And the Prize Goes to...Moms!
I don’t need to tell you that moms are influential. Some for better and, unfortunately, some (most remember Mommy Dearest) for worse! Where would our world be without all the maternal influence for the better? Our nation may never have been born:
"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."
─George Washington (1732-1799)
And especially the spiritual influence:
“I learned from my father the value of hard work and ambition, and maybe a little something about telling a story. From my mother, I learned the value of prayer, how to have dreams and believe I could make them come true.”
─Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
If you are a parent and your kids know Christ, you know what a blessing that is. Two of our three children were led to Christ by their mother, my wife, Wendi. The third met Jesus as a result of an invitation from a pastor, other than me! I wish I could take credit for my kids’ decisions for Jesus. Maternal impact—motherly influence—wins the prize (the crown of glory) in our family. (At least I later baptized them!)
The legacy continues with my eldest daughter and her husband, teaching their 2-year-old Scripture and Christian choruses. What an incredible privilege and responsibility parents have in being the primary influence for God in the lives of the next generation. Moms’ prayers and input seem to be a common denominator in a high percentage of the children that have been persuaded to embrace Christianity.
The Apostle Paul was a spiritual father to young Pastor Timothy. Paul called him a “true child in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). But Paul primarily credited Timothy’s mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois) with passing along the legacy of “sincere faith” that Timothy received (2 Tim. 1:5). We can only imagine what the New Testament would have been like without Paul’s letters to Timothy and how it may have negatively affected the spread of the gospel and growth of the early church had Timothy never come to faith in Christ. Maternal impact—motherly influence—wins the prize in Pastor Timothy’s family too.
That is why it is so unimaginable that some parents, who seem to really love their kids—they provide loving care, food, shelter, clothing, education and the best in material things—do not intentionally guide their children toward a relationship with God! In fact, some consider it good parenting not to be too influential when it comes to spiritual things.
Some parents are actually proud of the fact that they let their children “choose their own spiritual path.” Of course, having faith in God is indeed a personal choice. But if Christ’s Commission to “make disciples” doesn’t apply to the people most directly entrusted to us by God, then to whom does it apply?
Unfortunately, some atheistic parents are intent on passing along their atheism to their kids. According to reviewer Lisa Miller of BeliefWatch, Parenting Beyond Belief is the newest resource for parents who don't believe in God. She writes that it "aims to help folks who are raising their kids without religion deal with the sticky questions that come up about Santa Claus and heaven," as well as dealing with other concerns atheistic mothers and fathers have living "in a culture saturated with talk about God." One "compelling chapter" explains how to talk to children about death when there is no belief in a hereafter. How sad!
My parents modeled consistency; raising their children to believe in God and attend church regularly. Even after Dad went to heaven, Mom drove from Wood Ranch in Simi Valley to attend LOC in Newbury Park every Sunday. Sunday morning is for church. The guy in the pulpit learned that from his parents’ example. And where would our church be without one particular, consistent, influential mom? Once again, maternal impact—motherly influence—wins the prize!
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children,”
─Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 ESV