See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.]
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.—Isaiah 40:11
Happy Mother’s Day, all you wonderful, exceptional, praiseworthy mothers at Bethlehem! I am thanking our Heavenly Father and praising him for you on this day—on a day when we especially honor and thank our own mothers. Here’s why:
From my quiet corner of the nurseries, I have watched you all at your mothering.
- I have seen you and your babies’ mutual joy explode as you first see each other again after the service!
- I have seen you call your little ones to prayers of gratitude before they eat in the Main Hall.
- I have seen you worship with your children, modeling for them the outward forms of worship and the inward adoration of our Savior.
- I have seen the fruit of your labors as your 2- and 3-year-olds stand to recite their verses from God’s Word.
- I have seen you affirming, guiding, correcting, and disciplining for their growth.
- I have seen you gather into your arms many little ones from the far reaches of this world and raise them for Christ and in Christ.
And I hear from you, as well ...
- How you pray with deep heart groanings for your children, for their salvation and for their struggle against sin.
- How you praise our powerful God to your children when he answers your prayers and gives you the desires of your heart.
- How you lead your little ones in family worship and teach them songs of praise for God.
- How you equip your children and encourage them to serve one another and the church.
For all this I honor God and marvel before him at what he has done through you! I have never seen such complete and wonderful parenting as I have seen in you all.
For walking this walk of integrity within your house, there is a day of reward coming from our Lord. The old saints would have said that you will be awarded a “star in your crown” for each of the bullet points above, but we will throw those crowns at Jesus’ feet, and rightly—for consider what he has done for you and your little ones!
Long ages ago, before God drilled the supports and laid the foundations of the world, before his mighty right arm swept the heavens into being and before his skillful fingers set the stars in their places, he had determined the existence of all living beings (your sons, your daughters), had numbered their days, had given them various gifts, had planned good works for them to do, had even decided how many hairs would grow on each head, and—for those appointed to salvation—he had inscribed their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
Further, he considered what we all would need daily in the way of wisdom, comfort, support, strength and guidance, and he planned to pack his written Word with promises to provide for these needs—and more—to sustain us in every need of life and parenting.
Then, at exactly the right time, God knit your child together in his mother’s womb (whether yours or another’s), and his gentle hands shaped their heads, their noses, their lips, their ears—the same fingers that set the stars in the skies set their eyes in place.
Our Lord did a fearful, wonderful work in this creation, and then, sweetest of all, he breathed into your precious little one the breath of life. How intimate is his presence and part in the creation of his people!
Lastly, dearest mothers, our Lord Jesus does not send you out to tend his lambs alone, but we see in the passage from Isaiah that he has promised to lead you gently through it all, to gather the lambs to his bosom, and to carry them in his arms. His intimate presence continues with you as you walk with him to raise his little ones.
Oh, mothers, I urge you to continue on as you have begun with your maternal responsibilities. Love your children intensely, selflessly, wisely! But with an even greater love, love your God, Jesus Christ.
Set your face like a flint to follow Christ and lead your children to him, to set your courses and make your choices by his Word, and to constantly soak yourself in Scripture that you may overflow Christ to your children and counsel them according to his wisdom.
Acknowledge him in every single event of your life and of your children’s lives. And when your course is finished, may the Lord be pleased to grant you one of a mother’s greatest honors and delights—that your children would bring glory to him all the days of their lives.
To him who sits on the throne be honor, glory, and blessing,
Minister for Early Childhood