A Mother’s Influence

A Mother’s Influence

The world has been greatly influenced by many, many women.  Women are valuable to this world and they are valuable to the church.

If you have your Bibles this morning, turn with me to 2 Timothy. We’ll be in two different places in 2 Timothy this morning. 2 Timothy 1:5 and then 2 Timothy 3:14-17. 2 Timothy 1:5 and then 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

I came across something this week as I was looking and preparing for a Mother’s Day message. These are things that mom would never say, even though we might want them to say. And these are things that mom would never say.

“How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back? Get closer.”  We have little devices now, so “how can you see your phone, put it closer to your face.”

“You just leave the lights on; it makes the house look cheery.”

“Let me smell that shirt, yeah, it’s good for another week.”

“Go ahead and keep that stray dog honey. I’ll be glad to feed and walk him every day for you.”

Things mom would never say right?  Things that mom would never say.

“Well, if Timmy’s mom says it’s OK, good enough for me.”

Things that mom would never say.

“The curfew is just a general time, it’s not like I’m running a prison around here.”  I don’t think that one is anywhere close to truth.

Oh, here’s a good one. Things that moms would never say.

“I don’t have a tissue, just wipe it on your sleeve now.”  Mom would never say that Dad might.   In fact, this Dad has.

Another one.

“Don’t bother wearing a jacket, the windshield is bound to improve.”

Things that mother would never say.

I found those to be funny and we might could think of some more on our own that things that our mothers would never say.  But today I do want us to think about the things that our mothers and our grandmothers have said.  I want us to think about the influence that our mothers and our grandmothers have had on our lives and I did something yesterday that was more successful than I think I thought it would be.  I threw out a question to Facebook and just asked for people to share some of the favorite sayings of their mother.  There was so many that I’m not going to say all of them, but here’s some that I wrote down that mothers have said.

“I hope you had a child just like you.”  Now in my case that would be fantastic.  My brother’s case no.  He got what he deserved anyway.

“Just wait till your dad gets home.”  Anybody relate to that one?  Let me tell you something that one scared me.

“Suck it up, buttercup.”  By the way, I say that one to my children.

I want another one of my favorite ones.

“I told you so.”  You ever think of those times when you were having an argument with your mom and then it turned out exactly the way she said I told you so.

This is one of my favorites.

“You make a hard bed, you’ll just have to lay in it.”  Well, I don’t really know if I know exactly what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.

Another one of my favorites was just one word, “no.”  Some of our younger children have heard that a lot who are here today. No, you ever notice that some of the first words out of baby’s mouth is the word no.  We’re trying to teach, right?

This one came from my brother and has a back story to it, but “who threw cheese on the ceiling?”  We’ll save that story for another sermon so I’ll leave you wondering.

This is a good one.  “Do it now because tomorrow never comes.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“If you lay with dogs, don’t complain about the fleas.”  And I think that’s metaphorically speaking.

Now I mean, you know.  I think we can agree that our mothers or grandmothers, even our fathers, have had an influence on our life.  Today I want us to look at how mothers and how women have influenced us in a Godly way and how they can influence their children in a Godly way and how they can influence those around them in a Godly way.  There’s a young man named Timothy.  You’ve probably heard of him.  He’s a well-known pastor.  Paul writes about him.  He spent time with Paul.  Timothy goes on to be a very successful pastor.

But you see, there is a foundation of faith that was laid in his life. Paul may have been the one who preached the sermon that led to Timothy’s conversion, but Timothy foundation of faith was laid by his mother and his grandmother.  What we see in these two passages is that through faith in God and by honoring God’s Word, Godly women can have great influence on our lives. Godly women, Godly mothers, can have great influence in our lives.

Here’s what Paul writes, and 2 Timothy 1:5.  “I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also.”

