Monday, May 13, 2013

A Mother’s Love

By R. W. McAlister

     Mrs. Zebedee, the mother of James & John, was aware of the teachings of Jesus about His kingdom. She was also very aware of the fact that her sons, James & John, were close to Him. She was certain that when the Lord formed His kingdom that they would have positions of responsibility & authority.
     So when the opportunity arose (Matt 20), she came to the Lord. Matthew says that she bowed before Him & made this request (Mt. 20:21), “Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”
     We might very well criticize Mrs. Zebedee for her presumptuousness, but I think there are some valuable lessons we can learn from her in these verses.
     We also need to recognize that when she came to Jesus, while Jesus did not grant her request, neither did He deny it. He simply reminded her of the cost of being seated on the right or left & then told her that it is the Father who determines who will be seated there.
     Now, what are some of the good things we can observe from Mrs. Zebedee?
     First, it was her heart’s desire that her sons might be part of the kingdom, and she came to the Lord with this concern. I can think of no more important task of motherhood than that - to do all you can to ensure that your children are a part of the Kingdom of God. That should be your prayer.
     I know that many mothers pray. Sometimes they pray out of necessity. Sometimes they pray because motherhood is not easy, but extremely difficult. God wants us to pray. The inspired Peter wrote in I Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Never make the mistake of thinking you can handle everything in life alone, especially if you’re a mother. Humble yourself and ask for God’s help, knowing that He cares for you.
     Secondly, not only did Mrs. Zebedee pray that her children would be a part of His kingdom, but she prayed that they would be actively involved in the work of His kingdom.
     It’s not enough just to “show up.” Churches are full of people content just to fill a pew on Sunday mornings, so where does the spirit of service begin? It begins at home, with mothers & fathers setting the example & praying that their sons & daughters might be involved in the work of the kingdom. That’s the way a child should go, mother, for Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). Train your children to serve. If you have boys, encourage them to be Christians – yes – but also preachers, deacons, and elders. Train your daughters to teach Bible class and talk to others individually.
     Third, Mrs. Zebedee had great expectations. She didn’t just pray that her children would be doorkeepers. Granted, she didn’t understand how these positions would be attained, but she wanted her sons on the right hand & left hand of Jesus.
     When you’re working in a kingdom, there are no higher positions than those on the right & left of the King himself, & that’s what she wanted for her sons.
     We may consider Mrs. Zebedee brash & presumptuous, and that’s not wrong, but I admire her boldness. Too often we have settled for mediocrity in the church. For too long we’ve been content with just barely making it through the door. For too long we’ve been content to sit back & let things happen.
     It’s time to strive for excellence - to reach for the very best there is. The Lord calls us to be His disciples, & to be effective workers in His kingdom (Matt. 9:37-38). Mothers: have great expectations of your children in the Lord’s kingdom. Help them “be all they can be” in the Lord’s army!

- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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