The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

Sisters, becoming a mother changes life for you, doesn’t it? The first time a woman becomes pregnant, she will start wearing maternity clothes the day the doctor says she is pregnant. On her second pregnancy, she will wear her normal clothes for as long as she can. And by her third or fourth pregnancy, a mother will wear anything that fits because she doesn’t have time to get dressed.

Mother’s day is traditionally the day when children give something back to their mothers for all the spit they produced to wash dirty faces, for all the noses they wiped, for all the bloody knees they "made well" with a kiss, for making them finish something they said they couldn’t do, and for not believing them when they said, "I hate you". Their mother’s day cards probably won’t reflect it, but what they are trying to say is, "Thank you, Mom, for giving me a chance to live and for being there when I needed you."

The first mother was named Eve, which means life or life-giving. God made woman for that purpose and every woman has that innate desire to give life and be a mother to someone. The mothering instinct extends to other people’s children, too. But motherhood is not for the weak and foolish. It is the hardest and the most important job in the world. It has been said, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”

However today, full-time motherhood is dismissed by many “as wasting your life”. It is as if raising tomorrow’s generation places a woman in some inferior category of less-than-fulfilled womanhood. Moms who specialize in the home and raising children are made to feel cheated, or lazy, or incompetent to do anything else if they are not employed in some position outside of the home.

This feminist philosophy has caused a severe decline in full-time stay-at-home moms over the last five decades. And, it is no small coincidence, that paralleling the decrease in traditional families (employed dad, homemaking mom), we have witnessed a rise in teenage crime, child abuse, unmarried pregnancies, and divorce.

Now, we cannot lay those facts entirely at the feet of America’s women. Absentee dads and irresponsible men are part of the problem, too, causing mothers to be the sole support for the family. Mostly it is everyone’s fault – that vague culprit we call society. Culturally, we have said success means having more – a bigger payday. We have robbed the home of what it needs most – Mom’s presence. As a result of all these factors, the children suffer.

More than ever before, babysitters, nurseries, and public schools are raising our children. The tragedy in that is more and more children are being taught ethics outside the home, and what they are taught is often worldly rather than godly.

They learn the world’s morality, “If it feels right, it is right.” They learn Humanism, “God doesn’t exist and we are fully capable of everything ourselves.” They learn Evolution is a scientific fact and Creation is a myth. They learn they can have two mommies and a daddy is not necessary. They are told they can determine their own gender and be whatever they feel like that day.

We live in the society Jeremiah spoke of in Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.

We cannot let the minds of our children be influenced by somebody else’s false teachings. We must not let ungodly media entertain them, nor ungodly teachers educate them. As parents, we are commanded to train our children and we are responsible for our children’s spiritual safety. We need godly mothers and fathers who are determined and say, “I will teach my children to walk in the way of the Lord.” If we do that, God promises:

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Motherhood is a full-time job under the best of conditions. Moms need more wisdom, knowledge, and stamina than any other profession to be prepared to deal with children. Think of the daily tasks: psychologist, warden, doctor, counselor, hygienist, dietitian, to name a few. Moms do all that, not for money, but out of love. Because she doesn’t get a salary, society does not give full-time moms respect, even saying she doesn’t work.

On the other hand, the wages of motherhood, performed with attention to, and submission under the will of God, are an incredible payday. God recognizes and rewards the labor of love and obedience that mothers give to their families.

For example, Eunice was a Messianic Jew who lived in Lystra, a city in today’s Turkey. Her husband was a Greek gentile. Her mother, Lois, lived with them. Eunice had at least one child, named Timothy.

Paul visited Lystra on his first missionary journey. During his second missionary journey, Paul stopped again in Lystra and invited Timothy to go with him, which he did.

Timothy became Paul’s most trusted friend. He called Timothy his “true son in the faith”. Timothy co-authored with Paul six letters to the churches, pastored the church at Ephesus, and went to prison for his faith. There is much more we could say about Timothy, but here’s what Paul had to say about him to the church in Philippi.