2 Timothy 3:14-17.  “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

The first thing I want us to see about how ladies and mothers can influence us as this.  They influence us with a sincere faith.  They influence us with a sincere faith.  If you’re taking notes again, Godly mothers, Godly women have a sincere faith and they lived that faith out for their children, and for those around them to see.  Now let me first kind of save what it’s not.  Sincere faith does not mean you have to be a perfect mother or a perfect lady or a perfect father, or a perfect person.  A sincere faith does not imply perfection.  In fact, how many of you have made mistakes as a parent, as a mother or just in general as a person?  If you don’t raise your hand, you just made a mistake by lying.  You know, we’ve all made mistakes.  The Mother of Jesus made mistakes.  Perfection is not a requirement to be a mother.  In fact, you’re gonna mess up and I want you to hear me today that’s OK.  Mom, it’s OK to mess up.  It’s OK that party that you wanted to be perfect wasn’t perfect.  It’s OK that the house is not perfectly clean all the time.  It’s OK that the routines don’t go off as planned.  You know it’s OK not to be a perfect mom.  It’s OK not to live a perfect life.  This guy right here has demonstrated mistake after mistake after mistake.  I sent my son to a soccer game back in the fall, he’s out there playing, guess what?  He doesn’t have cleats.  He’s playing in Crocs.  It’s OK to make mistakes.  It’s OK.  You are not always going to be perfect and so this idea of sincere faith does not mean we have to be perfect in all that we do.

What it means is that we live our life in such a way where we are visibly demonstrating how we follow Jesus in good times and bad times.  We let our children see that we have put our trust in our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  We strive in each and every moment of each and every day to do what Jesus has called us to do as his followers.  This means that we read the Word of God, it means that we pray.  It means that we trust.  It means that we are seeking Godly wisdom.  It means that we are living a life that demonstrates that we have been forgiven because of our sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we make mistakes, it’s a great opportunity to tell our children how much Jesus loves us and forgives us.  It’s a perfect opportunity to say my faith in Jesus is why, even though I made this mistake, I am still forgiven.  We demonstrate that we walk with Christ each and every day, living in His forgiveness, realizing that we’re not perfect and we don’t have to be perfect.

It’s maybe today as you’re sitting there you can remember times when your own mother demonstrated a sincere faith.  Maybe the family was going through, or maybe she was going through challenging health concerns.  Maybe the family was going through a challenging financial time.  Did you see your mother worry?  Did you see them complaining or did you see them walking by faith?

What are your children?  What are the people around you seeing when you go through struggles?  Are they seeing you live by faith or do they hear you complain?   Do they see you worrying or do they see you trusting that it’s all going to workout the way God wants it to work out?

But mothers do not only influence us by their sincere faith, they influence us by training their children in God’s Word. Godly women honor God’s Word and train their children in it. In Chapter 3, verse 14, Paul again points back to Lois and Eunice by saying, you know who taught.  Knowing from whom you have learned these things points to the reality of God’s Word that these ladies demonstrated to Timothy that the Word of God was reliable, that it was readable, and it was a useful book to live your life by.

Mothers, fathers train your children in this Book.  Do they see you reading the Word of God?  Do they hear you reading the Word of God?  They’re watching.  Our children are influenced by our actions.  They’re influenced by our words.  They watch you and they see you, and they’re influenced by you watching television.  They’re influenced when they see you on your phone, and I’m guilty more than anybody here.  When they see you on your phone, they’re influenced by that.  When they see how you react at a ball game, they’re influenced by that.  When they see how you react with something at work, they’re influenced by that.  People are watching and you are influencing them, and so let’s influence them by reading the Word of God to them, keeping God’s Word on our lips.

You know I have this picture. I see a young Timothy sitting at the feet of his mother and his grandmother as they share stories about Jesus.  As they tell him about the stories they’ve heard about Jesus.  And he’s just sitting there soaking in that information.  I see him sitting at the feet of his mother and his grandmother as they tell him stories from the Old Testament.  As they share the stories of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob as they share stories about the exile and how God pulled them through and restored them, and he’s sitting there, soaking it in.  They are laying the foundation for the faith of this wonderful pastor.

I was a part of a funeral a couple years ago and the most prominent memory that the family had was of this gentleman gathering the children together in the bedroom every night and he would open up the Bible and read it to them.  That was their most prominent memory of their dad and their mom sitting there reading God’s Word as they sit there on the bed.

Mothers and fathers, I want you to understand, you are the primary spiritual leaders of your children.  It is your job to raise them in the ways of the Lord.  It is your job to read the Word of God to them.  It is your job to teach them that the Bible is reliable, it is readable, it is useful and it is good.  The Word of God is sweeter than honey and if we don’t do it while their children, it may be too late when they’re older.  So we need to influence them by training our children in the Word of God.

