"Women of Faith"
Not every woman is a mom, but every Christian woman can be a godly influence to others. Paul would say, "Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well." Who are you a mother to?
Women of Faith
A. Some think the sixteenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans usually strikes people as boring – nothing more than a long presentation of people’s names, most of whom we can’t pronounce. Actually, though, it is a great chapter of tribute and should not be overlooked. For example, it is interesting to note that of the 26 people Paul singles out for his personal greeting, 6 were women. That strikes me as interesting, since Paul has frequently gotten a bum rap for being a male chauvinist. I think it also shows us the tremendous influence that women had in the early church.
B. Rom. 16:13 is particularly interesting: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.” WOW! Paul hangs his heart out here and describes a woman that was as close as his own mom!
C. I’ve been wondering, “When and where did Paul meet Rufus’ mother?” “Did she nurse him through some serious illness?” “Did she receive him into her home for an extended stay during his missionary journeys?” “How did this woman and Paul form such a close bond that he refers to her fondly as being like his mother?”
D. There is only one other place in the Bible where the name Rufus is mentioned, and that is Mark 15:21. Whether this is the same family, we don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter. What we know is Paul was influenced by her.
E. You may have grown up where other ladies were like a second mom to you. You might have had a best friend whose home you went to or who came to your home and their mom was like your own. She would scold you if you did something wrong, feed you if you were hungry, hug you when you needed a hug and give you a place sleep when you wanted to spend the night.
F. No every woman is a mom, but many women are a great influence on the lives of others, especially children.
I. The Gentile Caring Influence
A. When Paul wrote the church in Thessalonica, he talked about how he interacted with them. 1 Thes. 2:6-8.
B. Think about how women, especially moms, are gentle and often selfless. If I were to ask you, who is GENERALLY more gentle with people, especially children, women or men? Many would be quick to answer, women. I am not saying mom can’t be scary at times, she can. But I am going to tell you that if you are need of TLC you are far more likely to get it from mom than you are dad.
C. That’s where mom comes in. When a child is hurt, what name is usually called out first? “Mommy!” Few toddlers want daddy when they have a scraped knee or a soar finger. In our family there is no doubt that Kerri was far more gentle and caring when one of the kids got hurt. Me? I would tend to scold them and say things like, “What did you think was going to happen when you suck your tongue on a frozen pole?” You get the picture.
D. Paul speaks to this church and talks about how he had the right as an apostle of Jesus to make certain demands, and even seek financial help from them, but his desire was not to be a burden upon them, but a giver to them.
E. When wants to talk about how he was, and how we need to be, gentle, he uses the metaphor of mom. There are people in this congregation that need someone to be a mother figure to them. People who need the gentle, caring self-sacrificing influence that Paul understood and tried to put into practice. As strange as it may seem, this mom quality is really something everyone – male or female – needs to show to other Christians. Especially those of you in leadership.
II. The Spiritual Influence
A. Paul used a mom quality to be a spiritual influence to the church in Thessalonica. He shared the Gospel and his life with them. Think about your faith and how much your mother was a part of you your spiritual life. Most children learn to pray because mom prayed to them when ate and when they put them to bed. Mom is often the teacher.
B. The Teacher would write words of wisdom to his son. Listen to Prov. 6:20-22. The commands of your father and the teachings of your mother, he says, are your protection if you will but listen. Kids, as you come into your teen years this world will throw every kind of evil and sin at you and seek to trap you, but listen to your parents. Their commands and teachings are not intended to cause you pain, but to protect you from the evil that surrounds you and be for you a spiritual guide to life.
C. Paul reminded Timothy of the spiritual influence in 2 Tim. 1:4-5 and 2 Tim. 3:14-15. Timothy had a great spiritual influence in his mother and grandmother. Again, I ask the question, especially to the parents and grandparents here today, to whom do you impart your spiritual wisdom. When you look at the youth of this congregation, is it only your own children and grandchildren that you seek to share God’s truth with?
D. Be a spiritual influence not just to children, but also to those who are around you. If you are mature in the faith, then you are called to spiritual parent others. Lead people to Jesus, let the older women teach the young. Be the spiritual influence God wants you to be.
III. Hard Working Mom
A. I can’t end without going back to the reading from Prov. 31. In that reading both her children and husband praise her for being a woman of God. If there is anything people should say of you it is that you are woman or man of God. Let God direct your path, your mouth, and your heart.
B. The last verse simply talks about the “fruit of her hand.” Moms are hard workers. They are often the one who helps with the school work, takes care of the home, fixes most of the meals, cleans up after everyone (because no one cleans up after themselves) and is often accused of being tired.
C. Let me show you the fruit of your hand – it’s called your children, grandchildren, and all those other kids that were running in and out of your home over the years. Thanks for being a hard working mom.
A. So today we honor moms. Not just those who have had children, but every Christian woman who was like a mother figure to someone. We honor you women who showed a gentle caring spirit, you taught and shared God with others and whose hard work is seen in the lives of the people you have touched over the years.
B. No, being a mom is about biological children, it is about touching lives for Jesus. Thank you ladies for doing that.