Quarreling between her two sons prompted my sister to rush to the kitchen. Eight-year-old Bobby and four-year-old Jackie were having a tug-of-war with the cookie jar. Only one cookie remained in the jar, and each boy thought it was his.

Taking the cookie jar from the two youngsters, my sister calmly announced, “I’ll solve the problem for you. I’ll eat the last cookie myself ”

The boys looked up at their mother in unbelief Then the four-year-old, with a mischievous grin on his face, said, ” Oh, no you won’t Mom. Whoever heard of a selfish mother?”


Jochebed, the daughter of a priest, had a background of holiness. Her values were passed on to her children, Aaron and Miriam (Ex. 6:20).

Jochebed risked her life to save her other son, Moses, who she knew was destined to be a great man of God. What love for that son and what faith in God were demonstrated as she carefully wove a basket of bulrushes and coated it with tar and pitch to make it waterproof. Her faith was rewarded when Pharoah’s daughter accepted the baby as her own and summoned his real mother to be his nurse.

Jochebed’s gentle character and her faith in almighty God were surely strong influences in Moses’s life. Those traits helped him to accomplish the monumental task of leading the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and into the land God had promised them.


Unselfishness was a trait manifested by several mothers in the Bible. Hannah, after many years of being barren, received an answer to her prayers and was given a son. What a heartrending experience it must have been for her when she had to part with that precious little one after having him for such a brief time! Her love for the Lord and her unselfish promise made to Him enabled her to present Samuel to Eli, the priest, for service in the temple (I Sam. 1:25-28).

Naomi loved her daughters-in-law as deeply as she would have loved her own daughters. When their husbands died, she put aside the loneliness she knew she would experience and encouraged Ruth and Orpah to return to their own people. Naomi’s unselfishness was rewarded by the love Ruth showed her.


Elisabeth, the mother of john the Baptist, was also a godly woman. She was not only the daughter of a priest but also the wife of a priest. What a humbling, yet joyful experience it must have been when Zacharias brought the news to Elisabeth that she was going to be the mother of a son and that “he shall be great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1: 15). Her unselfish love and godly example made an impression on John. He grew to manhood completely dedicated to his God-given responsibility as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. A lasting tribute was made to Elisabeth when Jesus said of her son, “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. I 1: 1).


No woman in history was more blessed of God than Mary, the mother of Jesus. To her was entrusted the mothering of God’s own beloved Son. We cannot help but wonder what went through the young virgin’s mind when she was told by the angel of the birth of Jesus. She was submissive to God’s will even though she knew it could mean humiliation and even ridicule.

Mary’s loving care for her special Child was evident. As a result, “Jesus increased wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

No one’s grief could have been more intense than Mary’s when she saw her Son hanging on the cross. Tears must have streamed down her face as He spoke some last words about her. “Woman, behold thy son! ” (John 19:26). Then to His disciple, John, He said, ” Behold thy mother! ” (v. 27). Even in His greatest agony, Jesus did not forget His mother. He entrusted her care to His beloved disciple.

It is not easy to be an unselfish mother. There are many discouragements and Frustrations as we try to train our children in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). It takes many tears and much time
spent alone with God, but it is worth every tear and every prayer. No greater tribute could be paid to a mother than this, “Whoever heard of a selfish mother?”


I’m glad that God gave me no other
To guide me life’s perilous way
Than a dear, precious, old-fashioned Mother,
New-fashioned in Christ, I should say.

A Mother whose standards were taken
From a Holy, Infallible Book
A Mother whose faith was unshaken,
Who led me toward Heaven to look.

She taught me to reverence the Bible,
God’s Word to believe and obey;
She told me the way of Salvation;
From her, I learned early to pray.

Glad that my soul was entrusted
To one who knew Jesus divine,
Her joy in the Lord never rusted –
That good Christian Mother of mine.

There can never for me be another,
Sincerely and truly I say.
Thank God for that kind of a Mother,
God give us more like her today.

Wilda Schrock Oatley

The above articles were published in the Gospel Tract Harvester, May, 1993. pp.2-6.

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