you think I am wrong, go to the mall in the winter and take note of how many pre-teens and teens you see walking around in 20-degree weather wearing flip flops and no coat. Oh, and by the way, while you’re looking at them, look at the adults who are setting the example!


Men, if you had a mother who told you to pull up your pants because no one wanted to see your underwear while you duck walked down the sidewalk as you tried to keep your pants up – bless her – you had a good mother! And bless her and give God some praise if after she told you once to pull them up and you chose to do it again and she shuck up on you and finished the job you started causing you a little embarrassment in front of your friends. You had a mother who cared enough about you that she did not want you duck walking down the street with your friends and tripping over your pants and falling down and busting your head on the sidewalk and then expecting her to take the household food money to pay for your emergency room visit. She was thinking way ahead of where your mind was!


If you were raised by a single mother who worked several jobs because she had to in order to provide for your every need and even gave you a few of your “wants”, bless her – you had a good mother! You see your mother worked several jobs to take care of you and to invest in you. Also, for those of you who grew up with both parents but your mother chose to leave the work force so she could be at home with you because that is what you needed at the time – bless her – you had a good mother! If she stayed home and was there for you when you got home from school and was present at all of your school functions – bless her and give God the praise! She made an investment in you and that investment possibly kept you off the streets, out of jail and alive to hear or read this message.


If you had a mother who washed your mouth out with soap when you used some words in the house because you forgot where you were – bless her – you had a good mother! You had a mother who was willing to teach you early how to converse using appropriate language skills. If you had a mother who once had to slap the taste out of your mouth (the taste for bad language) because you did not learn from the soap – bless her and give God the praise! You had a mother who believed that sometimes a physical touch of love drove out a lot of stupidity. If you don't believe me, look around at parents who have children living in their homes and they are afraid of them. My parents were never afraid of us. Even though I was taller than some of my teachers in school, they were never afraid of me. The old members of the Church were never afraid of us! You understand what I am saying? They were not afraid of us because we were actually afraid of them!!! Parents – it’s time to stop being afraid of the children God has put under your authority!


If you had a mother who “drugged” you to Church; would not let you fall asleep during service; made you go to Sunday School; made you sing in the choir; made you participate in the youth group; made you give some of your allowance in the offering plate; made you learn speeches for the Easter and Christmas programs; made you become a junior usher and stand during the service; bless her and give God the praise! If your mother had not done those things, you might not be sitting here this morning or reading this message online! And even if you are an EMS attendee, it’s because you had a mother that you cherished enough to want to be with her during special services that were important to her. For those of you who does not know what an EMS attendee is, it’s those who generally attend on Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Now if any of you here are that person then please feel free to prove me wrong and come back next Sunday. 


If you had a mother who prayed for you because she had you on her mind – bless her – you had a good mother. Thank her for those many prayers that she prayed for you while you were too unawares to pray for yourself! Many angels have been dispatched from heaven because of the prayers of mothers!


If you had a mother who told you “No” and stressed that her job was not to be your BFF – best friend forever, then bless her – you had a good mother. Your mother understood that she could not effectively do her job as a mother and train you while also trying to be your BFF. She understood that in order to ensure your longevity and well-being on this earth she had to instill some things in you that you might not like and if you saw her as your BFF, you might think you had a choice as to if you had to listen to what she was telling you. Good mothers might become BFFs later in life, but that cannot be during the early training stages.


If you had a mother who told you the truth about yourself and about life, bless her! You had a good mother. You see, your mother did not want you growing up thinking everything would be about you and turn out the way you wanted. She did not want you believing that the world would reshape itself to meet your needs just because some of your friends thought it would. When she told you the truth about yourself, she was helping you to see what everyone else was or would be seeing if you remained as you were. Not every mother tells their children the truth – but attempt to placate them by telling them what they want to hear and this leads to trouble down the road.


My mother told me the truth. When I was a teenager, I had some anger issues. I won’t go into all of those details, but suffice it to say that the chip on my shoulder weighed me down. There was one situation that I had in High School where I was disrespectful to one of my teachers because he had been disrespectful to me. You see in my anger I believed I had some rights to respond in kind. A decision was proposed to kick me out of school and send to me to an alternative school. The principal pulled my records and was surprised to see that my grades ranked me in the top 17% of my graduating class. He went a step further and contacted some of my teachers from Junior High and was told that I was a good student even though I was not giving it my best effort. Based on what he learned about me, the decision to kick me out of school was taken off the table. But what hurt was the look on my mother’s face when she was brought in on the discussion and was told of my behavior. When we got home my mother sat me down to talk. With tears in her eyes, she told me that if I did not change my attitude, I would not live to see my 17th birthday. My mother told me the truth and I believed her. I am here today because I believed her.


As I shared at the beginning, my mother has been gone a long time and I still miss her. So, if any of what I have shared this morning brought back to your mind a memory of your mother or mother figure, I am asking that you give God the praise for the mother or mother figure(s) who so influenced your life that you accepted Christ as your personal Savior and will be able to live an eternity with them when all is said and done on this side. If your mother is still alive today, please do something special for her. Make it a priority today to look her in the eyes and tell her you love her and appreciate the sacrifices she made for you. Hug her. Shower her with kisses. If you do not have the best relationship with your mother, let today be the day that you decide to do something about it. Stop waiting on your mother to apologize for whatever happened in the past, even if that past was yesterday. Remember, one day you will be where I am wishing you could have one more conversation with your mother. If your mother has passed and you still hold some resentment for things left unsaid, let it go. You can do nothing about it now, but you can choose to live a different life without the resentment. Do not pass up this opportunity to express your love as tomorrow is not promised to us.


I hope that each of you will have a blessed Mother Day today!


Until next time, “The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26)

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