May 11, 2018
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NIV)
There is a place to belong for every woman, but sometimes it may not feel like it.
My husband James and I had been married a few years when we decided it was time to try to have children. No one in our families had trouble with infertility, so I thought it would be smooth sailing. But after several months of no baby news, we sought medical help. It turned out I had a condition needing surgery.
On Mother’s Day, I looked at the large number of moms at my church. I wanted to be a mother so badly, but my body wasn’t cooperating.
Have you ever felt left out like that? Mother’s Day can be especially difficult for some. Maybe it’s because your mom has passed away or there’s a strained relationship. Or maybe your children don’t show much affection or appreciation.
Our key verse today can be overlooked in a list of instructions found in 1 Timothy. But these words are soaked in belonging: “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
The Apostle Paul uses family terms like father, brother, mother and sister to characterize the relationships found within the church. The early church was viewed as God’s household. In earlier verses found in 1 Timothy, Paul writes so Timothy will know “how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15b, NIV).
There is a place to belong for everyone in the church — the young and the old, the childless and parents. There are no second-class citizens. Our verse reminds us to treat our elders with respect, not rebuking an older man harshly and treating older women as mothers.
Perhaps there’s an older woman at church you know who needs to be treated with respect like a mother. Many years ago as a young college grad, I rented a room from a single, godly professor who used to be a missionary. I remember finding her each morning praying and reading the Bible in her favorite chair. She was an example to me and gave me a place to call home during that pivotal season in my life. While I stretched my wings, even though she wasn’t a mom, she became a mother figure. She helped me to belong.
This Mother’s Day, let’s focus on how we can bless other women instead of focusing on what we want to receive. Soak your mom in love, and also show appreciation to a woman who has blessed you — especially if that woman doesn’t have children. A personal note of gratitude from you or a coffee date may make the difference between a sad Mother’s Day and a celebration.
Now about my difficulty in having children, I did eventually have surgery, and after a few years, I stood in church on Mother’s Day with a big, pregnant belly. I was finally becoming a mother! Let us remember that children are indeed a blessing from God. Let us also remember the body of Christ is a family. Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our spiritual moms, too.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for adopting us all into Your family. Thank You for loving me with tenderness and strength. Help me be a blessing to my mom and the children in my sphere of influence. I ask for Your comfort, peace and rest. Thank You for those who have been a godly example to me through the years. May I bless other women, loving and encouraging them today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 31:31, “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (NIV)
Are you (or someone close to you) in the midst of motherhood and feeling overwhelmed? Arlene Pellicane’s book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom, is here to help and available in our bookstore.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of your mom and/or another woman whom God has used to shape your life. What are you thankful for? How can you express that gratitude and honor her this Mother’s Day in a special way?
Join the conversation, and share your thoughts on how to bless other moms around you.
© 2018 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 11 May 2018.