NEHCC Sermon - 5-11-08 - Mothers Day – A Mother’s Influence

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Sermon – Mothers DayA Mother’s Influence

Scripture –     Matt 14:1-12


Matt 14:1-12

14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus  2 and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him." 3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. 4 Because John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." 5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod's birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter." 9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her.  10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. NKJV

Total spending on Mother's Day is expected to be $15.8 billion, the group said. Last year, that figure was $15.7 billion.


I believe that no one has more influence on a person than his or her mother. There are exceptions of course but for the most part this is the case. A mothers influence is not so much embodied in what she says but what the child sees.


The high level of influence may be due to the fact that the child’s first bond in life is with its mother. It is she that carried him/her for nine months. It is she that nursed the child, cuddled the child, changed, dressed, feed and gave the child the most unselfish and lasting love in its most helpless state.


I believe that there is a genuine desire for a child to return love for the Mother because somehow within our spirit we know that it was she that first loved us. Un-conditionally. No matter how we looked when we were born, we were still the most beautiful baby in the world.


Children are born into an environment that includes a mother if nothing else. Because of this bonding and closes association the mother has a great influence on the type of adult that child will be.


"What makes a ‘good’ mother-child relationship? Is it the mother’s ‘nature’ (her inborn instincts) or is it her ‘nurture’ (the effect of the environment in which she is brought up)?" I tend to believe that it is a combination of both.


It has been said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. It can also be said that "The hand that rocks the cradle usually is attached to someone who isn't getting enough sleep”


In the campaign season we are often reminded of the role a candidate’s mother has played in their lives and development.


The mothers influence can be for good or for bad. I believe that every mother wants to influence their children for good, the problem is that with some mothers the definition of good equates to that which is good for them or good in their eyes.


Prov 21:2        2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. NKJV

The reference to “man” in this verse refers to “mankind.”


Now some may excuse themselves with the “B” part of this verse by saying that “I know I may be or have been doing wrong, but my intentions or heart is right.” That will not excuse us. The only right heart is a pure heart, a heart after God’s own heart, a righteous heart. God looks at the heart and most often I believe He sees a selfish heart.


As we look at our focus passage we see the selfish heart of a woman that is influencing her daughter in a bad way.

Now these people in this story are not Christians and therefore their actions cannot be surprising to us.

Look at the negative influences of this mother, Herodias, had upon her daughter.

1.      The daughter Salome, saw her mother in a marriage to a man name Phillip, the brother of Herod. Perhaps Phillip was her father. Herodias deserted her husband, Herod Philip, her Father, and married Herod Antipas  who was the half brother of Philip in  A.D. 27 after he divorced his first wife

She first married Herod, surnamed Philip, another of the sons of the first Herod, which was in fact her full uncle; then she eloped from him, during his lifetime, to marry Herod Antipas, her step-uncle, who was already married but later divorced his wife for her. It has been warmly debated whether it was the adultery or the incestuous connection that drew down the reproof of the Baptist

Herodias in her actions is influencing her daughter that marriage vows have no meaning. What takes priority is to do whatever it takes to advance yourself.  (Sounds like a selfish heart to me.

Do we have any doubt as to how Salome will value marriage or her vows?

No marriage is perfect but the way it is handled will influence the children for the rest of their lives. If the marriage is a bad one and cannot be worked out then divorce may be the only option. Whether marriage or divorce the influences are long lasting. Salome was old enough to understand her mother’s action and the influence was made


2.      Salome saw her mother hate and conspire against a man of God that called her sin out.

Children love their parents and in most cases they will take their mothers side in any dispute, but only for a while. When they get older they will put all the pieces together for good or ill.

This daughter danced in front of adult men and I believe is such a seductive way that her step-father made a rash promise. That evening and by watching her mother she learned that she, as a woman, had certain power over men and she could benefit by the use of it.

We see that with half a kingdom available to her she went to her mother for advice. Daughters will always look to their mothers for advice. Can I get an amen ladies? What is often overlooked is that most of the advice or direction they get from their mother is often taken without asking but by observing.

