Click the link below to download the PDF.
Today is going to be interesting because even though The Celebration of God approaches Mother’s Day the exact same way it approaches Christmas and Halloween and Easter and Valentines, there may be people out there who don’t like what we have to say.
Of course, that won’t be you. You’ll completely understand!
As always, we a have free episode notes and transcripts and Mother’s Day resources at CelebrationOfGod.com. Just click on the Holidays tab and select Mother’s Day.
Okay, so let’s start with the controversial stuff about Mother’s Day and then move into the things all Christians should celebrate.
There’s this unique phenomenon that envelops Mother’s Day — at least here in America. I recently interviewed Shannon Popkin who wrote the book “Control Girl.” It’s a great book, and I highly recommend you check out the interview and buy the book, but during the interview I joked with Shannon that the title and content of her book was threatening a sacred cow.
I said, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard people quietly wonder why on Father’s Day the pastor will rip into the men, but on Mother’s Day all we hear about is how wonderful moms are. And that’s been a culture phenomenon for as long as I can remember. People are not allowed to say anything even remotely disparaging or critical about women.”
And that’s exactly what happens in most churches. On Father’s Day men are berated, challenged, admonished, or otherwise told to be better, but on Mother’s Day we spend the entire day fawning over our mothers, doing nothing more than serving and edifying and celebrating and coddling.
Now, I’m not saying that all of that is bad. Yes, men need to be challenged to be more like Christ, and yes, we should serve our mothers. But the disparity in the approaches to the holidays needs to be addressed otherwise we won’t celebrate God on Mother’s Day the way we should.
So, today I plan to talk about the wrong ways Christians celebrate Mother’s Day, and then we can discuss preparing for, celebrating the right way, and discipling during Mother’s Day.
1. How to Celebrate Mother’s Day the Wrong Way.
Since the beginning of The Celebration of God I’ve been very clear that the holidays that focus on humans are a tricky business that require great spiritual dexterity to do well.
Grandparent’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Children’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays all provide us wonderful opportunities to give honor where honor is due. It’s biblical to honor people because they are our parents, older than us, and even because of their position in the body of Christ.
But we must acknowledge that the world honors people as well. We have award ceremonies where millionaires give each other golden statues, and yet I don’t believe God has ever been glorified by the Oscars.
Therefore, honoring someone isn’t enough for Christians. We need to honor them the right way. And that’s where our failed attempts at celebrating Mother’s Day have gone wrong.
A. Some people don’t glorify God on Mother’s Day because they worship mom.
I know it may sound strange to word it that way, but — biblically speaking — worship is simply placing value in something. Everything we do all day long shows what we value, and anything we value more than God is false-worship. It’s idolatry.
Though it’s completely appropriate to show our mothers how much we value them, we should never value them more than we value God. In Luke 14:26 Jesus said that those who come to Him must hate his mother. Of course, we understand that the Greek word being used describes loving something less than we love something else. And that’s the point. It’s perfectly fine to love our mothers as long as we don’t love them more than we love God.
And because some people worship mothers too much . . .
B. Some people don’t believe mother’s have any flaws.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we should dedicate birthday celebrations to pointing out the birthday girl’s flaws, but I do think it’s important that we be prepared to acknowledge them if necessary.
How many spoiled little girls have thrown temper-tantrums on their birthdays only to be coddled by mom and dad because “it’s her special day”?
It doesn’t matter what kind of day it is, sin is sin.
However, when it comes to Mother’s Day, the church has bought into the feminist agenda that not only is it blasphemous to say anything critical of women, if you’re going to say something about women at all, it must be uplifting.
And since no one ever has anything bad to say about mothers, many children grow up believing that mom can do no wrong or they become bitter because of the rank hypocrisy in their home.
Mothers should be the first to communicate to their children that they too are the chief of sinners in their home who desperately need to repent and be forgiven by God.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we dedicate our Mother’s Day to pointing out her flaws, but we must accept the fact that God will not be glorified if we believe a lie about our mothers.
Now, let’s turn our attention to a correct view of Mother’s Day that should result in a Christ-honoring celebration of it.
2. How to Prepare for Mother’s Day.
First, we need to prepare our hearts in two key ways.
A. We must prepare to give God all the glory for our mothers.
Every good and perfect gift comes directly from God. That means that your mother is His grace in your life.
Even if you mom wasn’t there or was a bad mother, the fact that God used her to give you physical life is a gift.
I encourage you to check out CelebrationOfGod.com to download our Mother’s Day Bible Reading in order to prepare your minds to worship God.
The reading will be broken into two categories.
The first category will be about recognizing God first and foremost, and the second category will be about mothers.
However, again, some of you will not find too much joy in the second part of the list because your mothers didn’t fulfill many of those blessings in your life. That’s okay, you can celebrate God on Mother’s Day by thanking Him for His grace in your life.
But — for those of you whose mother’s align with the second part of the Bible Reading --
B. We must prepare to honor our mothers.
Good or bad, sweet or sour, children are to honor their parents in the Lord. Therefore it’s completely appropriate to thank our mothers for the ways they have submitted to God.
