“An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”—Spanish proverb
My mom was—and still is—a key spiritual influence in my life. As a matter of fact, I always wanted to be a pastor. But one day, during my senior year in high school, I suddenly realized something. Going out-of-state to college for pastor training would mean new distance between me and my girlfriend.
Uh-oh. I conveniently decided I didn’t want to be a pastor anymore, and would go to college in my hometown.
Like a momma bear robbed of her cubs, my mom came out charging against that idea. She knew my heart better than I did. More than that, she believed that if my girlfriend and I were truly an item, we’d make it.
And we did. We got married. I’m a pastor. I love both, and my mom does, too. And the adventure has been a dream.
I’m guessing you have a story or two about your mom’s influence like that. If you’re blessed to be part of a Christian family, some of those stories include your mom’s spiritual influence.
Let me suggest, as the Spanish proverb does, that your mom’s spiritual influence is more significant to your faith than even the influence of a pastor. I have research on my side for this, so today I’ll give you 5 reasons why moms are better for kids than pastors.
- Mothers, you are “women who work hard in the Lord” (Romans 16:12). Pastors work hard, too, but yours is truly, really hard labor. Whether giving birth or striving to serve—your work for your children is foundational and formational.
- The Apostle Paul praises a couple ladies who “have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel” (Philippians 4:3). Behind every good pastor is a few good women, and at least one of them is a mother figure making sure the congregation takes care of him. These women are the best recruiters for their own sons to grow up and become the next generation of pastors.
- Deborah served God and Israel by her strong character, heart of courage, and faith-filled actions; all while the men were shrinking back from the leadership God desires. Deborah clearly stepped in and stepped up where the men neglected (or feared) to trod—without stepping on the men. She worshipped, “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves—praise the Lord” (Judges 5:2)! The Deborahs of the church don’t just support the pastor, but step up and fill the gaps where he can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t go. The children—in the homes of these mothers, and in the congregation—see this strong confidence mixed with submissive humility.
- Pastors are instructed in Titus 2:3-5, “Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” God designs older women to teach younger women in ways that pastors can’t do as well. As models and mentors and moms. Elderly women, you have much to give your church family and its young people!
- “Beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31:30). However, God gives women and mothers “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4). Pastors often try to lead by talking too loudly or too much, and seek to control too many people and programs. It’s our weakness, and underneath we are simply being selfish, hoping to always have our way. Women, wives, mothers and mother figures possess a beauty from God that is an inner beauty, and reflects calm, peaceful, submissive yielding to Jesus in firm faith. God sees this and smiles. He hopes pastors do, too.
Dear God, in your wisdom and love you have designed women and given us mothers. Thank you for the influence of Christian mothers at home and in church. Encourage them with recognition and kindness on Mother’s Day. And every day. Amen.
Open your Bible and page around the references above. Read them in context to learn even more about the value and purpose of women and mothers in the Bible.