Ministry as a Mother (1 Thessalonians #8)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9

Paul has given the negatives of of the ministry.  He reminded the Thessalonians that he had not approached them in flattery and other things.  Now, he’s going to remind them how he did enter in among them.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11 Paul gives male and female qualities both needed for ministry.  He talks about being like a mother and being like a father.  God created them male and female.  In spite of what the culture tells you.  And if God had his way, every child would grow up under a loving mother who is gentle, cherishes her child, is affectionate toward them, gave of herself, found her child to be dear, labored and travailed for her child.  And if God had his way, every child would grow up with a loving father who exhorted, comforted, and charged his children.  And between a loving Dad and a loving Mom their children would have the perfect balance of preparation for a healthy, productive life.

Now, if you don’t have that, you start with a disadvantage.  You have no father to compare to.  Or you have no mother to compare to.  Or your mother was too busy with her career or with other people so you’re idea of a motherhood is what you have learned from your mother.  Or you have no father to compare to.  So the masculine attributes don’t mean anything because there is no dad to compare to.

If you’re saved, a healthy relationship with the Lord will lead to a desire to serve in some way.  In a healthy ministry there are masculine and feminine qualities that are both needed.  Let’s consider the feminine characteristics.

Sweet spirit (vs 7)

  • Gentleness.  This is treating them tenderly though the process of birth is painful.
  • Mom has a way with her children that Dad can’t have.
    • Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.  We are familiar with the influence a parent has on a child, but what about the influence of the child on the parent.
    • A child’s trouble is a mother’s trouble.  And a child’s trouble is a mother’s trouble in a way that it isn’t Dad’s trouble.
      • Canaanite whose daughter is vexed with a devil – Matthew 15:21-28
      • 2 Kings 4:27, the Shunammite’s son dies and her soul is vexed
      • Luke 17:32 Lot’s wife – a mother chained to her past.
      • Regrets that destroyed her.  What should I have done?
      • Sometimes the regrets can be overwhelming.
  • The servant of the Lord must be gentle
    • 2 Timothy 2:24-25 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
    • Gentleness allows people to grow.
    • Gentleness allows you to impart things that otherwise could not be imparted to people.
  • God’s wisdom is gentle
    • James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
    • The temptation to press too hard, to demand too much, to force progress, or to orchestrate success can lead us to harm others.  If it’s God’s wisdom, it’s gentle.
  • God’s spirit is gentle
    • Galatians 5:22
    • We cleaned up your messes
    • We changed your diapers
    • We didn’t take your messes personally
  • Gentleness often gets mistaken for weakness, but it’s not a form of weakness rather strength.
    • In our rough and rugged individualism, we think of gentleness as weakness—being soft and virtually spineless. Not so. Gentleness includes such enviable qualities as having strength under control, being calm and peaceful when surrounded by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and possessing tact and gracious courtesy that causes others to retain their dignity. Instead of losing, the gentle gain; instead of being ripped off and taken advantage of, they come out ahead.
  • The Lord Jesus Christ is gentle.
    • Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
    • The disciples were arguing about who would be first in the kingdom when the Lord called a child up to him and likened their entrance into the kingdom of heaven to that a child.
    • 2 Samuel 22:36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Sincere delight (vs 8)

  • Mom’s children are a part of her.  They’re a part of you.
  • She treats her baby like she’d want to be treated.
  • Notice the gospel was half of the ministry.  There was also TLC involved.
    • Good doctrine without tender loving care will make for an unhealthy ministry.
      • Here’s a Mom whose only time spent with her children is correcting them and instructing them, never giving of herself to them.
      • There is a good chance they won’t know how to love others and will become drill sergeants or bitter towards the truth.
    • Tender loving care without good doctrine will also make for an unhealthy ministry.
      • Here is a Mom whose only time spent with her children is bending over backwards to do everything for them.  Or time spent just playing games with them.  But there is no correcting or instructing them.
      • There is a good chance they’ll be spoiled with tantrums when they don’t their way.
    • The point is that both the gospel (good doctrine) and tender loving care are both needed for healthy growth.

Sacrificial (vs 9)

  • A mother works night and day, up and down, giving of yourself all the time.
  • Physically speaking, Paul worked when the Thessalonians could not support his ministry to them.
  • Spiritually speaking, Paul gave them everything he had spiritually.  Prayer, preaching
  • Diligent example
    • Paul was almost killed in Thessalonica.  He was sacrificing for their benefit.
    • 2 Timothy 1:5 Lois and Eunice – Timothy becomes pastor of the Ephesian church.  We have a letter to the Ephesians because of his work.  And it was the unfeigned faith of his mother and grandmother that influenced him so heavily in God’s calling.  
    • In a room of 120 pastors it was asked how many had been led to the Lord by their mother.  100 of them raised their hand.  I remember being on a drilling rig and getting a phone call from my wife telling me about one of the kids she had just led to the Lord.  I was led to the Lord by my mom.  There was clear Biblical instruction for Timothy from his mother and grandmother.