If I were to rank the most important, most significant jobs in the world – including President of the United States, CEO of some mega-billion-dollar corporation, head coach (or manager) of a world champion sports team, cardio-thoracic surgeon – one I’d have to place at or near the top of the list is MOTHER.
Granted, the other jobs pay a lot more, capture much more publicity, and often produce more measurable results. But when we consider the millions upon millions of children being nurtured physically, emotionally and spiritually by “Mom,” how can we not pay homage to the countless women who serve in this noble – and often thankless – role? After all, every President, CEO, coach and professional had a mother to get them started in life.
I never cease to be amazed when I’m in a mall and watch young women – and often, older women – with two, three or sometimes more little kids in tow. It reminds me that being a mom is far more than biological reproduction. Women are uniquely and wonderfully gifted in being able to go about their tasks – whether shopping, cooking, washing clothes or balancing a checkbook – while also effectively monitoring their offspring. Most men I know, including myself, can’t do that.
Sadly, some in our society find it necessary to downgrade or even degrade the value of mothers, as if any woman who chooses to devote her life to raising healthy, happy, productive children and guiding them toward adulthood has somehow fallen short of fulfillment.
Without question, no women should ever be limited to being moms if they aspire to do other things as well. And unfortunately, not every woman can enjoy the opportunity of being a mother for one reason or another. But to diminish or deride the importance of motherhood, in my view, is tantamount to the evils of racism, sexism, or any other derogatory “ism” we can think of. No other role in life requires more devotion, more sacrifice, more determination – or more love – than being a mother, whether it’s to one child or a whole house full of them.
My own mother was far from perfect (and I didn’t fall far from the tree!), but she dedicated her life to me and my sister, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today except for her. My wife has done a wonderful job of mothering five children, along with caring for a seemingly ever-growing slew of grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren. Her selflessness has amazed me. And our daughters have shared that commitment, often balancing careers with the challenges of child-rearing from infancy to adulthood.
Thankfully, they’ve had husbands to help, but that’s a topic for a future post. Suffice it to say, mothers are among the most valuable resources any society can possess.
The Bible affirms this, offering many examples of women who played vital roles in God’s work through the centuries. We think of the virgin Mary, a young woman who was entrusted with the responsibility of serving as earthly mother for the Son of God.
She struggled to comprehend the magnitude of that calling when she told the visiting angelic messenger, “I am the Lord’s servant…. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Later she said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed…” (Luke 1:46-48). She not only cared for Jesus in His early years, but also was standing at the foot of the cross at His crucifixion, and was on the scene to learn of His resurrection.
But that was hardly the first time the Scriptures exalted the role of mother. At a very advanced age, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, learned God would heal her infertility and establish the lineage of God’s chosen people. Speaking to Abraham, He said, “your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19).
The last chapter of Proverbs paints a glorious picture of a faithful and industrious wife and mother. The lengthy description includes these words: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’” (Proverbs 31:10-31).