“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” -Proverbs 31:28-29,31
We celebrate another Mother’s Day on Sunday, a day for remembering just how important mothers are to us. It is a day for expressing gratitude to one who has provided the most critical and early essentials in your life. Your mother is one in a long line of mothers preceding us. You know your grandmother, and you very possibly might even have known a great-grandmother, but of all, it is still your own mother who is most precious to you.
We all have the same exponentially great-grandmother. Her name is Eve. She is the very beginning of a long line of those we call “mother.” She holds a unique place which no other will ever hold: She is the first! Her genes, her bloodline, the color of her eyes and hair were all received directly from her Creator, but yet a little bit of her is in you. God formed her, interestingly, from her husband’s rib.
Her face resembled none before her, for there wasn’t anyone who preceded her or her husband Adam. God designed her as the first woman. She very likely had no belly button, for she had no need of an umbilical cord. She never experienced the womb or a birth canal. She never knew infancy or childhood, puberty, or perhaps even being a teenager. We just do not know what child-bearing age Eve began her immediate life.
Eve was the premier woman and became the first mother to experience giving birth. She had no mother to instruct her other than God, who is as good a mother as He is a father (Isaiah 66:13). If she had not become pregnant and given birth, the human race would never have surpassed two. She birthed Cain, Abel, Seth, and others, both daughters and sons; we have no idea how many.
We have heard of some of the great mothers of history, but most, great and not so great, are completely unknown to you. However, you do know Eve through the little account which Scripture relates. There were mothers after mothers in every place humanity spread around the earth – mothers of every language, every race, every shape of eyes, every hue of skin. All were mothers who had the same experiences, whether in poverty or plenty, which every mother understands. What Eve did and lived was unique, but all after her know the joys and sorrows of those same experiences which constitute motherhood.
Because Adam and Eve sinned, begetting a fallen world, there are no perfect mothers. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There are both good and bad mothers, but I like to think, different than perhaps fathers, there are many more good mothers because of their giving birth to vulnerable tiny ones who must rely on them for absolutely everything necessary to their life and survival.
Giving birth is no easy matter. It is not an overnight proposition; this takes, more or less, nine months of dramatic changes to body and life. The miracle of birth itself is not without pain and, well, labor. However, that work has only begun; the rearing of children is a 24/7 proposition. Some have accomplished this work quite well and others not so well. Proverbs 31 expresses that industrious mothers are deserving of praise, and this they are for so many more reasons than those nine month periods and those first five years of life. A mother is a mother for her entire life!
So, while Mother’s Day may be a modern invention, it is not trivial. Proverbs 31 was written approximately 3,000 years ago, but I am sure its words were thought long before being written. You do not need an early Sunday in May to show gratitude and well-spoken praise to your mother. Your life should be a continuous expression of gratefulness by both word and deed, first to God, and very possibly second to your mother.
“When Jesus [on the cross] saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” -John 19:26-27
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