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A Launching Pad Called “Mom”

Someone observed, "A mother's lap is the best place from which to launch a life." But not all mothers are created equal. Ancient Queen Athaliah, daughter of the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel, launched her son Ahaziah and he later became king of Judah. But he was a wicked king, and in one of the saddest statements ever made the Bible tells us, "he also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly" (the New International Version says "his mother encouraged him in doing wrong"; 2 Chronicles 22:2-4). Jezebel and Athaliah both remind us of the far-reaching impact a mother's attitudes and actions and choices have on her children. Ahab and Jezebel and Athaliah and Ahaziah all came to occupy high and powerful positions in their respective times and cultures — but the height of their personal character never matched that of their political positions. Jezebel and Athaliah are two of the worst mothers in history. With their lives and no doubt by their lips they launched their children in the wrong direction, and in each case it led to disaster. In great contrast to Atahaliah, Jochebed launched a Moses, Hannah launched a Samuel, and Eunice, with the help of her mother Lois, launched a Timothy. And when the fulness of time finally came, "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Galatians 4:4). That woman was "a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary." From this godly young woman's womb and lap God chose to launch Jesus into His great redemptive mission on earth. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger and 33 years later stood beside Him as He died on the cross (Luke 1:26-27, 38; 2:7; John 19:25). God used Mary in a mighty way — as a mother who launched Jesus into the world!

Mothers launch their children toward all kinds of things these days. Beauty, popularity, prominence, power, money, and material success — these continue to be the world's top pursuits, and many mothers, even some in the church, prod their children to join in the chase. The Bible warns success built solely on these pursuits will at last prove futile and temporary (Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 1 John 2:15-17). Mothers need to understand their role as a launching pad. The child you now hold in your arms and lap will not be there very long. Your opportunity to mold their character and values and influence them for God is a magnificent and vital one — but a short one. Henry Ward Beecher reminds us, "The mother's heart is the child's first schoolroom." If God is in mother's heart, it will be impossible for her children not to be impacted by her example and teaching. Immediately after telling young women to marry and bear children, the Bible tells them to "manage" or guide" or "keep" the household (1 Timothy 5:14). Titus 2:3-5 tells us one of the duties of older women and mothers in the church is to teach the younger ones to love their husbands and their children and to maintain a high level of moral purity and chastity so they can be effective "homemakers" — not home-breakers. It is true: a mother's lap is the best place from which to launch a life. Mom impacts not just time but eternity as she molds the faith and character of her children. Mom, the countdown is on. What direction are you launching your children?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