Moms know this often used description is true. You can do some shaping and molding, but it's never easy and kids grow up quickly and become "hardened" in such a hurry! A mom hopes to leave a significant imprint in that wet cement, and by the grace of God, that imprint can be a blessing and reminder of grace all her child's life.
The Bible hints to us that God specifically chose Mary to be the mom of Jesus to help imprint the wet cement of the Savior. There was something about both Mary and Joseph that led God to choose them to love, raise, form, and shape the Messiah!
Some are a little uncomfortable having anyone talk about a human imprint being made — a mere mortal making an impression — on the Lord, our Savior, the Son of God. Yet if we listen carefully, the Holy Spirit quietly whispers this truth to us.
After Jesus, at age 12, had declared that he had to be focused on his Father's work, the spiritual work of the temple, the Bible says:
Then he [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them [Mary and Joseph] and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:51-52 NIV11).
Even after realizing at some level his responsibility to honor God and even after amazing everyone in the Temple courts with his understanding and answers to religious questions as he visited with the great teachers of Israel (Luke 2:45-47), Jesus went home and was obedient to his parents and continued to grow up under their influence into the young man God was wanting him to become!
Jesus was still wet cement, and Mary and Joseph were responsible for molding, shaping, and imprinting that cement! They weren't alone in this; God was at work shaping Jesus' life (Luke 2:40), much like he is partnered with any godly parents in forming children of faith (Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 6:1-40).
Mary and Joseph's influence on Jesus was no accident! They were chosen by God (Luke 1:28-32). God chose them for some reasons we will probably never know, but Scripture does give us clues about some of the reasons he chose Mary and her betrothed, Joseph, to raise the Messiah. They were people of righteous character (Luke 1:34; Luke 2:39-40), gracious compassion (Matthew 1:19), and had godly family connections (Luke 1:5-17; Luke 1:39-45) with a group of very devout people who longed for God to intervene and bring redemption (Luke 2:21-38).
Mary and Joseph remind us of the divine partnership that each of us has in forming God's child "on loan" to us for awhile. Our role is to shape, influence, mold, and imprint that child in ways that glorify the Father. We see parenthood redefined as something much more than contributing DNA to make a baby. We see the vital role of moms and dads as nurturing a child to discover his or her calling, the calling God designed into that child when the Father created that child uniquely, with purpose and for relationship with him (Psalm 139:13-16).
So on this Mother's Day, I want to remind each mom — biological mom, adoptive mom, grandmother mom, church mom, foster mom — that you are so much more than a Michelangelo. Legend has it that someone once came to Michelangelo and asked if he could watch as he sculpted. For several days, Michelangelo did nothing other than look at the huge block of marble from every angle and in different lighting conditions. Finally, growing tired of this indiscernible process, the onlooker broke the great sculptor's concentration and asked what in the world he was doing. Michelangelo reportedly said, "I am looking for the masterpiece to release that is hidden in the marble."
As a mom, you are called to unlock the masterpiece embedded in the gift of the child God has placed in your care. Yet you have far more influence than just releasing the masterpiece embedded in marble. God chose you to add value, to help shape, to use your influence, and to leave your imprint in the formation of a person who will live forever! You don't work in marble, or even wet cement, but in flesh and blood and soul. You are a divine partner with God, seeking to leave an imprint of faith, hope and love in a child given you by grace to love, influence and mold.
So on this day, mom, we especially thank you for daring to dance with the divine to help us, your children, find our calling and know our Father's love.
Happy Mother's Day and thanks for all you have done to leave an imprint of faith in our lives!