Mothers Change the World

What his mother was, her Son became.

A pattern across time

Is this the pattern of history?

Moses was raised in the pagan culture, traditions, and religion of Egypt. And yet because of his spiritual mother, he never forgot his God or his people, and one day led them to their Promised Land.

Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was fervent in prayer, trusting God for a son. She gave that son back to the Lord. And he became Israel’s last judge, first prophet, and great spiritual leader.

Paul said to young Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

Is it not true that what their mothers were, their children became?

Does the pattern continue across history?

•The mother of Nero was a murderer, as was he.

•Of the 69 kings in France’s history there have been only three who were truly loved and respected by their subjects—the only ones reared by loving mothers.

•Sir Walter Scott’s mother was a woman of education and a great lover of the arts. So was he.

•The mother of George Washington was known for her integrity of character, as was her son.

•Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother

•John Newton’s mother prayed for her wayward, sinful son, until he came to the Amazing Grace of which his hymn testifies.

W. R. Wallace said, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Was he right spiritually?

Aurelius Augustinus would have made the cover of People magazine weekly, if it had been around in 354 AD. He had two mistresses, the first when he was only sixteen. He fathered an illegitimate child, and ran from one scandal to another.

But his saintly mother Monica wouldn’t give up on her wayward son. Where he moved, she moved. While he sinned, she prayed. Finally, at 33 years of age, he came to faith in Jesus. He was ordained a priest, then a bishop; he wrote sixteen volumes of the greatest theology since Paul, and is considered the most brilliant Christian since the New Testament. To whom do we owe St. Augustine?

Susannah Wesley was the 25th child of her father and the mother of 19. She taught each of her children to recite the alphabet by his or her fifth birthday; when they turned six, she spent six hours each day teaching them Christian theology. Two of her sons, John and Charles, would in time found the denomination known as Methodist. John Wesley later said, “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England.” To whom do we owe him?


Does your mother today deserve your gratitude for her spiritual influence upon your life? Not all do across Scripture and history, of course. Does yours? Have you thanked God for her? Have you thanked her?

Have you been given the privilege of being a mother? On this Mother’s Day, would you renew your commitment to the spiritual life and eternal soul of the one entrusted to you? Would you pray for him or her right now? Would you ask God’s help and wisdom in shaping the eternal clay put into your hands? Would you make that eternal soul your highest priority as a mother?

Mother Teresa was the most famous “mother” of the 20th century and one of my faith heroes as well. She began her ministry in Calcutta in 1948, working among the poorest of the poor in the city’s slums. She had only five rupees and no help. She began an open-air school for children, meeting under a locust tree. In time she began receiving volunteers and financial aid. Two years later she received permission from the Pope to begin her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity.”

Today her order helps the poorest of the poor all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and engage in relief work after natural catastrophes wherever they occur. The order has established 120 houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they care for shut-ins, alcoholics, the homeless, and AIDS sufferers. More than a million “Co-Workers” have joined the Missionaries of Charity in serving Jesus “in all his distressing disguises.”

In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She died on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87.

To the end of her life she maintained her simplicity and sacrifice, refusing to allow her fame and celebrity to change her commitment to Christ and his calling. On her deathbed, she was seen by a nurse holding a picture of Jesus in her tiny, shriveled hands and saying to it, “Jesus, I never refuse you anything.”

Let us pray.