They watch how you put on makeup, how you dress, how you talk, how you carry yourselves, how you handle good times and bad times and how you handle marriage and relationships.

3.      Salome had little regard for life for when the head of John the Baptist was given to her she did not reject the gruesome site but coldly took it to her mother. This tells me that the heart of this young woman had already grown cold. Even the death of an innocent man did not deter her from getting what she wanted. Doesn’t this seem like an extension of her mother attitude toward the concerns of others? 


Most mothers are proud when their children grow up to be fine adults. But I have seen children grow up many times to mimic the actions of their parents. I have seen parents attempt to correct them or tell them what is wrong and the children’s only reply is to remind the parents that they are doing just what they saw them do.


That truth will make the parent proud if what the child is doing is good and will break their hearts if what the children are doing is bad.


The influence Herodias left on her Daughter caused her to marry a man named Phillip “Philip, the tetrarch, her uncle. She also married for position and selfish reasons. After he died she married again to her cousin the son of Herod, the king of Chalcis, by whom she had three sons.


Legend has it that her death occurred when she accompanied her mother Herodias, and her father-in-law Herod, in their banishment to Vienne. As she passed over a river that was frozen, the ice broke under her feet, and she sank in up to her neck, when, the ice united again, she remained thus suspended by it, and suffered the same punishment she had made John the Baptist undergo.


Mothers are the precious gifts God gives to children. A godly mother is the most precious gift given back to God through Godly children. We can read about Hannah who remained a Godly woman in the midst of being ridiculed by her husband’s other wife. God gave her a child and she in turn taught her child and gave him back to God. The child name was Samuel.


There was the mother and grandmother of Timothy that taught the young lad in the faith and he became the youngest Bishop in the faith.

2 Tim 1:3-7     3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. NKJV


There are many more examples including the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ who demonstrated faith in God against all unbelievable odds. She exposed herself to ridicule to raise a most special child.


Can any of you recall something your mother did that sadden you? If you can and then hurt was deep, don’t put your children through it. Our love for our mother’s allows us to overlook it but it is still there.


Mothers and grandmothers I beg you to leave positive and Godly memories and influences for your children even those that may have adopted you as a surrogate mother or grandmother.


Most of us have heard our parents say something like, “I am working hard so you can have a better life than I did” We all want our children to have a better life and there is not better life than to have one with God and Christ as the Lord of our lives.


Proverbs says:

Prov 1:8-9 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. NKJV

Responsive Reading

Gal 5:16-26

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.


17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.


19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.  NKJV


Only Three Showed Up

On September 14, 1898, at the Central Hotel of Boscobel, Wisconsin, John Nicholson arrived at 9 P.M., longing for a quiet room to write up his orders. To his disappointment, every room was taken. The clerk suggested he share Room 19 with a stranger, Samuel Hill.

Before crawling into bed, Nicholson opened his Bible. At age twelve, he had promised his dying mother he would read the Bible every night at bedtime. “Read it aloud,” said Hill. “I’m a Christian, too.” Nicholson read John 15 and the two knelt for prayer. Then they stayed up till 2 A.M. discussing the spiritual needs of Christians on the road.

Nicholson and Hill bumped into each other again the following May in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. They soon announced plans for an association of Christian salesmen and set the first meeting for July 1, 1899. Only three showed up—Nicholson, Hill, and Will J. Knights. The men nonetheless launched their organization to mobilize Christian commercial travelers for encouragement, evangelism, and service. They groped for a name, but after they had prayed about it Knights said, “We shall be called Gideons.” The Gideons have since distributed over seven hundred fifty million copies of Scripture in over one hundred seventy nations.



Your Bread Will Be Given You

Sophia’s husband John, an ardent soul-winner, spent his short life preaching on the streets, in the parks, in halls and theaters, wherever he could. But at age twenty-seven, he contracted typhoid and quickly died, leaving Sophia Ironside with two small boys and no income.

