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First Thoughts

The Joy Set Before Mothers

The sun comes up, and Jenny is at work. My wife rises early to make sure the children are fed, and she goes to sleep late to care for them. The work of cleaning the dishes, picking up toys, changing diapers, instructing hearts, tending to injuries, navigating sibling conflict, and running a home is constant.

Every day there is work to be done, and each day brings needs, wants, and demands. My wife is not alone. There are mothers across the world who are hard at work in their homes. It does not matter if the children are six weeks old or sixteen years old; each stage of parenting brings about challenges. The work of motherhood is continual, consistent, and challenging.

And it does not make sense to most people. The world does not understand the glory of motherhood.

This is because home is not the place where the spotlight shines. The home is not the place where you can climb a ladder to get promotions and claim a new status. History does not have its eyes on you, and the cultural ceiling is not being broken.

The world does not understand the value of the home because it doesn’t understand glory. The world is chasing after a selfish glory that fades and a spotlight that dims.

The home seems foolish to the world, just like the gospel seems foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The real glory of motherhood is in displaying the gospel every day.

When a mom cleans up her children after a bathroom accident, she can be like her Lord, who stooped down to wash his disciple’s dirty feet (John 13:1-20). Every time there is a sibling conflict, a mother can be blessed as a peacemaker because Christ has made peace with us. (Matthew 5:9)

When a mom wakes up to serve her home in the unseen shadows of the morning, she can follow in the footsteps of Christ, who served the world by arriving in the unseen shadows of Bethlehem.

When a mom receives no fanfare or trumpet blast for her work, she can be like Jesus, who did not receive them either on this earth.

Each time a mother skips a meal due to the chaotic rush of life or spends the day washing out kid-stained laundry, she can sacrifice knowing that her Savior paid the ultimate sacrifice for her to have joy.

This is the glory the world does not understand. The world does not understand the joy that was set before Jesus when he endured the cross.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1–2).

Jesus sacrificed his entire life because he knew real joy and lasting glory. He came to earth out of love for the Father and love for the world (John 3:16). Jesus endured sleepless nights, long days, grumpy disciples, and a grueling cross because he had a lasting joy set before him.

He now sits at the right hand of God, having redeemed a people for himself, and he is coming back again to restore the world to a new and better Eden.

Mothers who are misunderstood and unappreciated by the world can trust in Christ and draw upon his grace to face the challenges of tomorrow. Mothers who are weary, worn out, and doing a thankless job can be strengthened by Christ and his gospel.

There is a glory in motherhood that is irreplaceable. There is a lasting joy in motherhood that self-promoting people cannot obtain or understand. The glory and joy of motherhood is ultimately found in Jesus, who enables us to lose our lives in order to find them.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).

Do you see and celebrate the glory of motherhood which ultimately reflects the glory of God in Christ? As we celebrate mothers this year, who can you encourage with the joy of the gospel?

Sean Perron (Ph.D. in Applied Theology from Midwestern Seminary and M.Div., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the Associate Pastor.  He is the co-author of three books: Letters to a Romantic: On DatingLetters to a Romantic: On Marriage, and Letters to a Romantic: The First Years. 

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