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The Servant Minded Mother

2 Kings 4:8-37 • May 12, 2024 • g1292

Pastor Chris Amaro teaches a message through 2 Kings 4:8-37 titled “The Servant Minded Mother.”

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Pastor Chris Amaro

May 12, 2024

Sermon Scripture Reference

In 2 Kings 4:8-37, we are going to be looking at the topic of moms. The title of this sermon is The Servant-Minded Mother. Perhaps for all of you moms, you’re asking yourself, What other kind of mom is there?! Every mom is servant-minded. Obviously, we see with the rest of society, with the rest of the world, an attack on the family, and it’s ramping up. So even motherhood is under attack, and the idea of a mom serving her family is just such a strange concept nowadays.

When I say now that we’re going to be looking at moms, what can happen? There are two different groups that split us in two—those who are moms and those who aren’t. The moms want to hear this, but the others say that this doesn’t apply to them so they “check out.” But if you are a young lady and not yet a mom, there are still things here to be learned by you and taken note of. And if you’re a young man, not married yet—and you’ll never be a mom—there are still things to be taken note of, because the characteristics in this woman’s life are certainly things that are good for any of us to emulate.

I’ve got one son, and I’ve told him ever since he was young that once he became interested in the young ladies and started dating and began to think long term, he shouldn’t just look at a girl and decide whether or not she’s “foxy”; but he should ask himself if she is the type of person he would want to mother his kids at some point. So young men, take note.

If you’re a dad or husband, again, you might say, “Well, I’ll never be a mom.” But all of us can emulate the characteristics of this mother. You can pray for your wife, the mother of your own children, and ask the Lord to work in her life, that she would have the same characteristics as the mother in our text.

I came across an article from 2019. It says, “This Mother’s Day, let’s stop celebrating sacrifices and unconditional love.” What a way to title your article for Mother’s Day! The first paragraph opens this way: “Come Mother’s Day, we see people flood social-media platforms with posts and tweets about what their mothers mean to them, given their umpteen sacrifices and unconditional love. Over the years, we have reduced motherhood to sacrifices and love that involves a negation of self, calling it unconditional.” That’s what the world thinks of motherhood: it’s a waste. She’s saying that you moms need to set your families aside and really serve yourself. Make yourself the priority.

However, when we come to the Word of God, we find something much different. In fact, the idea of sacrificing and serving others is not just for moms; it’s for every believer. Certainly, servanthood, for moms, dads, and everybody, is something that is held in high regard. It is always encouraged in the Bible. So we’ll be looking at a woman and mom that is a servant-minded mom.

In 2 Kings 4, starting at verse 8, I will point out several characteristics. As I read through the story, I will make some observations. Pray that God would help us be this type of person, even if we’re not moms.

In verse 8, it starts, “Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem.” We’re jumping into the middle of Elisha’s life. So let me give you some background. Elisha was the assistant/servant to a man named Elijah the prophet. When Elijah was taken to heaven, Elisha took over for him.

So Elisha is a prophet, and he went to Shunem. It doesn’t tell us why he was there. But the Bible says that “where there was a notable woman.” Strangely and mysteriously enough, we never get her name. There are a lot of people in the Bible whose names we do not get, but it would have been neat to have this woman’s name. But it does seem fitting that this servant-minded mom wouldn’t have her name given in the story. Since she was called a “notable woman,” that meant there were a lot of people who knew her; she was well known.

Then it says, “And she persuaded him…” meaning Elisha “…to eat some food.” I like this lady already. Obviously coming from a Hispanic family, in my house there is always food available. When you show up at a Latino family, there is always food.

So the first thing we see about this servant-minded mother is that she is not a mother yet at this point in the story. But she will become a mom, as we get into the story, so I’ll call her a mom now. Yet you already see that her heart is geared that way; we see that she served with hospitality. That is a key characteristic of any follower of God, especially of a servant-minded mom. So we see that she welcomed in this prophet of God, this Elisha.

“She persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.” So she became this point of contact, this point of refreshment for Elisha each time he came to Shunem.

What an encouraging thing that is: those who encourage God’s workers, God’s servants, because not everyone can be a prophet on his way to Shunem, or on his or her way to do some great work of God. Not everybody can go to the mission field. Not everybody can go to Nicaragua. That’s okay; God’s actually not calling everyone to go to Nicaragua. But what we can do is support those who do go. And this mom in our text is that way. She was serving Elisha.