If God says that a wise mother instructs her children in the ways of the Lord, then we should be ready to thank our mother’s for obeying God by instructing us in the ways of the Lord.
And — if nothing else — we can thank our moms for bringing us into this world.
It’s also appropriate to spend time in prayer thanking God for His gift to you, but also — potentially — working through some of the bad attitudes you may have about your mom.
Listen, at some point or another our mothers have hurt us. But you won’t glorify God on Mother’s Day if you don’t let go of that offense and live in a spirit of forgiveness.
Some of you are harboring bitterness against your moms, and you need to prepare your hearts to worship God on Mother’s Day by asking God and your mother to forgive you.
Of course, you can also decorate your Celebration Walls . . . just remember, in the same way we don’t want to cover our Celebration Wall with images of Santa Claus, we must be careful to remember that the Celebration Wall is designed to draw our minds to God and His Word. It’s about God . . . not us.
That means that a Celebration Wall covered in pictures of mom with no focus at all on God and His goodness, is to completely miss the point.
3. How to Celebrate Mother’s Day the Right Way.
I recommend that one of the best ways to celebrate God on Mother’s Day is to spend time in prayer thanking God for the gift of mothers.
We can thank Him for using them to give us physical life; we can thank Him for explaining in the Scriptures how our women can be the best mothers possible. We can thank Him for sending the Holy Spirit to empower our mother’s to serve Him. And we can be thankful for those things even if our mothers didn’t take advantage of them.
From there obviously it’s appropriate to thank God for the righteousness He’s worked into their lives specifically.
I also think it’s appropriate to spend part of the time reading select passages from the Mother’s Day Bible Reading.
So, guess what . . . if a pastor were to preach on any of the mother-passages from the Scripture, He’s going to encounter an opportunity for challenge and — potentially — rebuke.
If I were preaching on Mother’s Day, I may spend some time on Proverbs 31:26-27 which reads, “She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
I would praise God for mothers that submit to Him by obeying this example, but I would also have to recognize that every mother in my church is a sinner. They sin just like the dads do, and they need just as much spiritual admonition. Therefore, I would have no problem pointing to the fact that — in the world — there is a growing plague of foolish, unkind women. They rejoice in bashing other people. They are gossips and malcontents and complainers. And I would challenge our women to set a good example for their children of how to please the Lord in our speech.
Pretending like the problem doesn’t exist only sends all of the wrong messages to everyone listening to the sermon.
And, allow me to say that every Christ-honoring woman sitting under the sound of that message would heartily agree, and those who — by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit — recognize areas in their lives where they haven’t been wise and kind in their speech will be quick to confess and repent.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead of disenfranchising children on Mother’s Day by telling them their mom is perfect and they need to treat her accordingly, we present a biblical perspective and — potentially — see moms submit to God?
Yeah, I think that would be awesome. And I think Proverbs 31 women would too.
Of course, again, please understand that we’re talking about a church service where the Word of God is being opened for the edification and reproof of God’s people.
It’s still completely Christ-honoring for us to fawn on mom in ways that she likes. Get her flowers, take her on a hike, make her favorite food, or maybe just allow her to get a nap.
We should definitely celebrate our moms in light of God’s grace.
Now, if my description sounds a little one-sided, please understand two things:
1. I’m trying very hard to counteract a dangerous Failure Philosophy in our Western culture. And . . .
2. I’m not suggesting that we swing to the opposite extreme and start bashing moms the way most pastors bash dads.
We need Christ-honoring balance, and I’ll obviously be speaking to that before Father’s Day.
Just remember, the best way to celebrate God on Mother’s Day is to make the day about God. And because God finds joy in us loving and honoring and respecting and obeying our mothers, let’s have some fun doing just that.
And lastly . . .
4. How to Disciple during Mother’s Day.
As always, discipleship is best done as we invite others into our Christ-honoring celebration. We should model for them how to do it, equip them to the best of our abilities, and keep them accountable.
Dads can disciple their children on Mother’s Day by leading them in worship of God and biblical honor for mom.
But Moms can disciple their children on Mother’s Day by focusing their eyes on the Savior.
A humble mother is going to make a bigger deal out of her Lord than herself. What better way to lead your children in the worship of God than to take a day designed by the world to celebrate you and turn it into an opportunity to praise God.
And we can do this for our friends as well. If you have a friend who’s at odds with his or her mother, you can worship God and disciple that friend by encouraging him talk with his mom or going with her to apologize to her mother.
God has given us the same Ambassadorial role of reconciliation that He gave to Jesus. We disciple best when we help those who are positionally reconciled to God to be relationally reconciled to each other.
I love mothers. I praise God for mothers. They have a big and desperately important job in this world, and I believe the job is bigger than most moms realize.
I’m all about praising mothers for a job well done, but I’m also excited about helping disciples of Christ mother better.
And I’m really passionate about disciples of Christ giving Him the preeminence due Him — even on Mother’s Day.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets and join us next time as we talk about preparing for, celebrating, and discipling during Ascension Day.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.