By Kevin Rutherford
God’s plan for mothers began with the beginning of time. God created male and female for the home so that the male could have a suitable helper, and the two of them could have
children (Genesis 1 & 2). Eve was the first woman, the first wife, and the first mother. This first mother faced terrible tragedy in her own family because of the actions of one of her children. Cain rebelled against God and in anger murdered his brother Abel. The pain of a child rebelling against God, and then the pain of a child being killed by his own brother must have been very difficult for Eve (Genesis 4).
Being a mother is hard work, but when a woman patterns her work as a mother after God’s will, the results of the hard work are often beautiful and wonderful. The work of leading worship in the Lord’s church is given to the male (1 Timothy 2:8-14). God has a different work for women. That work has to do with children (1 Timothy 2:15). Women are to focus on the raising of their children. Women are to continue in faith, love, and holiness with self-control even as they focus on the work of being mothers. This is not culturally current or politically correct, but this is the Word of God. When a faithful Christian woman is focused on raising her children in a godly manner she is pleasing God and she will be saved.
It’s hard work being a mom when mothers are conscientious and want to raise their children to know and love the Lord, but what is more important than aiming your children in the direction of heaven? To accomplish this, mothers must be willing to follow God’s plan in this regard. Paul told Titus what was required for a congregation to be sound and this included specific instructions for mothers (Titus 2:4-5). Young mothers are to love their husbands and their children. This should not be hard. If they have chosen to marry godly Christian men, and if they have chosen to be godly Christian women it should not be hard for them to love their husbands. The command to love the children should be that which comes naturally. Unfortunately we live in a time when natural love such as this is not always present.
Paul goes on to show Titus that godly mothers will be those who are discreet. The word “discreet,” translates a Greek word defined as being “of sound mind, sane, in one’s senses, curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled (Thayer, 613). Godly mothers are not foolish women. Godly mothers are sound, sane, sensible and self-controlled. This is a spiritual and mental state that is chosen by the mother in light of the immense task before her of raising children to know and love God. A mother who is discreet will naturally be chaste. A woman who is chaste is one who can be respected for her pure and behavior (Thayer 8). A woman who cannot be sensible, self-controlled, and respected for her morally pure and modest behavior needs to make some changes before she can be the kind of mother God wants her to be.
Perhaps the most controversial of God’s requirements for proper and effective motherhood is that of being a “homemaker” (Titus 2:5). Thayer defines the word as referring to one who is “keeping at home and taking care of household affairs (Thayer 442). Vine defines this word as “watching or keeping the home (Vine, 558). Zodhiates says it refers to one who is “a keeper at home, one who looks after domestic affairs with prudence and care (Zodhiates, 1033). Moulton says it refers to “a keeper or guard of a house; a home-keeper, stay-at-home domestic (Moulton, 285). Strong defines the word as “a stayer at home, i.e. domestically inclined (a good housekeeper); keeper at home” (Strong, 51). Various definitions and translation of the word indicate a good and godly mother is one who focuses on the home as one who guards the home. What is the mother guarding the home against? She is guarding the home against the influence of Satan and anything that may corrupt her children and turn them away from heaven.
Paul goes on to show Titus that sound and godly mothers are kind and good people as well. Mean women are not fit to be mothers. Cruel and selfish women will never fulfill their role as a mother in the right way unless they repent. Good and godly mothers are kind.
The final qualification of a godly mother listed in Titus 2 is that she is one who is submissive to her husband. The world hates what the Bible says in this regard and many Christians having been influenced by the world reject what God has said in this matter. However, God has unlimited wisdom as the Creator, and unlimited authority as the Ruler of this universe. His way is always right. His way must be followed if we are to please Him. Good mothers are submissive and obedient to their own husbands (Tits 2:5).
Being a good mother is hard work. Being a godly mother is exhausting. Yet, I cannot think of a more important work in the entire world. Christian mothers can raise godly children who will influence others to serve God and positively affect generations to come. Thank you godly mothers. Do not be discouraged. Keep up the good work and may God bless you!
- Kevin V. Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/