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The Call to Motherhood



READ Genesis 17:15-22

What is the task that God for Mothers to accomplish in their lives? As we have just read, He chose Sarah to become the mother of all nations. However, no other woman has been chosen – ever – to become the mother of nations.

For every other Mother, He calls women to live with their children and to love their children and teach their children so that they will want to love Jesus and learn God’s will for their lives.

The story has been told of an Indian chief's daughter, whose name was Shell Flowers observed the ways of the white man. She learned English and then gave herself the Christian name of Sarah. She became friends with General Howard, the commanding officer of Fort Lynn. General Howard was a champion for minorities, and he fought for their rights. He was a Civil War hero who fought for the rights of all people during that time. And then after the war at his post at Fort Lynn, he was trying to be a peacemaker between the Indians and the settlers in the area.

When the Indians of Idaho went on the warpath, Sarah risked her own life by finding their camp and rescuing 75 of her own people. Then she rode on horseback for 223 miles in three days to get General Howard. Because of Sarah’s work, General Howard was able to stop the planned attack and prevent widespread bloodshed.

General Howard wrote a book titled Famous Indian Chiefs I have known. In this book, he wrote this of Sarah Winnemucca.

"If I could tell you but a tenth part of all she willingly did to help the white settlers and her own people to live peaceably together, you would think as I do that the name of Sarah should have a place beside the name of Pocahontas in the history of our country."

Most people are not aware of this Sarah who played a major role in part of our Country’s history, nor are they aware of the thousands of Sarahs all over the world who have made this an honorable name through their achievements.

Many are famous and ordinary people who proudly wear the name, Sarah. It has been a popular name all through history because of the first woman to ever wear that name, which was Sarah the wife of Abraham.

She is the only woman I am aware of who had her name changed by God. We know that there were some men whose names God changed, but Sarah is the only woman whose name was changed by God.

The name Sarah means princess, and that is the name God gave to her. Sarah could not imagine that her name would become so famous for all the rest of human history. After all, she was 89 years old and barren, so the future looked very bleak as far as her part in extending the lifeline of children with Abraham. There seemed to be no chance of her making any significant contribution to history.

Yet, even with those extremely limiting circumstances, Sarah became one of the most famous mothers in all of history.

As Abraham is the father of Judaism, so Sarah is the mother of Judaism. These two were Gentiles who married each other in the pagan culture of Ur of the Chaldees, and they became the first two Jews in history.

Only God could take two Gentile people, a man and a woman, Abraham, and Sarah, and cause them to become the father and the mother of Judaism. They became the first Jews in history.

Let’s look again at what God says about Sarah in Genesis 17:16: “I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

No other mother in history has been so honored by so many nations. The Jewish nation, the Christian nations, and the Mohammedan nations, all trace the origin of their faith to Father Abraham and Mother Sarah.

They are the only couple in the Bible referred to in the great Faith chapter of Hebrews chapter 11.

They are the only parents in the Old Testament who are promised by God that their seed would be a blessing to every family on earth. They are the only couple in biblical history whose tomb is still a place of honor in the world today.

The only burial of a woman recorded in the Bible is that of Sarah. She is the only woman in the Bible whose age at the time of death is recorded. She was 127 years old. She and Abraham had over 100 years of married life together, and she had 37 years of being a mother in spite of her late start at age 90.

Sarah is the first woman in the Bible to have the journey of her life recorded. More is recorded about Abraham and Sarah than all of the human race up to their time.

Certainly, God intended for us to learn something about motherhood from this most unique of all mothers. The first thing the record compels us to examine is:


There are few people who know both sides of the story like Sarah. She knew by

experience the full impact of non-motherhood. It seems strange, but the most famous mother in history is also the leading authority on what it is like not to be able to be a mother.

Many have gone years before they could conceive a child, and many have never been able to conceive, but there is no record of anyone ever living 90 years with nearly 70 of those 90 spent trying to conceive. This most successful mother of nations holds the record for failure to become a mother. Most of the non-mothers of history have not lived motherless as long as Sarah did.

She knew what it was like to spend her entire youthful life listening to other mothers talk about their babies, and not have one of her own to talk about. She experienced all of the social and cultural agonies of having no fruit of the womb.

