An exhortation highlights a specific sin as some way in which we fall short of God’s glory, and then calls those who participate in it to greater things in Jesus. This exhortation concerns the activity and effect of motherhood.

The Activity

What does a mother do? She builds up the house that God has given to her by teaching, training, nurturing, providing for, serving, and looking after the wellbeing of those whom God has brought into it. She invests herself in the growth and establishment of those whom God has entrusted to her.

To me, the word that most closely relates to the work of mothering is “sacrifice.” Which is what I see in my mom, even to this day. And it is what I see in my wife as she gives herself over to the growth of our three children.

The Effect

What is the result of a mother’s work? Men and women who have been taught how to love and follow Jesus. Which means that Christian mothering is a unique expression of the Great Commission

And I think that this is amazing; that by providing meals for her three children, teaching the children at home, training them in various practical and spiritual matters, all while working part-time to help support the family financially, my mom and my wife express the Great Commission.

But Why this Exhortation?

What makes this more than a mashup between a Hallmark card and a Michael W. Smith song? The reason for this exhortation is because we make the theological and practical mistake of limiting the scope of motherhood to anyone who gives birth to a child. We think that the activity of a mom only occurs in a house with four walls and is only accomplished by a woman to whom physical children have been given and that its effect is only felt by the children to whom she has Given birth.

We forget that Jesus, looking at his mother and his spiritual brother John, said, “woman, behold your son!” and, “Son, behold your mother!”

We forget God’s promise in Psalm 113, to “give the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.

We forget Paul in Romans 16, where he says, “greet Rufus…and his mother, who has become a mother to me.

We limit God’s glorious activity by improperly defining who it is that gets to be a mom.


Your exhortation this morning is to recognize and rejoice over the defining threads of motherhood that run through the fabric of your life.

  • The older sister who looks after her siblings when mom isn’t around.

  • The professional that sees the young men and women in her church as younger brothers and sisters, and cares for them as such.

  • The student who actively seeks the success of the men and women who live in her dorm room.

  • The childless wife who has become a second mom to a countless number of children around her.

  • The grandmother whose children have long since left the home, but tirelessly gives of herself to someone else’s children and grandchildren, because God has brought them into her path.

God has called moms of all types for the good of those whom they sacrificially serve. See this, and celebrate it.

Dan Nichols