I have come to realize that the most influential ministers are those not found in a pulpit but maybe found right under one’s own roof. I have realized the person who was responsible for ministering to me, giving me wise counsel and my spiritual mentor has been the one who has been there through every season of my life. That person was not my seminary professor, youth leader growing up, colleague or bestselling author. Sometimes God gives you a good minister for your church but in unique circumstances God gives you a great minister underneath your own roof.
My mother grew up on a cotton farm in Tennessee, one of many brothers and sisters. By today’s standards you could call them poor, but with determination and resolve her large family survived. While as a child and teenager she had high dreams and aspirations in life. As her journey would have it life would not produce her original career goals but would be that of a mother and homemaker.
Most ministers describe their path into ministry as a calling. A calling as interrupted as someone listening to the voice of God, allowing God to determine your path in life, and following that path with purpose, vigor and perseverance as you honor God along the way.
My mother’s calling and ministry was being a Mother. She served God by serving and sacrificing for her family. Until this day I never realized my mother was my minister growing up. While she was a charter member of her home church and served as president of her Sunday school class, even refusing official leadership roles; her presences, attitude, words, character, and compassion brings skin to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So as a minister and father, I have been reflecting on exactly how she did it. What is her secret? How could I emulate some of what she do into my life? Here are just a few. I have realized she has always been a better mother than I have been a son. She prayed for me a lot. She trusted in God and believed that her prayers would be heard. When making bad decisions in my life, she made me feel like I made a bad decision not that I was a bad person. She lived the true meaning of forgiveness. She never ever spoke a bad or negative word about anyone. And always hoped for the best even in the worst. She swatted my backside when it needed to be swatted, bandaged my physical and emotional boo boo’s, dried my tears, took my temperature when I was sick or when life was getting me down. She fed me meals when I was hungry and prayers when I was spiritual malnourished. She led by example, never force. She allowed me to find my own path in life and in God’s calling. As I grew older, she always coached from the sideline, never interfering, and always rooting for me. She always put her own needs, wants, and desires second behind the ones she loves. She is a source of calm and security in times in uncertainty. She always knows the exact thing to say at the exact appropriate time. She always listened more than she lectured. She exhibited a sense or core values that were infused in each of her children and grandchildren.
While my mother was never ordained, went to seminary, or stood in the pulpit to preach the gospel, she lived the true mission of Jesus Christ. She lives with a meek authority only that could come from above, with a grace and compassion that is unique and inspiring. Through her servant hood and sacrifice, she exhibited, taught, and made disciples of Jesus Christ. Looking back on my life, I can see God’s hand working through her to prepare me to do what I do. I have learned that the legacy we leave in others is more valuable than the things we accomplish today. I am overwhelmed at the blessing she is in my life and so many others. I know that this is not normal and that I am one lucky guy. When I search my conscious for a depiction of Jesus, I see my mother. In the eyes of our world my mother was not a successful woman, but in the eyes of God, she truly is a Big Momma. I am grateful and proud to say my Mother; everyone’s Big Momma is my minister.