A Look into the Heart of a Mother

By Johnny Hunt
Bible Book: 1 Thessalonians  2 : 7-9
Subject: Mother; Mother's Day

As far back as I can remember, my mother did everything for me. In February 1985, Bessie Mae Oxendine Hunt died of congestive heart failure, however, her heart never failed me. In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul speaks of a mother’s influence and also her inspiration. It has been said that everything rises or falls on leadership. Using the mother as a model, Paul raises the expectation of the spiritual leader.

Scripture offers leadership by example and direct instruction on the subject of spiritual leadership. Effective spiritual leadership is a combination of character and activity. Who you are and what you do. In verses 1-6 Paul presented the exemplary leadership virtues of Paul’s inner life; tenacity, integrity, authority, accountability and humility. Now in verses 7-10 he views the outward function of the divinely approved spiritual leader. In order to display these functions, Paul uses a metaphor (analogy).

EXAMPLE: “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

A word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar. Paul chose to use the most intimate, compelling metaphors of a mother to illustrate the primary kinds of spiritual care a leader must provide for people. This passage uses the Mother’s love and care to speak of a Spiritual Leaders (Pastor) love and care for the church and the gospel.

You see this again in Galatians 4:19 “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,”

He pictured himself as a mother who first labored to give birth and then, as it were, labored longer to bring her children to spiritual maturity.

In 1 Corinthians 4:15 he pictures himself as a spiritual father.

1 Corinthians 4:15-16: “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.”


As mothers are absolutely and indisputably essential to the well-being of children, so spiritual leaders who minister with a mother’s gentleness, intimate affection, sacrificial love, and unselfish labor are essential for the health of the church.

“gentle” – it means to be kind to someone and encompasses a host of their virtues: acceptance, respect, compassion, tolerance of imperfections, patience, tenderheartedness and loyalty.

QUESTION: Can we explain Paul’s degree of gentleness? Yes!

“as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” Paul is saying, “I attempt to exhibit the same feelings as a nursing mother when I care for the church’s spiritual needs.”

To some this would appear weak or unproductive. The standard for self-centered leadership is to accomplish the leader’s desires through people. In the church, leaders have the privilege of seeing things God desires done in people. That changes the dynamic.

“tenderly cares” – literally means to warm with body heat. Opposite of harsh or indifferent, but tenderly nurturing.


A. Deep Love 8a

Your care is motivated by your love.

“fond affection” – used only here in New Testament, means to long for someone passionately and earnestly and being linked to a mother’s love, is intended to express an affection so deep and compelling as to be unsurpassed.

Ancient inscriptions on the tombs of dead babies sometimes contained this term when parents wanted to describe their sad longing for a too-soon departed child.

“The child’s death did not cause the deeper love, it only revealed it.”


1. What do you love most about your Mother?

2. What do you miss most about your Mother?


This text draws out 3 things:

1. It’s who Mothers are.

2. It’s what Mothers do.

3. It’s why Mothers do it.

Their calling was the highest joy of their heart to so love. That desire defined an eagerness and zealousness generated from love-filled hearts.

Note Paul’s Passion in 1 Thessalonians 3:12: “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,” - “impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives.”

“impart” – means to share or give someone something of which one returns a part. To give someone else the good news of salvation, yet without losing possession of it themselves.

“gospel of God” – seen as truth that transforms. This gospel speaks of salvation, sanctification, and glorification. It’s making disciples. It’s the message that calls all to repent and embrace Christ’s death and resurrection. It instructs us to live holy lives in obedience to Scripture and in the power of the Holy Spirit. It calls us to wait for His glorious coming for His beloved church.

“but also our own lives” – They gave up their souls, their real inner beings, for the sake of others. Speaks of sacrificial service.

A mother who fulfills the biblical role for motherhood does the same thing when she, at great cost to herself, unselfishly and generously sets aside her life for the benefit of her beloved children.

Paul ministered to his people with the same attitude of all-out commitment.

Why? They “had become dear to us.”

· This is the heart of a godly Mother.

· This is the heart of a godly Pastor.

· This is the heart of a godly Leader.


A. Manifestation 9a

“recall” – observe, proof of affection, the character of ministry.

“labor” –emphasizes the difficulty of a particular deed itself.

“hardship” – underscores the strenuous toll or struggle in performing it.

Combined these 2 words reflect the loving attitude of motherly concerns and also the sincere application of that concern.

Every mother knows there is no price her children can pay her for what she does for them. She does not expect them to compensate her for nursing them, for displaying a deep affection for them, or for embracing their every need sacrificially in heartfelt love.

EXAMPLE: What if our Mother’s billed us for their services once we were out of the home?

You talk about trumping college debt!

· Laboring night and day.

· “that we might not be a burden to any of you.”


“we preached to you the gospel of God”

Talk about the “cherry on top.” Godly mothers preach the gospel. Godly Pastors preach the gospel. Godly leaders preach the gospel.