As we’re reading, we’re praying.  We’re praying that through the teaching of God’s Word they would experience Salvation, and they would learn Salvation.  You see, as you’re teaching them the Word of God, you reveal what the Word of God reveals, which is that the condition of their heart is sinful and rebellious.  And I know it’s hard to think of an innocent young child and those little cute babies as being rebellious, but they are.  Nobody teaches a kid how to lie, but at a very early age they know how to lie.  Any parents amen that?  It’s like who taught you that?  Nobody.  They’re naturally sinful. They’re naturally rebellious against God.

As we’re teaching the Word of God, they’re seeing that in their experiencing that.  They’re learning that because of sin there is an eternal punishment for those who do not follow Christ.  They need to know that Christ died on the cross for them as a substitute.  They need to know that saving faith is more than just an empty profession of words.  A saving faith is surrendering your life to Jesus.  Saving faith is saying I’m no longer going to live for the world, I’m going to follow my savior and my Lord Jesus Christ.  All of my life, I’m going to surrender.  They need to hear the stories of people of the Bible.  People who struggled with sin.  People who rebelled and yet were saved and put their faith in God and were transformed.  The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is filled with the story of redemption.  They need to hear of those men and read of those men and women who made poor choices, and the consequences of those choices, but yet God still saved them.  They need to hear stories of parents in the Bible who were Godly parents but their children did not follow God.  They need to hear the stories of parents who were ungodly, but the children did follow God.  They need to learn that a person is accountable to God for their actions.  As you read the Bible to them, you’re praying that God will convict them of their sin and show them their need for salvation, because this Book, this Bible, is sufficient for salvation.

You can talk to your blue in the face and parents you probably know this, but they might not listen.  But this Book has the power to change and transform their lives.  So as you’re reading it, and as you’re teaching it, you’re influencing them, you’re praying that God would use this Word to challenge their hearts and to change their hearts from the inside out.

So mothers have great influences on their children.  So I would ask you mother’s what are your children learning from you today?  What do they see you spending your time doing?  Do they see you living with a sincere faith?  Are you reading and teaching them the Word of God?  But I want to say this, it’s not just mothers who have a great influence.  You know today is a day of celebration, but today is a hard day for many people as well.  Today is a hard day for those who have lost their mothers.  But we have those sweet memories we hold onto.  Today is a hard day for those who have not had children yet who may want children.  It is a hard day for them.  So I want you to hear me that you don’t have to be a mother to influence children.  You don’t have to be a mother to influence the world around you.  The world has been greatly influenced by many, many women.  Women are valuable to this world and they are valuable to the church.  Women have made great Sunday School teachers.  They have made great nursery workers.  They have made great servants of the church.  All women, you are valuable to your family.  You are valuable to the church.  You are valuable to this world and don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Many great things have been done by great women of faith.  Consider Corrie ten Boom.  A single woman all her life.  She was responsible for hiding many Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust.  What a bold, courageous woman who certainly left a legacy of great influence.

Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband was a missionary in Ecuador who was killed by the very people he was trying to reach. Elisabeth Elliot took her daughter, went back to the same village, raised her daughter in the village, and led that village, the same people that killed her husband, led them to Christ.  What a great example of a sincere faith.

Amy Carmichael was a single woman as a missionary in India.  She started an orphanage for sexually-trafficked girls and boys.  She was called mother.  She would go on to write many books.

Whatever God calling is on your life today, His desire, man, woman, mother, single woman, married woman, husbands, whatever it is that you’re in today God’s calling, is that you influence the people around you.  That you stand up with a sincere faith, that you stand on God’s Word, and that you influence the world around you. So my challenge is for you to examine where God has placed you today.  The circumstances that you find yourself in right now, and you ask the question, “how can I influence people here?  What does God want me to do right now to influence people in my life?”  When you answer that question and then you faithfully follow the Lord, the world will be changed by God.

Let’s pray together.

Father, we again thank You for this beautiful day.  We thank You for the Word of God that has the power to transform and change hearts.  We thank You for Your Son Jesus, who died in a cross for our sins.   We thank You that we can have forgiveness and restoration through faith alone in Christ alone.  Father, we thank You for the influence of our mothers.  We thank You for the influence of all the women in our lives.  Father help us to carry on that legacy by influencing the people around us, faithfully following You in all that we do.

We ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen and Amen.