Our Many Mothers
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
– 1 Timothy 5:1-2
Many of you are well beyond child-rearing age. You have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some of you have never had a biological child. But this does not mean you are not a mother.
The church has long understood that the commandment to honor your father and mother doesn’t just mean biological parents, but includes honor to all who are styled mothers and fathers (see Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 125 in the further reading section). And so, if you are older, you have special honor as a mother to the whole church.
Do not neglect this honor. Remember, mothers are to be wise and full of wisdom to hand out. Rebuke, remind, encourage, and exhort. And do it with the hope that your hard work will have decades of fruit, as the younger among us remember some of it, act in light of it, and pass it down to our children and grandchildren.
As a woman in the church, look around to see what is happening, and then give us your wisdom on the matter. We need it, and it honors God when you take stock of the flock and then water and feed us. Rachel, the wife of Jacob, was a shepherdess, and he found her lovely to behold. You, as a mother in the church, are a shepherdess for God’s people, and it is a wonderful thing to behold.