I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
A little boy, who was told by his mother that it was God who made people good, responded, “Yes, I know it is God, but mothers help a lot.” That’s an excellent insight. The conduct and character of a mother are vital factors in the success or failure of a child’s development. Furthermore, the faith of a mother is probably the single-most important gift she can give her child. This is evident in the following examples:
The mother of George Washington conducted family prayers twice a day and taught her son Biblical ethics and morality which later guided him in political office as President of the United States.
Susannah Wesley was a model of Christian piety and organization. She daily instructed her nine children from the Bible and taught them to sing psalms and spiritual songs as they helped around the house. Two of her sons, Charles and John, founded the Methodist Movement, and Charles became one of the most prolific hymn writers of all time, writing more than 6,500 hymns.
The mother of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England following the English Civil War, taught him the simple truths of Scripture. Cromwell lived by the Biblical dictum, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13.
The mother of Ferdinand Foch, the great general of the First World War, taught him to put his faith in God and to pray. As a result his men said of him, “General Foch is a man of prayer, a prophet whom God inspires.” Throughout his life he continued the prayer habits he learned in his mother’s home.
The mother of England’s famous William E. Gladstone led her son to faith in God when he was nine. He chose as his life’s motto: “In practice, the great thing is that the life of God may be the supreme habit of my soul.”
John Newton’s mother prayed with and for her son every day. She died when Newton was only seven years old and left her son a virtual orphan. Taken in by distant relatives Newton was mocked for his belief in God and discouraged from praying. At the age of eleven, unhappy and lonely, Newton ran off to become a sailor’s apprentice. His life went from bad to worse and before long he was working as a mate in the slave trade. Then while facing certain death in a frightening storm Newton remembered the faith of his mother, turned to God, and became a devout Christian. Later, as a minister of the Gospel, he wrote the well-known hymn, Amazing Grace. Looking back on his life he is said to have remarked, “I was born in a home of godliness and was dedicated to God in my infancy.”
Yes, the good influence of a Christian mother is a lifetime investment. As Abraham Lincoln said, “No man is poor who has a godly mother.” So let’s be reminded that the faith of our mothers is imperative in the Millennium ahead. Let’s ask ourselves how the children of today are going to remember their mothers. And mothers, consider how you can point your children to God by the force of your example and the power of your words.