She could have written the book on the misery of denied motherhood. Even though she finally conceived, the fact is, she lived the entire period of her childbearing years barren and childless. She is the only mother we know of who experienced so completely the life of missed motherhood.

But what is significant about this life she lived childlessly? It tells us that Sarah could live a life pleasing to God as a good wife and godly person without motherhood. If she had not been a good wife to Abraham, and a woman faithful to God through all of those years of barrenness, God never would have chosen her to be the mother of nations.

But if God had never chosen her, her life would still have been pleasing to Him. The point is… her life as a non-mother was a beautiful life and worthy of honor.

Motherhood is not what made Sarah a beautiful person. She was beautiful as a non-mother, and because of that, she is a fitting example to the non-mothers of history.

She was a faithful loving wife for nearly 70 years before she bore Abraham a son. She proved a woman can have a satisfying and fulfilling married life even without a child.

Most of the Bible couples were parents, and their lives revolved around their children, just as couples do today.

But Abraham and Sarah were husband and wife, and their lives revolved around each other. They developed high esteem for each other as mates.

Sarah was so deeply loved by Abraham that had she never bore him a child there is not the slightest hint that he would have left her for a woman who could. You might say, “But what about Hagar? We need to remember that Hagar was Sarah's idea and not Abraham's. Sarah was first of all a good wife, and that is the primary responsibility who wants to be a good mother.

Next, we see:


Do you suppose that any mother, anywhere, has a baby story that would even begin to compare to the story of Sarah’s baby story? Her story cannot be topped.

You probably have known women who conceived in their 50s but to give birth at age 90 is beyond anyone's experience. But Sarah’s experience is somewhat like the need to have a delivery room at the nursing home.

It is obvious that by this miraculous conception, God is calling attention to the fact that He is doing a special work in history through this mother.

There is no history at all without mothers. Think about this: If Eve had not become a mother history would have ended with the first couple.

Motherhood is God's means of making any history at all. But God's plan is for a history within history that fulfills His purpose, and it is to be carried out by means of miraculous motherhood.

The final fulfillment of this plan was the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, but the start of this chain of events was the miraculous motherhood of Sarah.

Her womb was dead, but out of that dead womb God brought forth life, and Sarah became the first biblical illustration of the resurrection and God's power to bring life out of death. She produced history's first miracle baby.

Next, we want to consider:


Sarah did not raise a number of children, but only one. Isaac was her only child, and that would certainly be enough for a woman her age. The point is, you do not have to have a large family to be a mother.

Sarah became a mother of nations, and her single experience of giving birth was all it took for her to start the chain of events that changed all of history and led to the Messiah, who changed all of eternity as well.

Never put down or minimize an only child, for that is how God started the most important family that ever lived, for by means of it every family on earth has been blessed.

With God, one is always adequate to achieve His purpose for all. He only has one Son Himself, and that Son was adequate to redeem the world.

Being a good mother to one child is in God's eye a marvelous achievement, and no one has ever been more honored for doing it than Sarah. She was a good wife to one man and a good mother to one child.

Her only son Isaac was not one of the most exciting characters of the Bible, but he is one of the best. He had his flaws, but no major sin is recorded in his life.

The record reveals that he was just a good and godly man. Men like Isaac often can trace their goodness and their godliness back to the influence of their mother.

Edward Everett Hale, (1822-1909) who was a Boston pastor and author of The Man Without A Country, tells of bringing his report card home from school. It showed that he was ranked 9th in a class of 15. He was depressed about it and felt ashamed. His mother could see this, and so with tenderness and understanding she said, "Never mind, Edward, I notice that in your report you are first in good behavior, and son, that means more to me than to have you the head of the class and not behave well."

Hale wrote in his diary: "That was one of the most stirring and heartening experiences of my life. My mother's understanding and sympathy, making me see that behavior was more important than high grades, gave me courage such as nothing else on earth ever gave me. I might never become a great scholar, but I could always be a good boy and a good man. That was within the reach of my abilities, and I thereupon resolved that, whatever else I might become, I would always see to it that my behavior record was high." He was good and godly because of his mother's influence.

