I love the month of May because it offers an opportunity to celebrate Motherhood! Whether you are single never married with no children, as I am, or a mother with a full or maybe even overflowing quiver, if you are a Christian woman you are called to motherhood. I am always saddened by those who choose to create a “pity party” on this special holiday. Though our gracious heavenly Father deemed for some of us to remain unmarriedor childless, He did provide us with the opportunity redirect our maternal instincts toward spiritual motherhood. We all have the opportunity to have someone call us “Mom” and, Lord willing, affirm our impact on their lives (Prov. 31:28) at this season focused on honoring Motherhood.
I teach my students throughout their degree program that they are to “walk worthy of their calling” regardless of their marital status or where our Lord places them vocationally. Whether a profession in a high profile corporate position or a stay-at-home mom (she’s a professional too—just think about how much it would cost to hire someone to complete her tasks), they are to remember that they are Christians first and professionals second. As such, they are encouraged to consistently conduct themselves as professionals. The academic content and skills they learn are 100% marketable and 100% transferable when they establish homes of their own. The professional practice of these skills is obvious. However, their application to the home is often blurred by society and the educated women is labeled as “just a housewife” when she uses them in her home.
An analysis of her daily activities as a homemaker finds her functioning as an authority in the field of Child Development and Human Relations. She has a continuing program of research in the laboratory and the field (she usually works both inside and out). Additionally, she is a nutritionist, a consumer advocate, a caterer, and a financial analyst, an expert in clothing selection and care, as well as interior designer. Though possessing incredible time management skills, she maintains a 12 to 14-hour workday. Often she finds that her job is more challenging than most “professional” careers, and her rewards are in satisfaction rather than money if she chooses to do all that she does to the glory of God (Col 3:17).
Working from the list of tasks described in the previous paragraph the spiritual mother provides a complementary contribution to the Body of Christ. She eagerly embraces God’s special instructions to women (Gen. 1:27, 2:18, 21-14; Prov. 9: 1-6, 11:16, 14:1; Prov. 31:10-31; 1 Tim. 2:9-15; 1 Peter 3:1-7 provide a sampling of them), practices biblical hospitality (Rom. 12:13; Heb.13:2, 1. Peter 4:9), lives out faithful stewardship (1 Cor. 4:2), models clothing choices that reflect that her heart is focused on God (1 Tim. 2:9), maintains an orderly, peaceful home (Prov. 31:27), and joyfully develops the skills and attitudes described in Titus 2:3-5 so that “God’s word is not dishonored. Note that none of the contributions listed are predicated on having borne or adopted physical children.
WALKING WORTHY OF OUR CALLING AS MOTHERS
The Apostle Paul opens the fourth chapter of Ephesians with the challenge, “…walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called . . .” Several words and phrases assist us in understanding Paul’s instructions—therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, walk worthy and calling. “Therefore marks the transition from doctrine to duty, principle to practice, position to behavior. The prisoner of the Lord—by mentioning his imprisonment again, Paul gently reminded Ephesian believers that the faithful Christian walk can be costly and that he had paid a considerable personal price because of his obedience to the Lord. Walk is frequently used in the New Testament to refer to daily conduct, while worthy has the idea of living to match one’s position in Christ. The apostle urged his readers to be everything the Lord desires and empowers them to be. Calling refers to God’s sovereign call to salvation.”[i] Before we look at some specific qualities of the worthy walk, let’s take a few moments for personal evaluation, beginning with the skills and abilities God bestowed upon you—does your daily conduct reflect that you are a careful steward of them? What is your profession? Are you excited about the impact you that can make to this profession as a Christian? Very early in my Christian walk my spiritual mentor Verna Birkey, taught me a motto that has consistently motivated my professional behavior—“I am a personal representative of the living God, on assignment to make God visible to others around me.” As you function in your profession is your heavenly Father evident to those who interface with you?
QUALITIES OF THE WORTHY WALK
A variety of qualities will be evident in our lives if we are leading a life worthy of our divine calling beginning with choosing to achieve at a level that is a credit to the summon to God's service. We are to be an example to others. Regardless of our position, we must not demand that others reach a standard of performance that we are unwilling to embrace. Whether in the church, marketplace or the home, we are to model the behaviors we expect others to practice.
One of the greatest sources of accountability in my professional walk is my students. When I leave the classroom, I walk a minimum of 25 steps and climb 19 steps to my office. Throughout the day my students observe whether or not the character principles I teach them are important enough to me to implement them in my interaction with others. They hear how I answer my phone, discern my attitude when I am interrupted, and observe how I interact with my secretary, the Horner Homemaking House Hostesses, and guests to the House. Throughout the day I can either reinforce or negate my classroom instruction. Following the Apostle Paul’s instruction, I daily seek to live with the attitude and practice of humility (Matt. 5:3), gentleness, and patience while I bear with others in love and maintain a unity of spirit (Eph. 4:1-3). Let’s look at four keys to successfully practice the worthy walk Paul presents in Philippians 3:12-14.
KEYS TO THE WORTHY WALK
The Apostle Paul presents four keys to the worthy walk in Philippians 3:12-14 that provides direction to the twenty-first century Mother—a genuine restlessness (Phil. 3:12), a solitary longing (Phil. 3:13), a wholehearted purpose (Phil. 3:12, 14), and a definite goal (Phil. 3:13, 14).
Paul’s genuine restlessness is a model for all Mothers. While he was satisfied with his Savior and his salvation, he was dissatisfied with his flesh—he was restless with his spiritual status because he was not all that he knew that he could or should be. “Paul uses the analogy of a runner to describe the Christian’s spiritual growth. The believer has not reached his goal of Christlikeness, but like the runner in a race, he must continue to pursue it.”[i] The Christian life is to be exciting—and as Mothers we should be excited about growing, regardless of our physical age.
Paul’s solitary longing helps us to eliminate the unnecessary from our lives. Our quest toward Christlikeness puts life into a single focus—Paul says, “this one thing I do." As godly Mothers “in progress” we are to have only one goal—to serve God with our entire being (1 Cor. 6:12). Mary, the Mother of Jesus serves as the ultimate role model for this solitary longing (Luke 1:38; 2:46-56).
Paul’s wholehearted purpose helped him to focus on his determination to keep moving toward the goal. We will not succeed if we do not have a strong determination, but its source must be executed in the strength of the Holy Spirit, not simply our sheer determination (Phil. 4:13). As Mothers, are we mature enough to keep pursuing our “upward call” (Phil. 3:14) when it would be easier to quit?
Finally, Paul had a definite goal, and he moved toward it with tenacity. Serving God with our entire being challenges us to refuse to dwell on the past—regardless of whether it is filled with success or sin. What we are today is what counts! Paul challenges us to refuse to drink from the cup of self-pity and to release past grudges and incidents of mistreatment—he forgot these and died climbing! This Mother’s Day will you choose to focus on your personal calling as a Mother? I am confident that your will experience the same joy and contentment I do if you will choose to do so (Phil. 4:11).
[i]John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Word, 1997), notes at Ephesians 4:1 therefore . . . the prisoner of the Lord . . . walk worthy . . . calling.
 Ibid, 1826
 Ibid, 1826