Do It for the Least of These

I was walking out of a store with my 7 year old daughter. She had just been at a birthday party, so I was asking her about some of the girls that were at the party.

I mentioned a certain girl by name and asked her if she was nice to play with.

My daughter said, “Mostly. Sometimes she can be a little bossy.”

“Oh,” I answered. “That’s okay. All girls can be that way sometimes.”

She replied, “Yeah, I know. They are just getting ready to become moms!”

I laughed, but then I was like, what? Does she think I’m bossy? Does she think that is all that it takes to be a mom? Is she just being funny?

Well, I guess she’s not totally wrong. Women kind of need a little bossyness to run a house and manage their kids. After all, motherhood is not for the weak.

I must confess I’m guilty of being bossy. As the first born of 3 girls, I found myself in a position of “leadership” where I was bossy because I was older. Just ask my sisters. Then as a teacher, I got to be the boss of my own classroom. Now I’m the boss of my children.

It’s okay to be organized and to run a tight ship. It’s okay to keep our kids in line. But the Bible says we need to have one thing in order to be effective as mothers: Love.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;a but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” –1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NLT.

This passage of scripture is usually read at weddings, but I think it totally relates to motherhood.

Sometimes I feel like I am only talking to myself, making noise like cymbals clanging together. But if I speak with love to my children, they will feel loved.

Sometimes I wish I had all the parenting answers. I wish I knew just how to fix every situation for my kids. But even if I did have these things, if I didn’t execute them with love, what good would they really do?

The apostle Paul goes on, explaining that even if he served others tirelessly and gave everything he had (sounds like motherhood, right?) and still didn’t love others, he would have gained nothing.

I’m understanding what Paul meant in a new light. We can serve our children and our families, but if we do it out of obligation and not love, we will be drained and bitter. We will have gained nothing. When we serve out of love for our kids, and more importantly, out of love for Jesus, we gain joy, peace, and rewards in heaven.

I know our kids are not always easy to love. Some days, that motherly love does not overflow from our hearts. But those are the days that we must just focus our love on Jesus. For He said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” (Matt. 25:45, NIV).

If ever there is a word of encouragement for moms, that verse is it! Our children, especially when they are young, are the least of these. God knows being a mom is hard, but when we focus on Him, we can find the love it requires to serve our children, especially when they are difficult.

We can give orders, manage the house, and keep things organized, but if we only sound like clanging cymbals, we fall short. Without love, our efforts are just noise. 

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Kristen Johnson

Kristen is an "accidental farmer's wife" and stay-at-home mom of 3. Accidental, because it was never in her plan to "just" be a mom. But it was God's. Former English teacher now turned MOPS Coordinator and Speaker, Kristen now writes at nap-time, blogging about her silly kids and her farming adventures, as a mom Called by God. She lives in Minnesota on a farm with her family, dog and 5 cats.