Now she obviously realizes something about Elisha. She understands that there is something special about this man. There is nothing romantic going on there; she has a husband. There is no kind of attraction. But she understands that Elisha is a servant of God. So she’s going to do her best to be a blessing to him in any way that she can. She’ll actually ramp up the idea of serving, blessing, supporting and assisting him.

So she persuades him to eat some food. And if he’s like me or like most other men, he probably didn’t need much persuading. “So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.” Evidently she was a good cook, and what she fixed for him each time he liked, so he stopped by her place to eat each time he went that way.
As we go through the Scriptures I’ll give you, we want to examine ourselves to see if we measure up to what they say. Hospitality is a key characteristic of any servant. In 1 Timothy 3:2, Paul wrote, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach.” As a pastor myself, I want to look at this list to see if I measure up. As I look at this list, I see that some of these things, especially the hospitality part, I am sorely lacking in.

When I’m home, I like to do nothing. Rarely am I home, but when I’m home, there are things to do there like yard work, fixing and repairing, so when I get the chance, I like to turn on the TV and “veg out,” not think about anything. It’s refreshing for me at times.

My wife, on the other hand, likes a full house; she likes to have everyone over. And she doesn’t mind having the TV on, the music playing, people talking and playing games and somebody letting the dogs in and running around. She loves all of that stuff.

I really like quiet. Not that I don’t like my family. I do love my family, and I like for everybody to be there. But the hospitality part, I’m sorely lacking in.

But this mom here, that’s her thing. She loves that and we see that right away. And in Titus 1:8, where it again talks about leaders and pastors, it says, “Be hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled.” In 1 Peter 4:9, it says, “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” I don’t like that verse; it stings. But hospitality is a good thing. Many moms are that way.

Perhaps you were dragged to church this morning by your mom. You know how moms are. You asked your mom, “Mom, what would you like to do for Mother’s Day?” She then pulled the “mom card”; she used her leverage as a mom. “Oh, the only thing I want is for you to come to church with me.” And you thought, Oh, I shouldn’t have asked!

But you know your mom is hospitable. That’s one of the characteristics you love about her. Hospitality is a wonderful thing. That welcoming spirit, that welcoming heart we want in our moms.

The second characteristic of this mom we find in verses 9-10. It’s a wonderful one and is true of so many of us. “And she said to her husband, ‘Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly.’” So she has some wisdom. “Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.”

Is that your mom? Husbands, is that your wife? She’s got wisdom. She came up with a wonderful plan, a wonderful adventure that she came up with for you and your kids this summer. “We’re all going to the Grand Canyon. We’re going to spend two weeks at the Grand Canyon. It’ll be wonderful!” And everyone said, “Hip, hip, hooray!” Then she said, “And we’re going there on horseback; we’re going to make it like an old western!” And everybody looked at you and said, “What are you talking about?!” Then mom jumps in and says, “Well, maybe….” So mom often adds in some wisdom.
I heard about a pastor one time who had a grand scheme, “We’re going to do this!” He was sharing it with his wife. She just said, “That’s fine. I’m sure you spent time praying about it. So wherever the Lord is leading, that’s what we’ll do.” The man thought he had better go to consult the Lord before he finished making his plans.

But moms can do that; they have so much wisdom to share with us. We would be foolish if we didn’t take advantage of that.

This mom in our text realizes she has wisdom, so she said, “This is a holy man of God.” She was basically saying that it was a good thing that they build this room for him. That way he can be refreshed when he stopped by there.

Proverbs 8:11 says, “For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.” Solomon wrote the Proverbs, and he personified wisdom as “her.” This proverb is an astounding statement coming from the mouth of Solomon. He was incredibly rich; he had everything. We look around and say, “Oh, I wish I had this or that.”

Sometimes people will ask, “If money were no object, what kind of car would you get?” For me, it’s a Rolls Royce. I know; it’s not fitting for me as a pastor. Can you imagine me pulling up to church in that?! But what is it that you desire, that you wish for? Whatever it is, we’re told that wisdom is better than whatever that is.

If you’re talking about the ladies, about mothers, you must talk about Proverbs 31. In verse 26, it says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” So many moms diffuse arguments in the home, at work or among the kids with wisdom. That’s something we need to recognize and be thankful for. And when we take our moms out to lunch on Mother’s Day, we also want to be thankful for our mom’s hospitality in welcoming us back into the home. But we also need her wisdom, because God has given her wisdom.

