The Marks of a Mom
1 Kings 3:16-28 (NIV)
16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “My lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. 19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.” 22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king. 23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’” 24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” 26 The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” 27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.” 28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
- How do you identify a real mother?
- *The most important occupation on earth for a woman is to be a real mother to her children. It does not have much glory to it; there is a lot of grit and grime. But there is no greater place of ministry, position, or power than that of a mother.
--- Phil Whisenhunt
- The book, Are You My Mother? – A baby bird is hatched while his mother is away. Fallen from his nest, he sets out to look for her and asks everyone he meets -- including a dog, a cow, a steam shovel, and a plane -- "Are you my mother?" In the end he is happily reunited with his maternal parent in a glorious moment of recognition.
- We turn to an incident in which Solomon uses the wisdom that God gave him to tell the real mother from an imposter.
I. You Can Identify A Mother By The Strong Connection With Her Child
A. An Individual Connection
- A mother can hear he child’s cry when no one else can. They can hear their individual child’s cry when there are a hundered children running around. “That’s my Jenny,” or “That’s my Bobby,” comes quickly even though there may be be ten children crying.
- Like the cow, who knows its own calf in a herd of hundreds, or even thousands, so is a mother’s connection individualized and focused on a particular child.
B. A Close Connection
- There is no bond like motherhood. The ties are stronger than an umbilical cord, and cannot be severed.
- A true mother shares a close connection with her children that is involved at the deepest level. It is a connection that goes beyond the physical. It takes more than a biological connection to make a mom. It is precisely this connection that Solomon is testing here. The connection between the real mother and the child would prove to be one of more than a physical presence. Like an electric current is tested through a voltage meter, Solomon measured the connection between the mother and child that was able to lay the physical connection aside, because there was a soul connection that went deeper. Solomon tested the current of the heart.
C. A Continuous Connection
* One parent tells this story:
Our six-year-old son, Alex, was looking at a picture of himself when he was one week old. Upon seeing his umbilical cord still attached in the picture, he asked, "What is that black thing on my belly button?"
His eight-year-old sister, Maria, quickly replied, "That's your extension cord!"
- With children, a mother true mother never finds an end to that mother child connection. For a mother, her children are always her children. As they mature, they never become Mr. or Mrs. So and so. They are still their mother’s children.
* A mother was concerned about her only son going off to college. She wrote the following letter to the college president:
"Dear Sir: My son has been accepted for admission to your college and soon he will be leaving me. I am writing to ask that you give your personal attention to the selection of his roommate. I want to be sure that his roommate is not the kind of person who uses foul language, or tells off-color jokes, smokes, drinks, or chases after girls. I hope you will understand why I am appealing to you directly. You see, this is the first time my son will be away from home, except for his three years in the Marine Corps."
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 376.
* After helping my three-year-old son, Isaac, dry off after a bath, I wrapped him in a towel and put him on my lap for a hug. I said, "Isaac, you're getting so big! What are we going to do when you're too big to fit on my lap anymore?" He replied, "Then I'm going to hold you, Mom."
-- Debra Power, California. Today's Christian Woman, "Small Talk."
II. You Can Identify A Mother By The Sensitive Care For Her Child
A. Personal Care
- Hands on care is a mother’s way. Mother’s are not comfortable with leaving their children in another’s care for very long. They want to be the one to be there for their children.
* A cartoon in the Saturday Evening Post showed a young boy about five or six years old talking on the telephone, saying, "Mom is in the hospital, the twins and Roxie and Billie and Sally and the dog and me and Dad are all home alone."
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 376.
- Mom and dad take time to get away alone, but mother is not content to stay away, but she cannot rest easy until she gets back to her children.
B. Protective Care
- A Grizzly bear
- A killdeer
C. Passionate Care
*Frederick Douglass grew up as a slave in Maryland in the early nineteenth century. He escaped and became one of the century's leading abolitionists, who fought to end slavery forever. He writes in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave about being torn away from his mother's love:
My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant—before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. She was hired by a Mr. Stewart, who lived about 12 miles from my home.
Nonetheless, young Frederick's mother several times found ways to see her son:
She made her journeys to see me in the night, traveling the whole distance on foot, after the performance of her day's work. She was a field hand, and a whipping was the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise…. She was with me in the night. She would lie down with me and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.
How amazing is the power of a mother's love. Frederick Douglass's mother worked all day long in the scorching heat of the tobacco fields, and then, when her body was crying for rest, she walked 12 miles in the dark to see her son. After comforting him and holding him as he fell asleep, she had to walk another 12 miles back. She gave up a night's sleep. She risked getting a severe whipping if she were discovered, or if she got home late. But nothing could keep this mother from her son.
Citation: Kevin Miller, Vice President, Resources, Christianity Today International
Proverbs 31:10-31; Isaiah 66:13; Romans 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; 1 John 3:18
III. You Can Identify A Mother By The Sincere Concern For Her Child
A. A Concern That Is Predictable
- A real mother’s love is as predictable as the heat that comes from fire. Solomon used the predictability of a mother’s love to identify the real mother from the imposter.
B. A Concern That Is Precious
* I finally found a Mother's Day card that expressed my feelings for my mother in real terms. It said, "Now that we have a mature, adult relationship, there's something I'd like to tell you. You're still the first person I think of when I fall down and go boom!"
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 382.
C. A Concern That Is Painful
- you are only hurt by the ones you love
- The pain of motherhood must not go unnoticed. It is a price that is paid time and time again, both in common experience, and in Scripture.
- Simon, telling Mary as she dedicates her child in the temple, that a sword will pierce her heart, and then fast forward to the cross, as she looked up at her crucified son, the one whom the angels had spoken about, and whom the Shepherds and wisemen had honored. The child of promise, dead. The sword had certainly pierced her heart.
- When the wise men came to pay homage to the King of the Jews, Herod killed all male children two years old and younger. There the pain struck home, and the Bible says “they would not be comforted.”
- There is also the pain we cause our mothers in our living. Of all people, our mothers are the ones who hurt the most when they see us hurt, or in distress. Mothers are the ones who of all people, feel the pain in our lives. Whether caused by our own sin, or the sin of another, or if caused by circumstances beyond our control, a mother’s heart enters our pain, and walks in it with us. They share the hurt, feel the pain, and carry the burden with us.
Honor is due our mothers for the life they give, the love they show, and the labor they give. They are the gift of God to us, and the often the grace of God comes through them. We take the time today to honor our mothers because it is biblical, because they are a blessing to us, and because they deserve it.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.