Mother’s Day is usually the third highest-attendance Sunday of the year for most churches (after Christmas and Easter). Yet it comes with a big disadvantage when compared to holidays more associated with the church: Mother’s Day requires an extra level of sensitivity for those who preach in relation to the holiday.
While it’s an important holiday for many families, some don’t celebrate it at all, for varying reasons. Some people, for instance, want nothing to do with the holiday because it brings to mind the loss of their own mothers. Others may have memories of an abusive or dysfunctional home. Plus, don’t forget that many parents struggle through memories of children who have passed away or through their own infertility.
Yet, since there are so many who attend because of the holiday, you can’t ignore it—but you also want to be sensitive toward those who struggle on this day. Here are three Mother’s Day sermons that you can use to edify your entire church, as well as Bible verses specifically about mothers!
1. Biblical examples of motherhood’s difficulties
Most Mother’s Day sermons focus on all that’s great about motherhood. Of course, motherhood is a great honor, but as mentioned earlier, it doesn’t bring up great memories for everyone.
Throughout the Bible, you can find a variety of women who dealt with motherhood’s struggles. When you engage people with those stories, you’ll find many women (and men) who can relate. Moms can identify with them through their own struggles, and for those who need to be reconciled with parents or forgive mothers who have passed, it’s an opportunity to see challenges from another perspective.
Here are some examples of biblical women who understood the adversities of motherhood:
- Eve: The first mother who lost one child at the hands of another.
- Rebekah: Isaac’s wife who struggled with favoritism of her son Jacob over Esau.
- Jochebed: A caring mother who had to give her son Moses up.
These stories remind us all that it’s okay if relationships between mothers and children aren’t perfect and that God is at work even in those tough situations. It’s tough enough sometimes to care for ourselves, but adding in the responsibilities we have towards our children can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Our great assurance is that God is at work redeeming our biggest mistakes and accidents—for both parents and children alike.
2. The motherly characteristics of God
The Bible talks frequently about the fatherhood of God, but scripture also describes God in ways consistent with motherhood, too. Take, for example, what Jesus says as he weeps over Jerusalem:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
Jesus uses the metaphor of a mother hen to express the relationship he longs to have with his children. This is a touching moment when the best analogy at his disposal is one of a mother’s care.
Mother’s Day gives you a great opportunity to talk about some of God’s more feminine characteristics. You’ll find a variety of biblical passages to help you through a sermon like this:
- God cares for his people like an eagle hovering over her young (Deuteronomy 32:11)
- God is concerned for his people like a midwife cares for the child she’s delivered (Psalm 22:9-10)
- God will never forget his children like a mother will not forget their nursing child (Isaiah 49:15)
- God comforts his people like a nursing mother (Isaiah 66:13)
- God experiences the anger of a mother bear who’s been robbed of her cubs (Hosea 13:8)
3. Learning from the mother of Jesus
No one would be surprised by a Mother’s Day sermon on Mary. She is Jesus’ mother, after all. Many of these sermons, though, focus on Mary’s response to her pregnancy and Jesus’ soon-to-be arrival in the nativity stories.
When we do this, we often miss the heartbreaking and all-too-human experiences of Mary as the mother of God’s son. There are many Bible verses on Mary’s relationship with Jesus as his mother:
- Her relationship with Jesus and trust in God’s promise encouraged her to turn to him at during a wedding mishap in Cana (John 2:1–11)
- As Jesus begins challenging the status quo by doing things like healing on the Sabbath (Mk. 3:1–6), his family plans to collect him because they fear he’s lost his mind (Mk. 3:21); even though Mary isn’t specifically named, it’s she who shows up with Jesus’s brothers (Mk. 3:31)
- She watches her son get crucified (Jn. 19:25-27) and in that moment her grief mingles with her lack of understanding regarding God’s plan
Mary gives firsthand account of the truth that motherhood isn’t for the weak. She also provides us with many helpful lessons, such as the need to trust that God’s plan is greater than any potential you see in your children right now.
More Bible Verses About Mothers
There are plenty of stories of mothers and motherhood throughout the Bible, which you can point to in your sermons. Here are a few of our favorites:
Bible verses about honoring mothers
- “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:28-29)
- “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:31)
- “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:22-25)
Bible verses about what mothers can pass to their children
- “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
- “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)
- “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
God’s promise to mothers and their children
- “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
- “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13)
- “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
Mother’s Day Is a Great Opportunity
Mother’s Day is an important Sunday for your church. It’s important that you honor those that have come, and that you can speak with sensitivity to those who are present.