MARY: A MODEL OF MOTHERHOOD
Devotional for Mothers’ Day 2018 based upon Luke 1: 26-38
If you were looking for the perfect mother to leave your one and only child with, who would she be and what would she be like? Would she be wealthy? Would she live in a nice house? Would she be famous, well educated, experienced, and mature? Well, think about the young woman whom God chose to give birth to and to raise His Son. As we look at Mary, the mother of our Lord, I believe we see a model of motherhood.
Two times in our Bible reading the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is favored by God. Why? What was there about Mary that caught the Creator’s attention? I believe that God chose Mary partly because of what she already had and partly because of who God knew she would become.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, the Gospel writer Luke tells us that Mary was much perplexed and greatly troubled. I am sure that she was troubled simply by the fact that an angel was speaking to her. But even more, the message that the angel was bringing to her was a very disturbing message. After all, she was already engaged to Joseph, and engagements in those days were taken very seriously. If an engaged woman were found to be unfaithful, she could be put to death. As her pregnancy began to become known, Mary, a young teenage girl, would be facing many troubling possibilities. Such as rejection by Joseph, a ruined reputation, and the prospect of raising a child alone in a culture that was not supportive of women.
Mary had many things to be troubled about. Not to mention the fact that Mary probably felt very insecure, unworthy, and insufficient for this great task of being the mother of the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Mary could have easily said, “Lord, I am just a young girl. I am not ready to be a mother. I am not worthy. I am neither wealthy, nor well educated, nor well situated. You need to find someone else.” But instead Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”
Mary had the right perspective. She knew who God is – the Lord Almighty. And she knew who she was – a servant of the Lord. And in her saying, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord,” she was also accepting what the angel was saying, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” If God said it, Mary knew it would happen. And even if she did not really understand all the how’s, she would go along with the what because she was the servant of the Lord.
And Mary also had the right perspective about her role as a mother. She saw being a mother as an honor and as a blessing from God. Luke 1 also contains Mary’s song in which she tells how her soul magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God her Savior. She sees herself as being blessed by God in what He was going to be doing in her life. Mary saw being a mother as an honor and a gift.
And mothers today need to be like Mary in seeing being a mother as an honor and a gift. Mothers, you too are God’s servants in all things, including in your raising God’s children. And though there will be times when you, like Mary, will feel overwhelmed and totally inadequate for the task, along with Mary remember that “nothing is impossible with God.” And though there will be times when your children will totally frustrate you, they really are a gift from God and it really is an honor that God has entrusted them to you and your care.
And then I believe that God looked upon Mary with favor also because she had a solid foundation. She knew the Scriptures. In her song of praise she recognizes God as the Mighty One who has done great things for her. She knows God as the Holy One whose mercy reaches out, who lifts up the lowly, and who fills the hungry with good things. Mary’s solid foundation is an example for mothers today. For a mother who praises God and who knows His Word is going to make a huge difference in her child’s life.
Mothers, how solid is your foundation? Do you know God? Do you know God’s Word? Do you know it well enough to be able to quote it and pass it on to your children? Do you set a good example for your children as one who loves, worships, and praises God?
And then I believe that God also chose Mary because of what He knew she would become. First, she would be unrelenting in her protection. From the very moment that Jesus was born, His life was in danger. Mary protected Jesus from wicked King Herod and from many other people and things that could have done Him harm.
And mothers today need to be unrelenting in their protection of their children. Which is obvious when they are very young, when there are many potential dangers everywhere. So mothers must protect their children from germs, electric outlets, sharp things, stoves, and stairs.
As your children grow, they still need your protection. Oh, they may be able to climb the stairs and keep their fingers off a hot stove. But there are many new dangers out there as they grow. And these new dangers can be even more deadly. There are new dangers like low self- esteem, substance abuse, peer pressure, sexual immorality, and thoughts of suicide. Children need their mothers to protect them from the world’s value system, which is being marketed all around them and which stands in total opposition to the Christian faith. And they need their mother’s protection from all the subtle things that really do not seem all that bad, but which totally crowd God out of your life.
Mothers, your children may not always want your protection. They may think they do not need it, and they may even resent it. But, mothers, don’t stop protecting them, for the dangers out there are very real.
And then God knew that Mary would be unwavering in her love and devotion. Mary’s love and devotion for Jesus began before He was born and lasted beyond the cross. The final time the Bible mentions Mary is not at the foot of the cross and not at the empty tomb – though she was present at both. In fact, the last time we see Mary is not in any of the Gospels, but instead in the book of Acts. In Acts 1: 14 it says that the disciples “were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as His brothers.” Thirty-three years later Mary is still right where she is supposed to be. Jesus is still the center of her attention. He is still the focus of her being.
Mothers, may God look with favor upon you as He looked with favor upon Mary. May you have the proper perspective and see yourself as a servant of God. May you see being a mother as an honor and as a gift. And may you know and experience that nothing is impossible with God. May you build your life upon the solid foundation of God and His Word. And may you be unrelenting in your protection and unwavering in your love and devotion for your children. For if you do, then you and your children will be blessed by God.
Dennis D. Nelson
President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE