The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the era of ancient Greek and Romans. In the Roman Catholic Church, the holiday is strongly associated with reverencing the Virgin Mary. In many Catholic homes, families have a special shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In many Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a special prayer service is held in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.
However, the celebration of Mother’s Day as it is seen today is a recent phenomenon and not even a hundred years old. On May 9, 1914, US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. He established the day as a time for "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."
Today the festival of Mothers day is celebrated across 46 countries (though on different dates) and is a hugely popular affair. Millions of people across the globe take the day as an opportunity to honor their mothers, thank them for their efforts in giving them life, raising them and being their constant support and well wisher.
The ways to thank our moms are really endless. Mother's day is one of the busiest days of the year for the Phone Company, flower shops and card shops.
What does the Bible say about honoring your Mother?
It is important that we honor our Mother as commanded by Moses. In Exodus 20:12 the people of Israel were commanded to "Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you." To honor is to obey, to reverence, to speak kindly to, to speak and think well of. Why? So that "that your days may be long upon the land". This is a promise from God as well as good advice for avoiding the wrath of a mother scorned by her child!
In Deuteronomy 5:16, the promise of long life is followed by the words, "and that it may be well with thee," which does not alter the sense, but merely explains it more fully. In a society obsessed with living longer through exercise and nutrition, how many doctors and health-food companies recommend honoring parents? Yet a long life is a promise from God for those who honor their parents.
While on the cross Jesus honored his Mother by commissioning John to care for her while he's away. John 19:25-27, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." (KJV)
Consider these other Bible verses about honoring one's mother:
Ephesians 6:1 says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Obey; there is a word we don't hear very often in these modern times. According to the dictionary obey means:
- To comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of: to obey one's parents.
- To behave or act in accordance with (one's feelings, directives, etc)
- To submit or conform in action to (some guiding principle, impulse, one's conscience, etc.).
2) "Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."
Honor, it is another word we seldom hear in reference to our parents these days. According to the dictionary honor means:
To hold in respect; esteem.
- To show respect for.
- To confer distinction on: He has honored us with his presence.
- To accept or pay as valid: honor a check; a store that honors all credit cards.
How many mothers are really "honored" anymore? This Bible verse comes with a promise, "that it may be well with you."
Colossians 3:20 says, "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord."
Obedience is pleasing to the Lord! To those of us who have children we can certainly agree with that... and maybe also others around us in public places. Nobody wants to deal with a stranger's unruly, disobedient children. Yes, we thank all of those moms who demand obedience from their children, teaching them respect, manners and forthrightness. Thanks moms, for showing us right from wrong and also pleasing the Lord in the process.
1 Timothy 5:3-4
3) "Honor widows who are really widows.
4) But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God."
Let them learn first to show piety at home; Instead of brushing off the widow onto the church for her care, or even worse onto the state welfare system. The children are charged to bring the widow into their own families. It is the duty of children to honor and care for their parents in old age, and provide for them when they can no longer care for themselves. This will be pleasing and acceptable unto God.
How God Defines a Woman of Honor
In Proverbs 31 a wise King listens to his mom as she describes the virtues of a Godly woman: (Quoted from the NIV)
1) "The sayings of King Lemuel - an oracle his mother taught him:
10) A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11) Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12) She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
A good woman is worth more than money can buy. This is particularly notable in a time when men frequently bought women as wives in a business transaction from the girl’s father.
13) "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."
She did not buy ready woven cloth: she procured the raw material, if wool, most probably from her own flocks; if flax, in most cases from her own fields. Here she manufactured; "works with eager hands". And all her labor is a cheerful service; her will, her heart, is in it.
14) "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15) She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
16) She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17) She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18) She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."
Women, even of the highest ranks, worked with their hands at every kind of occupation necessary for the support of the family. She was a shrewd business person keeping a close eye on the bottom line.
19) "In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20) She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21) When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22) She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple."
She is not anxious relative to the health and comfort of her family in the winter season, having provided clothes sufficient for each in the cold weather, in addition to those which they wore in the warm season. Scarlet and purple are a poor translation as it denotes a sense of royalty. Not about the color, but more about the quality in which the garments and bed coverings are made.
23) "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land."
A man can not buy respect. Like it says in verses 10-12 a good woman is worth more than money can buy as she backs her husband toward greatness.
24) "She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes."
A good woman has a keen sense for business and helps provide financially for her family.
25) "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
Strength of body and of mind. A good woman has physical strength that leads to perseverance in completing her tasks. She has inner strength and is wrapped in self confidence toward anything the future may hold.
26) "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27) She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28) Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29) 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'
30) Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31) Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
A good woman who fears (respects) God is worth more than money can buy. She helps bring about honor and positions of power and authority for her husband. She works hard to support her family both in the household and financially in shrewd business dealings. She is self reliant and conducts herself in a dignified manner. She is charitable and helpful to the needy and poor. She is confident and tenacious in her positive outlook concerning her ability to handle anything that comes her way in the future.
A good woman is full of wisdom and is faithful. Her children respect her as an example of what it is to be blessed by God. Her husband recognizes her Godly traits as well and praises her by acknowledging her nobility that surpasses normal women. We are to give her the reward she has earned and let her share in the respect, honor and authority that she brings her husband in the eyes of the people.
This is the way God views a good woman. So therefore should we as well. Not just once a year on Mother's Day, but everyday, let us honor our wives and mothers for who they are and all that they do according to the Word and Will of God.
We love you Moms!
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by Daniel Sweet