Sunday, May 14, marks one of the most important holidays in America, Mother’s Day. This revered holiday came about only within the last 100 years; yet, in church life, Mother’s Day has taken its place right along with the major holidays, even surpassing in size of the celebration of some more longstanding Christian holidays. Why is this?

It’s because of the immense influence of the mothers we know. On this day, I’m especially thankful for my own mother, and for my wife, the mother of my children.

Mother’s Day also means a great deal  to each of us because of the importance of women, specifically mothers, in the life of the church.

Throughout the story of God’s people, mothers have played an unparalleled role. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, had an earthy mother in Mary, whom he treated with the utmost dignity and love. In addition to Mary, here are some other mothers in the Bible for which we want to give thanks.

/// 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 the pastor’s wife 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.

/// Rahab the Harlot

The Bible makes no effort to sugar coat or hide people’s sins, even when in church life we are tempted to do so. In the example of Rahab the Harlot, as she is called, we have a woman with a checkered past, whom God decided to use in mighty ways. She helped Joshua and the people of Israel (Joshua 2, 6). She is listed in Hebrews 11 in the “Hall of Faith” for her faith and deeds and is part of the birth line of Jesus Himself. Rahab shows that God can use anyone for His glory, no matter their past.

/// 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 for whom we are thankful.

/// 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 of the Bible and the many 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).