Written Sermons & Bible Studies

Unseen Sacrifices: The Silent Sermons of Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day! Let’s pause for a moment. Picture your mother or a person who nourished your life and touched you deeply. Moms, take a moment to remember the children you raised, the good moments and the joy of a child. The role of mother is a journey of great blessing. It is also full of struggle, disappointment, and worry.

Our relationships with our mothers are formed from the moment we are given life. Seeing my first grandchild, I recalled the memories of Jan with our sons. The baby was so amazingly dependent on mom. Watching Becca with our grandchild, I wondered how humans ever managed to survive the many millennia before technology and civilization. Bennett is so helpless and dependent. Our relationship with mom begins there, in complete love and dependence. As we grow older and we mature, our relationship with mom becomes more complex. Some of us have a great relationship with our mom, some of us have a lukewarm relationship and some of us have a broken relationship. If we are honest, our relationship with mom can be complex and bittersweet.

But no matter where our relationships with our mothers are today or our relationships are with our kids, the relationship began in a place of overwhelming love.

As we remember, there’s an unspoken language of love—a language that speaks through sacrifices seen and unseen, through nights stayed up and prayers whispered.

Today, we celebrate that selfless love of motherhood. But we also look deeper, into the greatest sermon ever given on a mountainside long ago, where Jesus called us to love extraordinarily—to turn the other cheek, to give without keeping score, to walk the extra mile.

Today, we will explore how the everyday acts of motherhood are not just duties performed; they are profound echoes of the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus challenged people to live differently. He challenged them to redefine strength and love. In the lives of moms and grandmothers, we see the teachings of Jesus lived out as they care for their children and grandchildren.

Matthew 5:38-42

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.


Let’s start with the first concept in this passage and clarify its meaning. Scripture says, “Do not resist an evildoer.” This person is not an evil person. It is a person, like you and me, who might have done an act of evil. The act may have been intentional or unintentional. In ancient times, justice dictated that there be some form of retribution. If we were of equal social status, if I broke your arm, you would break my arm. If the injured person were of a lower class, the higher-status person would pay them for the evil that was committed. The eye for an eye formula seemed just to ancient people. In practice, it led to an endless cycle of revenge and retribution.


How does this concept relate to parenting? Moms know their children are not evil. Yet, as every mom knows, kids are also not saints and are capable of sinful acts. They can be obstinate, disobedient, spiteful, willful, unloving, prideful, unable to listen, etc. And it gets worse as they get older. Kids do not become eviler as they get older, they just strive for independence and self-sufficiency. They may want to be independent, but they rarely break the bond of dependency with mom completely. Even those kids who have a broken relationship with mom are tethered to her in a complex way. The mother-child connectedness is inescapable and life-long. My sons have a close relationship with mom. They need and value their connection to Jan.

Now let’s look at how the everyday life of a mother sheds light on another important concept that Jesus taught.

Matthew 5:39

But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.

Moms, how often in your life raising kids did you take their criticism or their disobedience and insults and turn the other cheek? Sure, there were times when you put a stop to it. But I bet there were many times when you didn’t fight back or punish your kids. As they got older and perhaps even as an adult, you turned the other cheek and listened to insults and challenges to your way of life that hurt and sting deeply. Yet, you turned the other cheek and even invited more pain just to connect to your child or support them. How could all your teaching, going to church, education and guidance have resulted in your child choosing such a different path? Yet, you continue to love them, pray for them, encourage them, cheer their independence. You worry and live a life of anxiety hoping they learn as they go through life.

Even Mary, Jesus’ mom faced anxiety as he pursued his own path starting as a child:

Luke 2:44-49

Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?


The next concept in Jesus’ teaching illustrates the way mothers give so much more than what is demanded of them or required as a mom.

Matthew 5:40

if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give them your cloak as well

I know that Jan falls in this camp. She has a lot of clothes in her closet, but as an illustration, if her sons asked for her coat, she’d empty her closet for them. I see this impulse of motherhood in all the women here who volunteer here at the church. You give tirelessly to the food pantry and the other ministries of the church.

I have seen the motherly impulse with women in the food pantry line and here in our community. Moms do not give out of their surplus but give out of their necessities. Moms give even when it hurts. Jesus encourages a culture of giving with no limits, and the generosity of a mom knows no limits.

The life of a mom is a life of living this teaching of Jesus:

Matthew 5:41

and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.


Motherhood often requires a mom to go the extra mile with her children. For my wife Jan, when the kids were young, she would spend upwards of 5 hours a day driving. She would take them to school and then pick them up. It was 45 minutes each way. Then she would take them to after school stuff, that was more hours. Some of the after-school stuff was for therapies to help her children overcome some unfortunate childhood health issues. My oldest son Michael lost most of the vision in his left eye to a rare congenital disease when he was 1. The following surgeries and treatments led to temporary disabilities that required therapy. Jan drove the extra miles for her sons. With the drive came deep concern, anxiety, worry and uncertainty about their future. It also came with the struggle of making our son do uncomfortable, difficult therapies. Jan was there with him all the way.

