Sunday, May 10, marks one of the most important holidays in America, Mother’s Day. A brief review of history shows that this revered holiday came into being only within the last 100 years. Yet, in church life, Mother’s Day takes its place right along with the major holidays, even surpassing in size of the celebration of older holidays, such as Palm Sunday.

Why is this? It is explained by the importance of women, specifically mothers, in the life of the church. Every person who ever lived (except Adam and Eve) had a mother. Through death, family breakdown or other situations, some never knew their mother, but each of us has one. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, had an earthy mother in Mary, whom he treated with the utmost dignity and love. Besides Mary, here are some other mothers in the Bible we know and love.

/// Sarah

For all her faults, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was God’s chosen instrument to build His covenant. Without Sarah, you do not get the Patriarchs and major players in the Old Testament. Behind the great man of Abraham is this great person, which is so often the case in church life. We think of the importance of pastors, yet God uses their better half in ways we do not recognize.

/// Hannah

For every married couple struggling with infertility—and there are many silently suffering in this area—the story of Hannah offers hope. God answered her prayers for a child and gave her Samuel (1 Sam. 2), who anointed King David and lived during a key time in biblical history. Perhaps there are some Hannahs (i.e. infertile married couples) in your church for whom you could pray and, thus, bring glory to God.

/// Ruth

We are drawn to the story of Ruth and Naomi, seeing strength and resolve. The story takes on its ultimate significance, however, when we find out “(Ruth’s husband) Boaz fathered Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:21-22). In other words, the man after God’s own heart, King David’s great grandmother, was Ruth.

/// Proverbs 31 woman

We don’t have a name for her, but many of us have a mother like her. Virtuous, noble, resourceful, wise, beautiful inwardly, loved by her husband and blessed by her children, the “Proverbs 31 woman” is the ultimate example of mothers we love.

/// Elizabeth

The pro-life struggle is all about loving mothers and their babies, even when it is difficult or unplanned. In the story of Elizabeth, we see the life of the unborn clearly displayed, as John “leapt in her womb” (Luke 1:41). This story also shows the miracle of childbirth and the special place mothers have in God’s grand design.

The list could go on and on, and you would be able to add names to it. So, on this occasion of Mother’s Day, we take off our hats in honor of these women and the countless like them who grace our churches. We say thank you, and offer our deepest love and gratitude. “A woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31: 30).