The Influence of a Christian Mother
May 1, 2003 - In this uncertain hour of the world's history, when the very foundations of the Christian home seem to be yielding to the battering rams of unbelief, selfishness and immorality, we need to consider the subject of motherhood.
A Message by Billy Graham
Abraham Lincoln said, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." Whether women realize it or not, they owe everything they have to Jesus Christ. In many parts of the world, a woman is still considered almost a beast of burden. It was Christ who elevated womanhood.
The Bible is full of stories of women of God who contributed to making this world a better place in which to live and who helped to advance the Kingdom of God.
After the passing of Israel through the midst of the Red Sea, it was Miriam who led the people in their rejoicing, saying, "Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously" (Exodus 15:21, KJV).
Ruth put God first and as a result became the ancestress of King David.
Deborah was one of the judges of Israel.
Queen Esther took her life in her hands to plead for her doomed people.
A widow's obedience to God's command sustained the prophet Elijah, "and the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail" (1 Kings 17:16, KJV).
A young captive maid told the wife of Naaman about the man of God who would cure Naaman of his leprosy.
A timid woman's faith in Christ brought healing of body when Jesus said, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole" (Matthew 9:22, KJV).
A woman's grateful love caused her to break an alabaster box and pour precious ointment on Jesus' head.
A woman's thankfulness caused her to wash the Master's feet with her tears and to wipe His feet with her hair.
A poor widow's offering of two mites (small coins worth only a fraction of a penny) caused Jesus to say, "This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury" (Mark 12:43, KJV).
Mary, blessed among women, gave birth to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Mary Magdalene, bringing spice to anoint Him, first greeted the risen Lord and received the first commission: "Go, tell" (Cf. John 20:17).
We could mention scores of others on the royal list who have been followers of God and whose names are recorded in Holy Scripture.
The Scripture teaches that the mother is crucial in the family and in the home. The Christian family, in the historic sense in which we have known it, is an institution based on the love of one man for one woman, symbolizing Christ's love for His bride, the Church. Today, due to so many different situations, the definition of family has been stretched—and sometimes distorted.
Living for Christ at Home
Living creatively for Christ in the home is the acid test for any Christian man or woman. It is far easier to live an excellent life among your friends—when you are putting your best foot forward and are conscious of public opinion—than it is to live for Christ in your home. Your own family circle knows whether Christ lives in you and through you.
If you are a true Christian, you will not give way at home to a bad temper, impatience, faultfinding, sarcasm, unkindness, suspicion, selfishness or laziness. Instead, you will reveal through your daily life the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience and all the other Christian virtues that round out a Christlike personality.
A Mother's Influence
Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children. The Bible relates the stories of some women who had an evil influence on their children. Some of the greatest criminals of history have had bad mothers, but many of the noble characters and fine leaders of history have had good, God-fearing mothers.
We are told that George Washington's mother was pious. On the other hand, we are told that Nero's mother was a murderess and that the dissolute Lord Byron's mother was a proud and violent woman.
Today, with a high divorce rate and with the newspapers filled with stories of violent and vicious people, we are in desperate need of consecrated Christian mothers.
Lord Shaftesbury was correct in his famous statement, "Give me a generation of Christian mothers, and I will undertake to change the whole face of society."
If we had more Christian mothers, we would have less delinquency, less immorality, less ungodliness and fewer broken homes. Every mother owes it to her children to accept Christ as her personal Savior, so that she may be the influence for good in the lives of those whom Christ has graciously given to her.
I have known women (and men) who find time for criticism, gossip, faultfinding and complaining. They somehow make time for idle game shows and give far too much attention to things of the flesh. Others have too little time for the enduring things of life. They are too busy doing this and that. They have great activity and much doing, but they lack time for building Christian character in their children.
Both kinds—the too idle and the too busy—need to take time for meditation and quiet repose in prayer to God. They need time to cultivate their souls, so that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.
You Cannot Do It Alone
We read in 2 Timothy that Timothy's mother was a woman of prayer and faith. Like many mothers today, she must have realized her inadequacy in the training of her son, and she had come to know the power of prayer in her home.
One of the most difficult jobs in the world is to bring up a family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord during these terrible days in which we live. And it is even more difficult for single mothers or fathers.
With the media full of filth, with immoral conditions in schools across the nation, and with a thousand temptations that previous generations never knew, it is only by the grace of God that a child can grow up in the fear of the Lord. Mothers cannot do it alone. They must spend time on their knees in prayer.
The Most Important Job
Christian parent, even if you fail to teach your children how to adapt themselves to the social life of this world, don't fail to teach them how to live! The Scripture says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, KJV).
Your first and foremost job as a parent is to train your children to know Christ. When they know Him, everything else will fall in line.
My father and mother made me go to Sunday school, and on Sunday afternoons my mother would read Bible stories to us. I sometimes rebelled, thinking that she was too rigid and that she was trying to cram religion down my throat. But later—and always on Mother's Day—I would call her by long-distance telephone and tell her again of my love and appreciation for those early years in which she and my father trained me in the things of God.
A Door Open Wide
Are your children Christians? Have you done all in your power to win them?
If they have not come to know Christ as Lord and Savior, and if they are not living the kind of life you think they should live, keep praying. God will hear and will answer your prayers.
What about you—do you know Christ? You may have had a Christian mother who has prayed for you many times, but as yet you have never surrendered your heart and life to Christ. Perhaps your mother has gone on to heaven. She is there waiting for you. The door is still open—the Savior is still inviting, appealing, entreating, wooing and welcoming. But you need to respond.
You ask, "What do I have to do?" Receive Christ as your Savior today. Let Him forgive all of your sins and change your life.
He is waiting for you to come to Him. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock," says Jesus. "If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20, NIV).