Mother’s Day is just around the corner in the US and Canada. What should mothers make of the day? Of course, they should graciously and humbly receive the gratitude of their children. But, it is also wise for women to guard against self-centeredness on this day. Good mothers don’t find their worth in Mother’s Day accolades. The don’t prioritize the quality of their children’s adoration.
One particular woman teaches us this. We do not know her name. We only know her words as recounted by her son, King Lemuel, in Proverbs 31. There, we see a remarkable picture of her priorities for her children.
Though she most famously used an alphabetic acrostic to teach her son the ABCs of what to look for in a good wife (Proverbs 31:10-31), her words in Proverbs 31:1-9 deserve our closer attention.
Lemuel begins by remembering his mother asking these questions:
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?
She had obviously given Lemuel up to the Lord like Hannah before her, and her great concern was how he would serve the Lord. Lemuel’s mom asked him three times over “What are you doing?” Don’t miss the urgency in her words. Lemuel obviously didn’t!
She went on to exhort him in the next five verses to set aside every distraction that would hinder his service as king over his people. Then, in Proverbs 31:8-9, Lemuel’s mother expresses what she longs to hear from her son’s mouth:
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
She was not interested in his praise of her own name. She was interested in his sacrificial service for others who needed his strength. Good mothers have too much concern for others and too much vision for the future to get hung up on what their children do or don’t do for them on Mother’s Day. Lemuel’s mother wanted to know most of all whether he was serving others, standing up for them, and so reflecting the redeeming God who had made him.
Now, she did tell Lemuel that a godly wife would indeed see her children rise up and call her blessed (v. 28). She affirmed that a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, and that Lemuel should give his wife the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates (v. 30-31).
Lemuel didn’t just honor his wife as instructed. He rose up and called his own mother blessed too by penning these words for us. And while mothers shouldn’t find their worth in Mother’s Day accolades, Lemuel’s honoring of his own mother should be remembered and emulated by every child blessed with a mother who longs to see her child serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
This post was originally written by Rev James Faris, for the Gentle Reformation Blog.