Benjamin Franklin was the first person to think of installing street lights. He went all over Philadelphia trying to convince the city fathers that his idea was a good one, but he couldn’t get any of them to agree. It was one of those ideas that was just way ahead of its time.
Finally, he decided to take a different approach. He attached a long pole to his front porch, then every night at dusk he hung a lantern on it. Naturally, all the people in his neighborhood who had to be out after dark appreciated the light, and started installing their own poles and lanterns. Before long, people all around Philadelphia were installing poles and hanging lanterns and demanding that the city fathers install street lights, which they did.
This is the power of example. If people can see something working beautifully, they are much more likely to embrace it. As Mother’s Day approaches, it occurs to me that the reason many of us are Christians is because our parents–in many cases our mothers–set the example of faith and godliness. They showed us what working faith looks like. They made it seem like the wonderful thing it is.
Of course I don’t want to slight fathers, but a survey was taken recently in which people were asked which parent was the most influential in their lives. 77% said their mothers were.
My experience in ministry bears this out. I would estimate that significantly more than half of the people I meet attribute their faith to the influence of their mothers. Even when the father is a Christian too, the mother is often the one who does most of the shepherding of the faith of the little ones.
This is nothing new. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul wrote to his son in the faith: “I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois.” Mothers have always been strong influencers for Christ.
I love the story about the family that had three boys who loved to play baseball in the backyard. One day, a neighbor who was very finicky about his yard said to the boys’ mother, “If you don’t make those boys stop playing ball, they’re going to ruin your grass.” To which the mother replied, “That’s okay. We’re raising boys, not grass.”
A mother’s wisdom. A mother’s love. A mother’s faith. Where would we be without these things?
I, for one, am thankful for my godly mother.