Who is my mother? Jesus asked this question and then he answered it in Matthew 12:50 by saying it is whoever does the will of his Father. This reminds me of a woman C. S. Lewis describes meeting in heaven in his book The Great Divorce. A Teacher is showing him around the place when they encounter a woman of stunning beauty.
“It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.”
“She seems to be… well, a person of particular importance?”
“Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on earth are two quite different things.”
“… And who are all these young men and women on each side?”
“They are her sons and daughters.”
“She must have had a very large family, Sir.”
“Every young man or boy that met her became her son — even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.”
“Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?”
“No, her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.”
This woman would be a “mother” because she does the will of God in the lives of those around her. God created mothers to give birth, but that does not necessarily mean it has to be a physical birth. We can birth life into others when we take their hands to lead them into a deeper walk with God or into a deeper intimacy with Jesus. Women can birth the hope of God into a despairing life, or the strength of Jesus into a depressed friend. A mother is not solely a woman who has a biological child. A “mother” is a woman made in the image of God who brings true life to her world through the Spirit of God in her. She is the woman who offers comfort, care and love when she sees a need and rises up to meet that need. She is God’s hands and heart to offer a meal for a struggling family, sit with the sick or walk with the hurting.
That’s Jesus’ description of a “mother.” May God bless His “mothers” on Mother’s Day.