Honoring Our Moms
On May 9, 2021, we celebrated Mother’s Day. At the time, we were doing the series on my book The Pleasure of His Company. I felt it was appropriate to wait and do a post later for mothers, in order to not interrupt the series. Since this is Father’s Day weekend, I thought it would be good to honor moms and dads today and tomorrow.
“Exodus 20:12 lists the fifth of the Ten Commandments: ‘Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.’ Ephesians 6:2-3 echoes the commandment: 'Honor your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise), 'that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.'
“What does it mean to ‘honor’ one's parents? In the Old Testament, the word translated honor is the Hebrew kabad. It means to be heavy, weighty, rich, glorious. In other words, our parents should be a significant priority in our lives. They should not be ignored or taken lightly. Our choices should take their needs and wishes into serious consideration.
“The Greek word used in Ephesians 6:2 is timao. It means to determine the value of something; in this case, to determine that the value is high. We should give our parents a high value—even higher than ministry (Mark 7:9-13)—and treat them accordingly.
“What, specifically, does this look like? Basically, we are to take every passage that describes how we should treat others and apply it to our parents. Love them with agape love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Treat them with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Speak of them and to them with respect (Ephesians 4:29). Forgive them wholeheartedly (Matthew 18:21-22). And seek reconciliation when issues and misunderstandings get in the way (Matthew 18:15-17).
“The same applies to parents who act less than honorably. The Bible gives counsel for dealing with ungodly people. We may not have a close relationship (2 Corinthians 6:14), and we may put a lower value on their advice (Psalm 1). But we are still to love them (Matthew 5:44-47). And there is nothing in the Bible that indicates we are absolved of seeing to their basic needs when they are older (Mark 7:9-13).
“Christian scholars generally divide the Ten Commandments into two groups; the first four dealing with God and the last six with other people. But Jewish scholars divide the commandments evenly. This puts ‘honor your father and mother’ in the same category as those commandments telling us to honor God. God commissioned parents with the upbringing of their children. To reject His anointed is to reject Him.”1
Our friend, Quin Sherrer, shares some great thoughts and insights on honoring our mother’s:
“‘Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise— That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.’ (Ephesians 6:2-3 AMPC)
“Did you notice it is singular? Mother’s Day. Special, for your special mom. You shower her with hugs and gifts. A phone call. Maybe even a meal out.
“On Mother’s Day you probably think of honoring your birth mom, an adoptive mom, foster mom, stepmom, grandmother or even an aunt who ‘mothered’ you. Or perhaps you had a special “spiritual” mom who taught and encouraged you in your Christian walk. I’m glad there is a day set aside nationally to pay tribute to them.
“In America the ‘original’ Mother’s Day was observed in St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10, 1908 - spearheaded by Anna Jarvis as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children - but primarily to honor her own mother, Ann Marie Reese Jarvis, who died in 1905. Her mom had taught Sunday school classes for 20 years and was a peace advocate who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. In 1868 she organized ‘Mothers’ Day Work Clubs’ to teach local women how to properly care for their children. 2
“Another advocate for honoring mothers came from the abolitionist and suffragette, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote in 1870 a ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation,’ that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. 3 She also wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
“Gradually some of the 45 states began to adopt their own versions of Mother’s Day celebrations. But Anna Jarvis’ dream of a day to honor all moms came true on May 9, 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a national day to honor motherhood on the second Sunday of every May. Wilson had lobbied Congress for such an official day. In his first proclamation he stated, ‘that the holiday offered a chance to [publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.’ He also saw it as a way to honor mothers who had lost sons during World War I. 4
“‘Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.’ 5 Thus, flags flew across the nation.
“Anna never married or had children of her own—but her goal was to see that mothers in this country were recognized at least one day of the year. She hoped Mother’s Day would be a personal celebration between mothers and their families. This has occurred. 6
“Restaurants report it as their best day of the year. More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. We do it to honor those women who put up with us—and loved us—all those years. We display flags, wear white carnations, buy gifts, take mom out to eat.
“What about those of us who no longer have our precious moms? We can still remember and honor them by thanking God for their sacrifices, influence, and prayers.
“Have you given thought about sending a note of appreciation to any elderly moms who have influenced you too? Maybe counseled or prayed for you during a difficult season of your life? Or encouraged you in your career, or Christian journey? Someone else’s mom who nevertheless took time to care for you? Cards and phone calls can brighten their day and make them feel appreciated and special too.
“Let’s end by reading some about the virtuous wife and mother from The Passion Translation:
“Her teachings are filled with wisdom and kindness as loving instruction pours from her lips. She watches over the ways of her household and meets every need they have. Her sons and daughters arise in one accord to extol her virtues, and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms. ‘There are many valiant and noble ones, but you have ascended above them all!’ Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. So go ahead and give her the credit that is due, for she has become a radiant woman, and all her loving works of righteousness deserve to be admired at the gateways of every city!” (Proverbs 31:26-31 TPT)
Pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our mothers. We realize without them we would not have been born. We are so grateful for mothers who made sacrifices to see us through our good seasons and trying ones. Through challenging times as well as triumphant and joyous times. Forgive us for the way we sometimes took them for granted or disobeyed them or neglected to express our love and thanks. Show us creative ways to honor them. May we teach our children and grandchildren how to bless the mothers and grandmothers who have gone before them—especially for those who left footsteps of faith for them to follow. The trailblazers. Thank You for Jesus who took away our sins and gives us a promise of life after this one. Amen
I will endeavor to honor my mom—or the memory of her—and continue to thank my heavenly Father for blessing me through her.
You can learn more about Quin Sherrer and her books here.
Click below to watch the prayer.