2 Tim 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
Rom 16:13 “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”
Paul mentioned Timothy’s mother and grandmother, not his father or grandfather. Integrity and faith were passed down through the matriarchs.
Paul has frequently gotten a ‘bum wrap’ for being a male chauvinist, but here he mentions the significant role that women played in the church.
So, Paul’s statement to Rufus in Romans 16 could be to two women, Rufus’s mother and his own, or it could be one woman whom Paul considered as a mother to him. What did Rufus’ mother do to cause Paul to feel this way?
Mark says Simon of Cyrene was a black man who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. That man had two sons, Alexander and Rufus. Was that the same Rufus? If so, the wife of Simon was Rufus’s mother. A black woman, Paul considered as a mother to him.
“There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best. There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties. With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task. If the mechanic who is to work with ‘things’ must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical school…how much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God.” ~Anonymous
A mother changes with each child added. For the first child, the parent stares at the child just to look at him or her. For the second child, the mom makes sure the first child isn’t killing the second child. For the third, the parents tend to hide from the children.
No matter how stressful it is, a mother keeps going. Without reward, mothers keep going. A mother knows what she is doing today will change the future of this person’s life. This is a picture of selfless love.
The church is the mother of us all. Can the church be a picture of the love of Jesus to a world desperately in need?
Gal 4:26 “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
The Bride of Christ is the church.
Luke 8:21 “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”
The church is supposed to be those everlasting arms that wrap around us and love us. You may be weary and tired and running from mistakes in your past. You need change and connectedness. You don’t know who to trust.
The church of Jesus is the refuge you are looking for.
Politics have brought discouragement and panic. The possibility of chips inserted into our bodies can cause panic and fear. Was this COVID19 manufactured?
How do you respond to fear? You can’t fight without the Lord.
Of course, we don’t want to lose freedoms afforded by the constitution. Freedom doesn’t mean we won’t be attacked by other countries.
Perhaps God has a better way to win these battles. Perhaps the way to defeat the enemy is to win them as friends.
Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Madam, do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?’
Jesus is calling us to love our enemies and do all we can to win them to Him.
The Old Testament had Cities of Refuge where fugitives could run and be safe. Blood was on his hands, but he had a place to escape to. Everyone was safe there. There was protection within its borders.
Joshua 20:2-4 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: 3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. 4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.”
This was a picture of repentance. The fugitive admitted his crimes and was let in to that safe city. Today, we can repent of our sins to Jesus.
Galilee was a City of Refuge.
You’ve got to have a place to run. The church is meant to be a ‘City of Refuge.’ Peace will return to your heart when you find a city of refuge.
Psalm 46: 1-11 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. 6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”
Jesus is our Prince of Peace. Come to Him. He makes wars to stop. He will be exalted in this world. The Lord is with us. He is our refuge. You will find Him in the church. Like a mother, the church will receive you.
Deut 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”
Refuge will fill your void. The church will fill your void emotionally, spiritually, socially. God will fill the void.
Refuge is a shelter from danger or difficulty or a person who gives protection. This is a place where you are safe.
Hagar’s love for Ishmael caused her not to want him to see her die. Samuel’s mom, Hannah, made him a coat every summer. Solomon found a mother who would rather let the false mother have the child than let that baby die.
The true mother has love for the wayward, the sinner.
Isa 25:4 “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”
David understood the City of Refuge. He called the City of Refuge the Lord.
Psalm 27:1-14 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. 9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. 11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
God is our shelter.
Sometimes, you need a shelter that is stronger than your own abilities, like a shelter during a hail storm. The church will give her portion to the hungry and show love and comfort.
Maybe you didn’t have a ‘Jocabed’ mother (the mother of Moses).
Joel 1:3-4 “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. 4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”
You can be yourself and grow and change in the church. You can, through the mothering church, become who you were meant to be.
Circumstances may have eaten away at your peace and sense of purpose, but God offers you total renewal and restoration.
Joel 2:25-26 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.”
Come running to the church. There is hope for you today. God wants you to hear this. Hope is found in the church and in Jesus Christ. The arms of the body of Christ brings comfort like a momma. Amen!
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- What is your idea of the ‘ideal mom’?
- If you are a mom, what has been your biggest challenge? How has your mom or a ‘mother figure’ ministered most to you?
- Read Luke 1:26-38. What was Mary’s response to the angel? What can we learn from her?
- How can you be a better mom or ‘mom figure’ or simply encourage someone else in the Lord?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.