Handmaidens of the Lord
Standard;Mothers: Handmaids of the Lord.
Happy Mother's Day! Happy “Handmaiden of the Lord Day!”
As you look at the Lutherans For Life handout, you see a picture painted by Herbert John Rogers in 1860 entitled, “Our Savior Subject to His Parents at Nazareth.” Oh look! Jesus is carrying the very first skateboard!
Notice also that Joseph is busy working, oblivious to what Mary is feeling. Look closely at her and you can see she has put down her spinning, long enough to just look at Jesus and treasure and ponder what God hath wrought through her. This handmaiden of the Lord.
It's what mothers do. They treasure and ponder. They have a right to do so because mothers are used by God as the place where He deposits a soul and then builds a body around it. The bonding of such an arrangement is far beyond anything a man can understand. So treasure and ponder mothers, for you are very special handmaidens of the Lord.
The term “handmaiden” simply means “slave or servant.” It can be associated with motherhood in Scripture, as is the case in Ps 86:16, “Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant.”
Who is the son referring to here? His mother. And what does He call her? God's maidservant or handmaiden.
When the angel announced to Mary that she was going to be the mother of Jesus through a miraculous virgin birth, she replied, “ Behold the handmaid” of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word. “Whatever you say Lord,” That's servant talk! And it's attached to motherhood.
Why the connection between motherhood and a hand maid. Because the womb belongs to the Lord, in that He is the one who determines whether a child will be carried in it or not. When He says be open and bear a child, it will be opened! Ge 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.
And when He says be closed and don't bear a child, it will be closed. Ge 20:18 for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.
One thing that handmaidens do is they carry things for their boss. I get a visual picture of a handmaiden on a farm carrying a couple of buckets of milk to the house, and in the case of motherhood, they carry God's most precious possessions....souls, and these individual souls are rightly beheld as rewards from God.....not curses.
Ps 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
For almost 2000 years, the church held the position that children are blessings from the Lord and the position that one of the main purposes of marriage was to raise up godly offspring. Mal 2:15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.
However about 1930, the Episcopal church embraced the concept of family planning and all the other churches (with the exception of the catholic church) fell in line.
Then in 1960 the birth control pill was introduced and in 1965 it was legalized in a Supreme Court decision in the case of Griswold vs Connecticut. 8 years later abortion on demand was legalized, and now the womb has become the handmaid of the woman rather than the woman (and her womb) the handmaid of God.
This should not be so. Unfortunately many of us fell for the lie. When family planning and the pill and all its associated propaganda came on the scene we never bothered to hold it against the standards of God unchangeable eternal Word. Ps 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
And we have no idea of the blessings we have missed, or the rewards from God we have missed. Now we can sit here and cry or deny over the error of our ways or we can ask God for His forgiveness, receive it, thank Him for His enlightenment through His Word, and seek to educate the next generation on this matter. Let our sons and daughters understand that the womb is His to open or close. Help our daughters to aspire to be “handmaids” of the Lord.
Looking at the back of our handout I like the way LFL puts it. Mary was unlike every mother in that she was the handmaid of the Lord for His only begotten Son. But Mary was like every mother in that she treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Remember that about your mother on this Mother's Day. Because as the handout says, “A mother's heart is a treasure store of things to ponder.....and they never stop treasuring and they never stop pondering.
Things of joy. Mary's joy was in knowing who she was mother to. “He has done great things for me.” But there are other joyful treasures and ponderings.............That first glimpse, oh if you could only remember the way your mother first looked at you! The lullabyes in the rocking chair, the giggles, wobbly steps, silly words, that first day of school, the unfolding of your life.
At times you may have thought mom was a real old-fashioned pain, but her actions more often than not sprung from her concerned ponderings about you, ponderings that will never cease no matter how old you are..
A mother's heart is also a place that ponders things of sorrow. In Mary's case it would be the impending tragic death of her Son. “And a sword will pierce through your own soul also.” But there are other sorrows.....sickness, scrapes, a bully, mistakes and bad choices, wrong friends, rebellion, maybe even the death of a child.
Listen children, as much as it is in your power seek to stir up treasures of joy rather than sorrow in your mother. She was the handmaid of the Lord for 9 months carrying you wherever she went...and even though you left the womb a long time ago....she still carries you in her heart, everywhere you go.
I couldn't help but think of the mother from our reading in Acts today.
Ac 14:8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked.
I wonder what she had treasured in her heart for her child when she found out she was pregnant? I wonder what she pondered and treasured after he was born in his crippled state?
We lost a child to miscarriage and I know to this day Joanie still treasures and ponders in her heart, what might've been, and I do to and sometimes we catch ourselves wondering, What would our son be doing today?
Yes sometimes things don't work out as we planned and hoped for, but that's when we need the treasure of Christ's love in our hearts. The fullness of His strength and presence in our lives. Not only for the times of sorrow, but also in the times of joy! Let us magnify the Lord, with all the strength He provides in our joys, and let's dwell in and rely on His mercy for those times of sorrow.
So this Mother's Day, go ahead Mom. Take some time to ponder and treasure the wonder of your calling. The wonder of your children. The wonder of your own mother. Thank the Lord that H e chose you, that He chose your mother as His hand maiden to carry His goods.
Children? Go ahead, take some time to reminisce with mom today. Recount the times of joy, remember the times of sorrow. Take the treasures out of her heart one by one and examine them. Enjoy them, then be sure to put them back. For she must always carry them with her. She is a mother. She is the handmaid of the Lord and handmaids, ponder and treasure, and carry them with her as long as she is on this earth.
Happy Mother's Day Mom!. Be it unto you the handmaidens of the Lord!