Finding appropriate Mother’s Day sermon ideas isn’t always easy. Let’s face it—Mother’s Day can be a [unique, tricky, sensitive—you fill in the word] day to preach on. The pastor-preacher has to stand in front of a congregation and find something special to say to connect with the hearts of women from all walks of life and vastly different circumstances. Some have multiple children, while others long for just one. Some have lost mothers, while others mourn an estranged relationship with the one they still have. It’s easy to write off a “Mother’s Day message” and instead have all the mothers stand up, bless them with a nice prayer, maybe give them a flower—and check the “done” box.
Yet Mother’s Day affords a wonderful opportunity to connect your congregation with biblical examples of mothers that will not just speak to the mothers in the room but the church as a whole.
Here are four Mother’s Day sermon ideas that may spark some ideas.
1. A woman who sought wisdom from Elisha (2 Kgs 4:1–7)
Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Second Kings 4:1–7 tells the story of a widower whose husband, the son of one of the prophets who had served under Elisha, had passed away, leaving her with no money. Mosaic law prohibited her from declaring bankruptcy—leaving her with no option but to offer her sons as payment for debt.
Though she sought wisdom from God through the prophet Elisha, her expectation for God’s provision was at first limited. When Elisha asks in verse 2: “What have you in the house?” she responds, “nothing . . . except a jar of oil.”
There’s no more wine. We only have five loaves of bread and two fish. Sound familiar?
But a “jar of oil” is more than enough for God. In Preach for a Year, Robert Campbell notes that this woman found the answer to her need in her own home (vv. 2–4). Elisha’s question is a good one for not only mothers but all who trust in God: What do you already have that God can use?1
When the widow did what Elisha asked, God provided for her needs from what she already had. This “anointing of oil,”2 though small, was enough for God to multiply so she could pay off her debt and live off of it, too.
The main point? Whatever you have is enough for God to use for his good purpose.
2. A mother whose choice impacted generations (Heb 11:23–27)
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
Key verse: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”
Jochebed, an Israelite, gave birth to Moses while her nation was subject to Egyptian slavery and during a time when Campbell writes “all male babies were under sentence of death.”3
Yet her faith amid distressing circumstances stands as a model to us all.
Scripture tells us Moses “was a fine child” (Exod 2:2) and was “beautiful in God’s sight” (Acts 7:20). Something about him was unique. Even so, by law Moses should have been executed—but going against the king’s command would have meant certain death for Jochebed.
Yet the Bible is clear: we “must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Even Jesus taught the value of life over law when he healed on the Sabbath: “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matt 12:11).
Hebrews 11:23 says that “By faith [in God]” Jochebed hid her son for three months—an act that set in motion Moses’s life within the Egyptian community and his eventual leading of Israel out of slavery. By God’s miraculous design, after Jochebed protected her son by sending him down the Nile in a basket where he was “coincidentally” found by the king’s daughter (cf. Exod 2:7–10), Jochebed was asked to be Moses’s wet nurse. And during that time, though speculative, Jochebed passed her trust in God to her son:
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. (v. 24, emphasis added)
By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. (v. 27, emphasis added)
Jochebed’s decision to follow the faith of her ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—impacted her son, who later led Israel out of Egypt. It’s an example for not just mothers but all parents—whether biological, adopted, or those called to be “spiritual parents,” discipling others in the Lord—of the impact that quiet faithfulness can have on the lives of many.
The main point? We have the opportunity to impart our faith to others, which can potentially impact generations.
3. A woman who kept her promise (1 Sam 1:1–28)
The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” (vv. 21–28)
Key verse: “The Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore … as long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord” (1 Sam 1:27–28).
Hannah was not able to have children, yet she continued to ask God to give her a son. One evening, while sitting at the door of the temple at Shiloh, she made a vow to God saying: “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life” (v. 11).
God hears her desperate prayer and grants her request, and soon Samuel is born (whose name means, “I have asked for him from the Lord”).
How easy it would have been for Hannah to “forget” her promise to God, to hold Samuel tight and raise him to adulthood herself. Like any mother, she was likely deeply attached to her son. Yet Hannah kept her word. Rather than pretending she never said it, she affirmed her commitment and acknowledged God’s faithfulness: since he had granted her petition, as long as Samuel lived, he would be “lent to the Lord” (v. 28).
After weaning him, Hannah took young Samuel to the temple and presented him to Eli, the high priest, who would continue to look after and train up the child to minister in the temple. Samuel grew in competence, found favor with the Lord, and was eventually confirmed as a prophet of God and judge who would anoint Israel’s first and second kings: Saul and David. And God would honor Hannah’s faithfulness by blessing her with three more sons and two daughters (v. 21).
The main point? We can’t always see what God is doing behind the scenes when we surrender our lives to him.
4. A widow who provided for Elijah (1 Kgs 17:8–16)
Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
Key verse: “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.”
In the ancient world, widows were known for being impoverished—yet in 1 Kings 17:8–16, God tells Elijah (who was fleeing from Ahab; cf. 1 Kgs 17:1) to seek provision from a gentile widow in Zarephath, whom he had already commanded to help Elijah. A three-and-a-half-year drought had caused a famine in the land, an incredible hardship for all. Scripture tells us the woman was gathering sticks (potential evidence of her poverty) so that she could prepare the last handful of flour she had left for herself and her son so “that we may eat it, and die” (1 Kgs 17:12). In her desperate situation, she focused on the little she had instead of what God might provide (a God she clearly knew, from v. 9).
Elijah commands the woman to make him a small cake from the flour first (the nerve!). His request for food and water during a famine likely put this non-Jewish, financially challenged woman in an awkward position.
Yet as Spurgeon wrote, God chose her for a purpose—not just to be saved out of the famine but to feed his prophet. Despite her fear and distress (and a bit of doubt), the woman believes the Lord’s promise of provision and trusts him when Elijah says, “Do not fear” (v. 13). She does as asked, and Scripture says she and Elijah “and her household” ate for many days—the flour was never used up, and the jar of oil never ran dry.
God honored the woman’s obedience in a grim situation. It’s a lesson for us all: his grace for everyone is enough.
The main point? Jesus’ grace is sufficient for all.
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