Philippians 2:19-22 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

So why am I talking about Timothy today? Because, Timothy is who he is, because of His mother. Paul acknowledged this in his second letter to Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

In spite of having a heathen father, Timothy had a sincere faith, because of his mother and grandmother. It is a fact that a mother influences our spirit, soul, and body more than anyone during childhood. And if she is a godly mother, she will teach us the Scriptures and demonstrate how to live accordingly. She will tell us about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sisters, do not be confused. While a woman is not to teach or have authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:11), a mother is commanded, along with a father, to teach and have authority over boys in order to produce men who will honor God and honor women.

Proverbs 29:15 & 17 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother…Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

Parents, the earlier you begin this godly discipline with your children, the more rest and delight you will have. The longer you delay or ignore disciplining your children, the more rebellion, disappointment, and shame you will have to endure.

Eunice not only disciplined Timothy, she taught him the Scriptures as a way of life. Paul acknowledged this in his second letter to Timothy, (2 Timothy 3:14-17)But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Mothers make a huge difference. Mom, you are a child’s favorite and most important person in the world. After all, who do children run to when they are hurt? Mom. Why? Because when you’re hurt, mom hugs you and tells you it will be okay and kisses your boo-boo’s. What does dad do? He tells you, “Rub some dirt on it, and get back out there.”

When we read that Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him the Scriptures, it probably was not because Timothy was some five-year-old who was on fire for God. And no ten-year-old is going to voluntary wake up early on the Sabbath and memorize Scripture for fun. No, they actively taught Timothy the Bible, before he knew God, to help him find God. They didn’t leave it up to him to make a decision as to what he believed then start giving him information. They taught him the Word of God so he could have faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Thus, Timothy would grow up to be one of the early ministers of the Church and a faithful companion and coworker alongside Paul. This was achieved in spite of the negative influences of living in a Gentile nation and in a home with an unbelieving father.

How did Eunice and Lois accomplish this? We can be sure they didn’t plunk Timothy down in front of a TV or give him a phone to play with and then ignore him.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Most likely, this describes the home Eunice maintained and the lifestyle Timothy experienced. Timothy was constantly taught the Scriptures by the decorations in the home and by the way his mother and grandmother lived and the things they talked about.

We are to diligently keep God’s Word ever before our children. Faith is not just a once a week discussion on Sundays. We are commanded to teach these things to our children by our words and deeds every moment of the day. Not only should we constantly teach and demonstrate the faith to our children, we should always pray for them. Can you imagine how fervently Eunice and Lois prayed for Timothy after he left home to go with Paul?

Some of you may not have been fortunate to grow up with godly parents. If you grew up without such influence, you can be that influence in your own home, and a Christian legacy can begin with you.

Sisters, if your children are grown and have their own families now, you are not finished. God’s Word says that you are to mentor the younger women and mothers.

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

I cannot show young women how to raise children and be submissive to their own husbands. I have no experience with being a woman or a mother. But you grandmothers and great-grandmothers can teach and show the younger mothers how to raise their children in the Lord, how to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands. That is your ministry!

Like everything else, in the end, it is all about Jesus. Eunice, Lois, Timothy, and Paul were teaching and preaching about Jesus. That is what is most important. All of us must share Jesus with those around us. But sharing Jesus begins at home with our families. If the teachings of Jesus and His written Word aren’t followed at home, we have little to share outside the home. We cannot teach our children or other people about someone we don’t know and we don’t follow. If you don’t know Christ nor His Word, you have nothing to share about Him with others.

To know Him, you must first believe Jesus Christ is alive and is the Son of God who atoned for your sin on the Cross. Then you can begin a relationship with Jesus by making Him your Lord. That means obeying Him according to His written Word.

Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The first act of obedience is to follow Jesus in baptism, where you die to your old life and are born again of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of Christ will dwell in you, lead and guide you according to God’s Word, convict you of right and wrong, and conform you to the image of Jesus Christ all during the rest of your life.