Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sermon--Mother's Day 2006--The Power of a Mother

The Power of a Mother

On this day that we honor mothers, its good for us to think about how much you really do. Being a mother is not a walk in the park…

By the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work and I don’t think vacation time is given for it..

I’m aware that Mother’s Day is a difficult time for some of you.

Maybe you want to be a mother but you can’t be for some reason
Perhaps some of you have not had the best relationship with mother
Some of you have had a mother who has recently died, making this day hard
Some of you mothers have lost a child
Some of you mothers feel the pain of a wayward child this morning
And, some of you are flying solo as you work hard to nurture your child’s faith

I know it can be hard but we need to recognize how a mother can make a significant spiritual impact on her children. A mother has a tremendous opportunity to lay a foundation of faith for her children.
Four scholars were arguing over Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beauty and eloquent old English. Another said he liked the New American Standard Version for its literalism and how it moves the reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original text. The third scholar was sold on the New Living Translation for its use of contemporary phrases and idioms that capture the meaning of difficult ideas. After being quiet for a moment, the fourth scholar admitted: “I have personally preferred my mother’s translation.” When the other scholars started laughing, he said, “Yes, she translated the Scriptures. My mom translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I have ever read.”

Mothers, what kind of Bible is your child reading when her or she observes your life? If yours are raise, then what kind of Bible did they read? Are you looking for ways to instill a respect for the Word of God into the lives of your children? Remember, you can make a significant spiritual impact on your children. As an example of the kind of influence a mother can have, lets look at 1 Samuel 1 and the mother of Samuel—Hannah. Hannah was able to lay a foundation of faith in the life of her son Samuel that influenced the nation of Israel for over 40 years. The first thing we need to look at in her foundation is…
Hannah’s pain related to motherhood is the foundation God started with.

1. Hannah’s Pain—v. 1-8

a. V. 2—The First pain is having to compete for her husband’s affections. Every instance of polygamy in the OT is full of strife, conflict and pain for the husband, for the wives and for the children. These accounts are merely describing it, not condoning or suggesting we do it.

The courts in the near future may very well make polygamy legal in the US but it certainly won’t make it right nor a pleasant experience. But we as a church must be prepared to deal with that eventual possibility.

b. The second was because as v. 6 says—“the LORD had closed her womb.” God is clearly understood as the One ultimately in control of the process of children. For reasons or causes she could not fathom or understand, God had not allowed her to have children. As proven with Abram & Sarai with Isaac—God can give children whenever He desired to. But Hannah had her faith tested, her womanhood questioned by the lack of children—and it was a painful experience that some of you here today know about. More and more couples are struggling having children and we need to be praying for & encouraging them.

c. To make it worse, V. 6-7—Provocation from her rival who had kids. Penninah rubbed it in. Cruelty knows no bounds—she’s forgetting it could easily have been her without kids. But we tend to resent and hurt those we’re most afraid of. Penninah couldn’t understand why her husband loved Hannah more than her—so she took it out on Hannah and reminded her of God’s favor—and thought of herself as the better woman, the better wife.

d. All that pain could have destroyed Hannah’s faith, could have led to resentment. Instead Hannah took her Pain to God, where she should have.

2. Hannah’s Prayer & Promise—v. 9-11
a. Her pain is still evident—prayer and tears are often appropriate and welcome in praying to God—they show an open and unveiled heart—where you aren’t holding anything back from Him. Being Honest with God is the best place to start. Children and tears and prayer often go hand in hand in life—tears of joy over their successes and sadness at their hurts.

b. Hannah in vs. 11 is already praying for her children even though she has never seen them yet. There is nothing greater that a mother can do than to pray for and especially pray with their children. Hannah’s heart for prayer was not lost on Samuel either.

c. In the midst of that hurt, Hannah is still turning to the right place—to the LORD Almighty—the One who had sovereignty over all things and powers in the universe. Hannah is an example of where we need to turn in the midst of pain—we cannot let it drive us away from God, instead, God desires the pain to draw us to Him. She cries out to Him pleading that He will have mercy and remember her—not just think about but act on her behalf and give her a son. She is calling on God to remove her pain, remover her sorrow and her shame, to lift her up and give her one of the greatest joys life has to offer—that of being a mother.

d. Hannah recognizes that If God will do that for her, then the child does not really belong to her, but he will be a gift of God. So in her prayer, she promises that this child will be dedicated to God from birth. All the days of his life will be for God and for His glory, not hers. She won’t even cut his hair.