The final teaching of Jesus in our passage today involves giving more than what was required in yet another way.

Matthew 5: 42

Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Grandmothers, I see this with many of you and it goes to extreme levels. You have raised your kids. Therefore, they should have left the house and should be self-reliant. They should be able to care for themselves and for their children. But life does not always work out the way we think or plan for it to work out. Life can bring hardships into the lives of our children and even as adults, they turn to us for help. Sometimes the help is minor, and we can provide help without it disrupting our lives. Other times the help is a great burden that totally disrupts our lives. Jan helped our son with his newborn, and she will likely help more when he returns to work. This help was minor, and she was excited to help. When I had cancer, my in-laws lived with us for months to help us with the kids and support Jan. They were glad to help, but it was not a short visit, and it did disrupt their lives. While they were with us, her dad put his jack-of-all-trades skills to us. Jan and I got the added advantage of a live-in maintenance man, and our home never worked so well.

Then there is the help I see often here in the church. Grandmothers raising grandkids. If there is ever an illustration of the teaching of Jesus, this is it. Grandmothers have raised their kids, they maybe retired living on a fixed income with minimal savings and their kids need them, their grandchildren need them. Their children beg them to help, or their grandchildren need a home and grandmother steps up. These grandmothers do not refuse their sons and daughters as they desperately seek help. These grandmothers do not refuse to lend their child rearing ability, their love for their grandkids and even their house and their finances to raise their grandkids. The son or daughter borrows, and the grandmother gives knowing she will likely never be repaid.

The life of a mother is a life of answering the begging of children. We as parents hope that our adult children will not borrow, but mothers often lend and lend with no expectation of interest or repayment.

Finally, the life of a mother may be a life of distance, separation or estrangement from the child you loved and raised. Your child is telling you to stay away. This hurts. Depending on the situation, it may be wise to give them the space they ask for. Let them know that you are there for them. Turn the other cheek to their rebuff. Be prepared to give more than you should. Accept the pain and criticism of rebuilding a broken relationship. Let them know that you are prepared to go the extra mile, even to the point of accepting full blame for the distance in your relationship. In the spirit of giving to those who ask, be unconditionally available to your child. Offer your support freely, even if that support is staying away.

That said, there are times when they tell you to stay away that you know you must intervene to save them. You go the extra mile to chase them, running toward danger to rescue them from an addiction, an abusive relationship, a cult or authoritarian cage or another snare of Satan.

Today, take a moment to reflect on the lessons of love and sacrifice we’ve discussed. Lessons mirrored in the lives of the remarkable mothers and grandmothers among us.

To our moms, whether you’re cradling an infant, guiding a child through first steps, or supporting your adult children through the complexities of their lives, your love reflects God’s love. Each day as a mother you embody Jesus’ teachings. You turn the other cheek to a child’s harsh words, you go the extra mile to ensure their happiness and safety and in silence, you sacrifice.

To those who are widows or single moms, your efforts are seen and deeply appreciated. Your daily life is a sermon, teaching us all about persistence, courage, strength, and unconditional love. Know that you are not alone; we stand with you in your journey.

Today, we recognize the tireless love and endless sacrifices our mothers and grandmothers have made for us. Like us, our mothers are not perfect. We must pray for them and if they have caused us injury, ask Christ to help us forgive them and for the scars to heal. We can work to build healthy relationships with our moms through strength and reliance on our savior. Today, we honor our moms. Let us all strive to reflect the love of motherhood in our life and community. May the lessons of Jesus encourage us to love—selflessly, courageously, and boundlessly. May we share this love in words and actions every day, as our mothers and grandmothers have shown us.

Happy Mother’s Day to all. May you feel the warmth of God’s love through each other, today and always.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the mothers and grandmothers who have deeply enriched our lives with their love and dedication.

We recognize that not all journeys between mothers and children are smooth—some are fraught with challenges and pain. We pray for healing where there is hurt, understanding where there is conflict, and reconciliation where there is estrangement. May Your grace touch these relationships, bringing transformation and peace.

Bless all mothers with strength and wisdom. Provide them with the courage and serenity needed to face each day. Guide them in their nurturing roles and comfort them in their moments of doubt and fatigue.

We also extend gratitude to those who may not be mothers by birth but who mother our church community with their guidance, care, and unwavering support. Your nurturing spirit helps sustain and grow our spiritual family.

May our community support one another with love and kindness. May we share each other’s burdens and celebrate each other’s achievements.

Holy Spirit, help us carry with us the compassion and respect we read in the teachings of Jesus and we apply in our lives by your wisdom and grace.

In The name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

About Pastor Tim

Tim Holmes

Senior Pastor

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