george hancock stefanProverbs 31 is a well-known passage of Scripture. Most people remember it for the description of a wife of noble character (31:10-31). This section is preceded by a mother’s words of wisdom to her son, who is a king. It starts with these words: "O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows.”

My mother married young and I was born when she was 18 years old. I was the child of her vows; she promised that if God gave her a boy, she would pray him into the gospel ministry. My mother's biblical heroine was Ana, who prayed for her son and took him to be raised in the temple. That son was named Samuel and he became one of the greatest Old Testament prophets.

My mother introduced me to the Bible. Before I could read, my mother made me memorize Bible verses and many, many poems–both religious and secular. Then I learned to read by reading the Bible in the primary grades.

On Mother’s Day I often reflect on my mother, who has gone to be with the Lord. One of the things that I admire most (although I didn’t when I was young), was her ability to read my mind. When I was a teenager, I was thinking about doing something mischievous that bordered on evil. My mother looked at me and said that I should stop going in that direction because it would bring ruin to my life. I was shocked that she could read me so well.

Later in life, I remember talking with other young men about the impact of their mothers. I told them that one of the things that my mother could not stand was faked sincerity or politeness. She could see right through that nonsense. One of her rules was that if I caused any harm to a young lady, it reflected poorly on her. She not only defended me from evil, but she also defended other women from harm. Her other rule was that I should avoid any appearance that could make people gossip. Avoidance of evil was a big subject in the upbringing of her children.

I look at young men and women and older men and women these days and I see some of them have major messes in their lives. I often ask myself if their mothers had any cardinal rules, or absolutes for their families. Were those absolutes drilled into the being of their sons and daughters to make them avoid evil and even the appearance of evil? It could save them and all of the people involved lots of grief, heartache, and disaster.

Thus, in this week of celebration and remembrance of our mothers, I thank God for the gift of my mother and for her willingness to shape her children so that they would first please God and then to be pleasant and kind to everyone else.