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The Highest Compliment

The Highest Compliment

by Phil Ware on May 11, 2008
Category: Just for Women

Any husband who has told his pregnant wife — especially while she is in childbirth — "I know how you feel!" knows within seconds how dangerously wrong he was to say it.

Yet the apostle Paul, a man who was single, dares to communicate his deep love for the new Christians at Thessalonica with these words:

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 TNIV).

To the Christians in the province of Galatia, Paul used the following words to express his anguish at their immaturity and lack of dependency on God's grace in Christ:

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you ... (Galatians 4:19).

There is something about a mother's love that is almost incomparable — tender and yet fiercely protective. Almost? Yes, for God uses this motherly image of love to describe himself.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart

(Psalm 91:4).

Jesus does something similar:

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing" (Matthew 23:37).

So why would Paul take the risk and use such motherly images to speak of his love for new Christians? Why would both God and Jesus use such powerful images of a mother's love to describe themselves?

We could come up with a list of several answers, I'm sure. But today, on Mother's Day, I want to encourage you to not try to answer the question. Instead, I want you to recognize that in using these images of love, they paid mothers the highest compliment possible!

Thanks for your love!

About the Author

Phil Ware
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Southern Hills Church in Abilene, Texas. For the past 15+ years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

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