U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the 100 Best Jobs of 2019. Scan the list and you’ll find jobs in fields like tech, finance, public service, and medicine. According to the report, these jobs made the cut because, “They pay well, challenge us year after year, match our talents and skills, aren’t too stressful, offer room to advance throughout our careers and provide a satisfying work-life balance.” In other words, the best jobs come with great challenge and great reward.
But if that’s true, then why didn’t “mom” make the list? Scroll through the 100 Best Jobs of 2019 and you won’t find “mother” anywhere. Why is that?
Maybe for some “motherhood” isn’t considered a vocation. After all, you can’t really put “full-time mom” on your resume, the role doesn’t come with a benefits package or paid vacation time, and you can’t take “Mommy 101” in undergrad. Maybe it’s because moms work from home with a very small client base.
Whatever the reason, leaving “mom” off the list is a mistake.
Again, if the way to evaluate the best career is to consider the level of challenge alongside the level of reward, few jobs come close to the value of motherhood. Think about it…
The challenge is obvious. Motherhood is difficult from start to finish. First, there’s pregnancy and delivery. Then, there’s nursing, sleep-training, diaper-changing, and a thousand other things to learn while a little human screams at you. Once moms master these basics, there’s 18-or-so years of educating, disciplining, correcting, and guiding another person though all facets of life. On top of all that, kids move out, but moms never retire. It’s the job that never ends.
As I watch my wife mother our daughter, I’m constantly impressed. It’s challenging work. But the rewards are real.
When I ask people why they find their jobs are rewarding, most say something like, “I can see how I’m making a difference in people’s lives.” Helping other humans is what brings meaning to our work and glory to God. As Christians we long to serve others because Christ came to serve us (Matt. 20:28).
So, consider three ways the work of motherhood is rewarding:
1. The reward of evangelizing
Whenever we have opportunities to share our faith, and we take them, it’s exhilarating. If you’re like me you’ll feel a rush of joy that God gave you the boldness and the courage to speak to someone else about Christ. The act of evangelism, no matter the response we see in the person we speak to, is encouraging and rewarding.
I’ve often heard moms bemoan the fact that they have not shared the gospel more. Between all the limitations of the early years of motherhood and all the busyness of the later years, many moms feel like they’re not doing enough to engage unbelievers with the good news of Jesus Christ. Now, can we all be more bold and more creative and find more opportunities? For sure. But moms should never forget that no child is born a Christian, and until your kid knows the Lord you have a built-in, daily evangelistic opportunity right in front of you.
I’ll never forget a particular moment at a pastors’ conference on evangelism a few years ago. At the beginning of the conference the host had everyone in the room stand up. He asked us to sit down if we came to faith because someone shared the gospel with us in a one-on-one conversation. Some guys sat down. Then he asked us to sit down if we came to faith at an evangelistic event or a rally. A few more sat down. Then he asked us to sit down if we came to faith because we grew up in a Christian home. Out of the 7,000 or so present, it looked like about 5,000 sat down.
There are many, many people with Christ in glory today because their moms faithfully shared Christ with them. Moms, you can’t make your kids follow Jesus. We’re saved by grace alone. But you can point your kids to Jesus. And you’ll find this act of obedience to your Savior deeply rewarding.
2. The reward of discipling
Like evangelism, discipling is deeply rewarding. Walking alongside other Christians to help them follow Jesus is an immense privilege. Pastors know this. Small group leaders know this. And moms know this too.
Seeing the lightbulbs turn on in someone’s head while you are teaching; sitting alongside someone who is shedding tears of genuine repentance; holding someone’s hand and praying for them in the midst of sorrow and disappointment; watching someone use their God-given gifts to serve Christ and his church—
These are some of the joys of discipleship. Every time a mom helps her child memorize a new Bible verse, she knows this joy. Every time a mom listens to her child confess sin and shares about the cleansing power of Jesus’s blood, she knows this joy. Every time a mom hugs her child tight and prays for comfort in the midst of heartaches (from boo-boos to breakups), she knows this joy. And every time a mom sees her child honor the Lord, she knows this joy.
And by the way, you don’t need children in your home to mother in this kind of way. Women who love and care for the younger generations in the church become spiritual mothers for many. The Apostle Paul benefitted from this kind of mothering. In Romans 16:13 he writes to the church in Rome, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.” Christian women can become mothers to many in the church regardless of whether or not they have children at home.
Motherhood is discipling, and discipling is rewarding.
3. The reward of the Lord
The results of motherhood are hard to measure. Imagine one mom who looks at the children she’s raised with humble gratitude, amazed at how the Lord has worked through her imperfect efforts to produce so much fruit. Then imagine another mom who did all she could to raise her kids up in Christ, but their lives are in disarray. She wonders, “Where did I go wrong?”
What’s the answer? Did one mom succeed while the other failed? That depends what we mean by success. If success in motherhood is rooted solely in the outcome of the child’s life, then most moms have reason to feel discouraged. But if success in motherhood is rooted in faithfulness to Christ, then many discouraged moms need to lift their drooping heads.
In 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul charges Christians to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This is a particularly important word for discouraged moms. Whether or not your kids end up walking with Christ in adulthood, your work as a mom is not in vain if you serve your children as Christ directs you. Success in motherhood is faithfulness to Jesus.
And faithful does not mean perfect. Only Jesus is perfect. So, a faithful mom is a mom who clings to him for mercy and grace, and leans into him for strength and power while engaging in the challenging and rewarding work of motherhood.
Thank You, Moms
Moms, you have one of the best jobs in the world. Your job is challenging, your job is rewarding, and your job is really, really important. “Motherhood” may not make everyone’s list of top careers, but it should. We all have moms, we all need moms, and we all have reasons to thank our moms this Mother’s Day.