One of the boys, Harry (later the world-famous pastor of Moody Memorial Church), watched his mother closely. On one occasion, he recalled company coming for supper. Sophia’s cupboard was nearly bare, but she scraped together a meal with the little that remained. After the visitors left, she found under one of their plates a ten-dollar bill—a vast sum in those days. With eyes full of tears, she offered thanks to God.

Some time later, the cupboard was again empty. Sophia gathered her two sons to the table for breakfast, but their plates were empty, and there was only water to drink. “We will give thanks, boys,” she said. Closing her eyes, she prayed, quoting Isaiah 33:16, “Father, Thou hast promised in Thy Word, ‘Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure.” We have the water, and we thank Thee for it. And now, we trust Thee for the bread, or for that which will take its place.”

Just as she finished praying, the doorbell rang, and the boys ran to the door to find a man there. “Mrs. Ironside,” he said, “I feel very bad. We have been owing you for months for that dress you made for my wife. We’ve had no money to pay you. But just now we’re harvesting our potatoes, and we wondered if you would take a bushel or two on account of the old bill.”

“Indeed, I’ll be glad to,” replied Sophia.

In a few minutes, the potatoes were sizzling in the frying pan, and the boys had answered prayer for breakfast.


History of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, in one form or another, has been around a long time. In ancient Greece, a celebration honoring mothers occurred every spring.

In the Middle Ages, a custom called Mothering Sunday began when children, who often left home early to learn a trade or become apprentices, would be released from work every year on the forth Sunday of Lent to attend church with their families. As they returned home, they often took cakes or little gifts to their mothers. This was termed “going a-mothering.” To this day, Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

It was in 1872 that Julia Ward Howe (author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic) suggested the idea of Mother’s Day in the United States.

The cause was taken up by Anna Jarvis, daughter of a Methodist pastor. Jarvis felt the scars of the Civil War could be healed by mothers—and by honoring mothers. She died in 1905 before her dream of establishing a holiday could be fulfilled. But her daughter, also named Anna Jarvis, took up the crusade.

Anna had been deeply influenced by her mother, and she often recalled hearing her mother say that she hoped someone would one day establish a memorial for all mothers, living and dead.

Anna had been particularly touched at age twelve while listening to her mother teach a Sunday School class on the subject “Mothers in the Bible.” Mrs. Jarvis closed the lesson with a prayer to this effect: I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.

Anna never forgot that moment, and at their mother’s graveside service, Anna’s brother Claude heard her say “… by the grace of God, you shall have that Mother’s Day.”

Anna thus began a campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. She and her supporters began to write a constant stream of letters to ministers, businessmen, politicians and newspaper editors. She spent a fortune trying to attract attention to her idea, and took every opportunity to give speeches, send telegrams, or write articles promoting her cause.

On the second anniversary of her mother’s death, May 12, 1907, Anna led a small tribute to her mother at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Gafton, West Virginia. She donated five hundred white carnations, her mother’s favorite flower, to be worn by everyone in attendance. On this first Mother’s Day service, the pastor used the text, “Woman, behold thy son; Son, behold thy mother” (John 19:26). That same day a special service was held at the Wannamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia, which could seat no more than a third of the fifteen thousand people who showed up.

After that, things began to take off. Various states jumped the bandwagon, officially proclaiming a Mother’s Day each year; and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially established Mother’s Day as a national holiday to be held on the second Sunday of May.

But having succeeded at last, Anna Jarvis soon became embittered by the commercialization of her holiday and turned against it, actually filing a lawsuit to stop a 1923 Mother’s Day festival. She was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a mother’s convention where women sold white carnations.

“This is not what I intended,” Jarvis growled. “I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit!”

“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” she said on another occasion. “And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”

Shortly before her death in 1948 Anna Jarvis, living in a nursing home, received Mother’s Day cards from all around the world. But she told a reporter she was sorry she had ever started the whole thing.

We aren’t, for it gives us an annual opportunity to obey one of Scripture’s sweetest commandments—“Honor thy … mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Proverbs 31:30–31 says: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

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