A mother who is limited to just one child gets only one chance with only one child. But that is all she needs for success. Sarah became the greatest mother in history as a limited mother with one good and godly child. God works from quality to quantity, and from this one good child all the families of the earth were blest, and Sarah by her limited motherhood became the mother of nations. Next, we look at:


We are not given a great deal said about this mother of nations as far as her mothering goes, but the little hints we have to tell us she was a successful mother who left behind precious memories. Abraham loved Sarah so much that the entire 23rd chapter of Genesis is devoted to his loving concern for her burial and his purchase of a cave from the Hittites in which to bury her.

And what about her son, Isaac, and the evidence in his life that he was blessed by this Mother of nations. There is only one verse that refers to Isaac's response to his mother's death. Genesis 24:67 says that Isaac brought his new wife Rebekah into his mother's tent, and it closes with-" and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." A husband and son deeply moved by the loss of this memorable mother.

Certainly, one of the goals of mothering is to leave your family with memories of good times in sharing love and fun, and not times of tension and frustration. These come to all and are an inevitable part of life, but these will all fade from the memory if the mother's dominant characteristics are positive.

There are many other testimonies that confirm the picture of the ideal mother such as in Proverbs 31 where verse 28 says, "Her children arise and call her blessed."

This was the result of Sarah’s mothering, and such should be the goal of every mother. The child may fail to follow the way a mother teaches, but that is not the failure of her motherhood. The test is, does even a failing child look back and say, my mother should have raised me a better way? We know that it is a fact that some of the worse children had great mothers, and they gave testimony to this fact by expressing the same positives as successful children.

Tom Bell robbed the first stagecoach in American history on August 11, 1856. A posse went after him, but he escaped. They went to the home of his girlfriend and waited for three days, and finally, he came and was caught. He was marched to a tree, and there, at age 26 he was hanged. He was allowed to write a letter to his mother first.

This is what he wrote: "Dear Mother; I am about to make my exit to another country. I take this opportunity to write you a few lines. Probably you may never hear from me again. If not, I hope we may meet where parting is no more. In my prodigal career in this country, I have always recollected your fond admonitions and, if I had lived up to them probably, I would not be in my present condition: But dear mother, though my fate has been a cruel one, yet I have no one to blame but myself. Give my respects to all of my old and youthful friends. Tell them to beware of bad associations and never to enter into any gambling saloon, for that has been my ruin. I bid you farewell forever. Your only boy, Tom."

Tom’s mother did not fail him. She was a success, for she gave him an alternative, and he was free to choose it, but did not.

God did not fail Israel because she went astray. He gave them the wise alternative, but they would not submit. A memorable mother is one who makes children look back on their successes or failures and say, “Mother pointed me in the right direction. She gave me choices that were good, and whether I took them or not they bear witness that she was a good mother.

Sarah was such a mother, and her son Isaac was a good and godly man who looked back at his mother's life with precious memories.

One of the memories everybody had of Sarah was of her laughter. Abraham and Sarah are the only couple in the Bible who are both in the great chapter of faith of Hebrews 11, and they are the only couple who are both portrayed as laughing. It was a joke to both of them that they would have a child in their old age, and they laughed at the very idea. It was so funny that their laughter became a lasting memory, for they named their miracle baby Isaac, which means laughter. Children are richer forever, who have memories of a mother who could laugh and enjoy the humorous side of life.

It is a good question for a mother to ask herself often-what will my children remember? Is my motherhood memorable, or will they prefer to forget?

Phyllis C. Michael put it in poetry:

What will my boys remember? When have they grown old and gray?

The pants’ knees oft were full of holes. Or the trout we caught that day?

Just what will they remember most? Two little beds unmade.

Or the fun they had at hide-and-seek. The days that Mother played?

What matters if my ironing waits while I smooth out their troubles? (con’t)

Take time to kiss those briar-scratched hands, and start them blowing bubbles?

Will they remember mud-tracked floors when they've grown old and gray?

What care they if each room is dusty if I'm too tired to play?

There is another person who will greatly influence your children. She, too, today, deserves special recognition. And that person is the grandmother. Grandmothers often have more time to spend quality time with their grandchildren. And, what an eternal blessing Grandma, or Memaw, or Granny, or whatever favorite name her grandchildren will call her, can be to the children of your children.

God chose only one mother to be the mother of nations. But every mother is called to so live with and love her children so that they will want to love Jesus and know God's will for their life. This is a memory that none will forget, and so Mothers, today make a commitment to yourself and to your children to be memorable mothers for the glory of God.

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