I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this article but I felt it was needful. Every Mother’s Day I smiled as my mother, along with the many in my church, stood and was honored for her title of Mom. As the clapping died down, the pastor would often say something like, “There is no greater calling than motherhood” and while I know his intentions were good and what he meant was praise, there was something inside of me that wondered just how accurate it was. Did that mean only having children qualified as a woman’s calling? That if you didn’t or couldn’t have children your calling was of lesser value? Again, I know that this was not the intended message behind the pastor or anyone else’s words but we need to be careful about what we classify as the “greatest”, especially when speaking to a group of people.
What does the Bible say?
If we were to look at Scripture, we would discover that mothers are definitely honored but there is no verse stating that it is the greatest calling. What we are told is how important her influence is on the lives of her children as we read when Paul credited part of who Timothy had become to the teachings of both his mother and grandmother.
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 2 Timothy 1:5
We also read of a husband and children praising their mother for her example.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Proverbs 31:28-29
The life of Hannah has been held up as an example of the power of a praying mother and the lifelong influence she can have on her children.
For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:27-28
And a king acknowledged that it was his mother who had taught him some valuable life principles that ranged from how to deal with others to what to look for in a wife.
The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. Proverbs 31:1
Over and over again we read of the sway and guidance a mother can provide for her children yet none of it has ever been labeled as the greatest calling.
What does it mean to say something is the greatest?
When we label something as the greatest we have elevated it to the highest position. For example, we say that the story of Jesus coming to earth to be born among men so that He could live, die, and be raised from the dead, is the greatest story ever told and that is absolutely true because there is none greater than He. If we apply this to motherhood, can we honestly say that there is none greater than a mother? Please don't misread what I am saying. Mothers are important and play a critical role in the home but I don’t believe we can say their position is the greatest calling for the main reason that not all women will be mothers. Some may never marry and others may face the realization that they cannot have children. These women would all be disqualified from ever being able to fulfill the greatest calling in their life.
So what is the greatest calling?
God never calls one person to a greater life than someone else, each has equal value and importance. While our realm of influence and impact may be larger than some it is never better or more prominent than another’s. The apostle Paul traveled all over Europe and into parts of Asia, bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, but this did not make him more praise worthy or exceptional than Aquilla and Priscilla who were simple tentmakers working a one-on-one discipleship program with new believers like Apollos. They were each following Jesus and doing His will for their life and that, I truly believe, is the greatest calling of all. Following Jesus and doing His will is a calling that each and every person be they man or woman, single or married, many children or none, can fulfill.
I want to emphasize once more that I understand the intention behind the words, “there is no greater calling than motherhood.” We desire to honor mothers and celebrate the amazing work they do as they pour themselves into their children but we must also be careful of what it can imply. I also want you to know that I am in complete favor of honoring moms not just on Mother’s day, but every day for the sacrifices they make and the seeds they plant in the hearts of their children. Satan is attacking the home and all that it stands for which means we must be in defense of it at all cost. Today’s mothers are doing a great work and I am grateful for all that my own mother has done for me. We also don't have to be a mom to invest in the lives of children. We can encourage, challenge, and pray for the children God brings into our lives as well as speak uplifting words to the mothers around us. Motherhood is undeniably a wonderful part of the lives of countless women and has made an eternal difference for sure but there is no greater “calling” than to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.