e. That is another important foundation—that we are only stewards of what God has given—everything is His to do with as He sees fit—be that a son, be that a womb, be that money, a job, a life, a nation. He has the right to us, not just as the Creator, but even moreso as believers who have given their lives to our Savior—we are not our own, we were bought with a price. Whatever God has given you, have you dedicated it to God?

f. If God has blessed you with children, have you dedicated them to God? If you don’t have any children, have you dedicated yourself to Him? We are stewards of whatever God chooses to give, we are responsible for how we use it.

g. Hannah was so intense in her prayer that when Eli observed her in v. 12, he thought she was intoxicated. READ 12-14--And she comes back in v. 15-16 and reveals her heart once again. Here we see her pouring out her heart in great anguish. And you can tell that even Eli was moved by her pain in vs. 17.

h. Then in v. 20—the LORD answered Hannah and gave her the gift of being a mother to a special child. Samuel sounds much like the Hebrew for “Heard of God”. Hannah gave a heartfelt prayer and made a promise to dedicate her boy to God—She responded to the work of God in her life. That is they kind of parent that God seeks for the children He gives. God desires us to respond to Him.

i. How many of you see prayer answered and do not respond to it? It’s easy for us to take it all in stride, go on with life as usual, even God’s answers to prayer. But if we go on without acknowledging and responding to God, then we will miss out on the real blessing God has for us and our ability to be a blessing to others.

j. Look at what Hannah did in 2:1-2 and how she described the God she loved. Because she responded to God, Hannah was able to have a tremendous impact on her child.

k. Because her heart was humble and open to God’s actions, Hannah was able to lay a foundation of Prayer and Promise that her son was able to see and follow.

3. Hannah’s Product—21-28
a. First—Samuel could learn the importance of following through and honoring your promises. READ 21-28—she gave her maybe 3 year old son to God at the very tabernacle where she had prayed. She gave him to serve the very Presence of God under Eli of all people—which is a strange idea considering in ch. 2:12 we begin to see that he hadn’t proved very good at raising his own sons. She was following through with her word, thanking God for His mercy and goodness.

And Samuel followed his mother’s example—by following and serving the LORD his whole life—always aware of God’s mercy and Grace.

b. Samuel was a son who served God —because of the example provided and the faithfulness lived by his mother. When God called Samuel even as a boy—he answered with eagerness and obedience. He worshipped according to vs. 28—and there is nothing greater we could want for our children than to have them worship with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. But look how his mother had supported him in his service.

c. 2:18-19—Samuel wore Hannah’s love every year. In those clothes his mother made for him every year, Samuel was able to see her love for him and her support for what he was doing.

d. Mother’s you know there is little more powerful in the life of your children than to encourage and support them in the good things they choose to do, especially encouraging a desire to serve God and minister in His Name.

e. Hannah’s Prayer and Promise Produced a great effect in her son.

f. Samuel was a son who loved God –after years of seeing the people of God far from the LORD, he led them to return to God. He first heard from God in ch. 3, while he was still a boy—Samuel led them to desire and seek a relationship with God like he had, where he was hearing from God and following Him in all of his ways.

g. Samuel even led the people into battle and by God’s power delivered them from the Philistines throughout his leadership.

h. Samuel was a son who served the people of God honorably as opposed to Eli’s sons—the son of a ordinary woman was more spiritual and influential than the sons of a priest—
your parents don’t define who you are, but they can be such an impact. Parents, you can shape the heart and character of your children.

i. Because of the foundation that his mother laid—Samuel was the last Judge, the first Prophet, and the one who anointed the first 2 Kings of Israel—Saul, and David--the man after God’s own heart, who was the direct descendant of our Savior Jesus Christ.

j. So Samuel even had a role and part to play in the coming of our Messiah. That is the impact his mother had on his life.

k. It is no guarantee that if you pray for and dedicate your children to the Lord that they will turn out great and honorable people. But without your godly influence, they would have had much less chance of one—you can lay the foundation, but they have to choose to build upon it.

l. So this morning, you mothers continue to lead by example your faith in Christ—lay a foundation for another generation, be they kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids. Continue to share the Love of God and the need of salvation through Jesus. Mothers, Thank you for the impact you have had on the lives of those you love and know that God will use them to build His Kingdom.

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