As a pastor, I think that one of the most critical areas of ministry is children’s ministry. By this, I don’t mean Sunday School, youth groups, Bible Studies, service projects, catechism classes, children’s choirs, and the like (though these things have their place and I’m very thankful for those in our church who invest the time and energy to lead them). But I’m primarily speaking about the all-important ministry of mothers to their own children.
It’s very easy for this ministry to be overlooked. It’s not glamorous. It’s often thankless and receives little notice. In our increasingly feminized culture, it’s embarrassing for women to say that she “stays home with her children,” or works only part-time to make ends meet, but considers her primary calling to be in the home. And yet, the very thing at which the culture blushes, God praises.
Jesus himself spent time with children: he raised Jairus’ daughter (Lk. 8:54), he healed a demon-possessed boy (Lk. 9:42), and he encouraged the children to approach him, saying, “Do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 19:14). The Bible commands parents to instruct their children (Dt. 6:6-9, Eph. 6:4) and lovingly to discipline them (Prov. 23:13,14, Heb. 12:8).
Time spent with children isn’t wasted; we must remember what our children say when they recite Children’s Catechism #18, “I have a soul that will never die.” When we place motherhood against the backdrop of eternity, what a high calling it becomes!
Now, as Eph. 6:4 makes clear, it is certainly fathers who ultimately must answer to God for the raising of their children. In a day of absentee dads, that message can’t be sounded loudly enough. Nevertheless, in a well-ordered home, it is still mothers who will spend the most time with their children, administer the most discipline, give the most hugs and kisses, teach the most about God and God’s world, and model the most what it means to live godly in Christ Jesus.
How important mothers are! Indeed, Scripture heaps praises upon motherhood when Paul compares his own ministry to that of a nursing mother cherishing her children (I Thess. 2:8-9), and when a mother’s love pictures God’s greater love for us (Isa. 49:15)!
So what’s my bottom line? Everyday, as a pastor, I engage in ministry. I preach twice every Lord’s Day, teach Sunday School and Bible Studies, lead prayer meeting, visit the sick, disciple individuals, pray for the flock. And people notice my ministry. They notice it so much that they pay me to do it.
But everyday Megan also engages in ministry. She makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, reminds our boys to obey cheerfully and immediately, prays with them, teaches them how to forgive, and models what a Christ-centered life looks like. And, though less noticed than mine, her ministry is just as important. I appreciate it, and God will one day acknowledge it when she hears, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of your Lord.”
Mothers, take up your calling with a sense of the great privilege God has given you: you get to raise little ones for Him.