The next characteristic is found in verses 11-13. “And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant….” So we learn that Elisha has an assistant named Gehazi. And he said to Gehazi, “‘Call this Shunammite woman.’ When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him….”

Now this is a little bit odd. When the woman enters the room, why does Elisha tell Gehazi to speak to the woman? Why doesn’t Elisha speak to her directly? We don’t have a clue. He was a prophet, so he may have been strange. They sometimes do strange things.

Elisha tells Gehazi, in verse 13, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you?’” Elisha was thinking that there certainly was something he could do to repay, to bless this woman. “Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?” So evidently Elisha had the ear of the king, of the royal court and of the commander of the army. He was asking her, “What would you like? Do you want me to get you in good with the royal court?”

But this woman’s response is a classic mother’s response. “She answered, ‘I dwell among my own people.’” It means that she was fine just where she was. “Thanks anyway. I’ve got what I need. I don’t need anything else. I’ve got my husband. We’ve got our land. I’m perfectly fine.”

Over the last few years for Mother’s Day, I’ve made the reservations and taken my wife to different restaurants. But this year I thought we’d do something a little different, so I asked her where she would like to go. Eventually she said that she would like to stay home and barbecue that day. What she meant was that she wanted to stay home, cook for the family and have everyone come over and hang out. That didn’t sound good to me, because I don’t cook. If she had wanted bacon-wrapped hot dogs, those I can do. My daughter and I thought, That’s no fun! That meant that there would be dishes afterward to wash. We were just thinking about ourselves.

In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul says, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” Beans and rice and Jesus Christ. What else do we need? A classic mom response. In Hebrews 13:5, the writer of Hebrews says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” “Be content?” What does that even mean? But it’s a classic mom response. “I’ve got everything I need.”

A teacher asked a boy this question: “Suppose your mother baked a pie. There are seven of you—your parents and five children. What part of the pie would you get?” This teacher was wanting to teach the student about fractions.

The boy replied, “A sixth.”

The teacher said, “I’m afraid you do not understand your fractions. Remember there are seven of you.”

“Yes,” the boy said, “but you don’t know my mother. Mother would say that she didn’t want any pie just so the kids could have a little bit more.” These are the things moms do all the time, and they often go unnoticed.

In verses 14-17, it says, “So he said, ‘What then is to be done for her?’ And Gehazi answered, ‘Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.’” They’re not going to have any kids. “So he said, ‘Call her.’ When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, ‘About this time next year you shall embrace a son.’ And she said, ‘No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!’”

I like this response. To me, it’s such a modern response. Instead of “Oh, praise God!” she said, “You better stop lying to me!” She seems to have forgotten that this is a man of God and is a prophet. She had been careful to honor him, but now it’s “You better stop lying to me!”

Verse 17, “But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.” Now she’s the servant-minded mom.

Our next section, verses 18-20, is about self-sacrificing. And again, that’s what moms do. And we could have titled this sermon, The Self-Sacrificing Mother. “And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers.” Notice we are not told how old he is. “And he said to his father, ‘My head, my head!’” And here comes the classic dad response. “So he said to a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’” Who’s got time for kids with headaches?!

How many times have we done that, dads? Our kids come to us and say, “Dad, I can’t figure out this math problem. I need help.”

“Go ask your mother. Can’t you see I’m busy watching the playoffs?” It’s a classic dad response.

Now notice what happens when this little boy is taken to his mother. “When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.”

I had told you that this mother served self-sacrificially. Where do we see that? In verse 20. It says that her son “sat on her knees till noon.” Whatever she had been doing before this was promptly set aside for her son’s need. She grabbed ahold of her son, it was obvious something was wrong with him, so she held him on her lap for as long as it was going to take to relieve whatever the problem was. And the problem went from bad to worse.

Think back in your life. You can’t count the number of times that your mom spent waiting for you in some cold, dark parking lot after a football game, waiting for you to finish hangin’ out with your friends.

I’ve been in youth ministry for a long time, and sometimes we’re hangin’ out and everybody’s talking at the end of the night. Someone gets a tag that says his mom’s waiting out in the parking lot for him. So I tell him, “Get outta here! Don’t leave your mom waiting!”

How many times has your mom spent in doctors’ offices waiting with you. She set aside all she had planned for the day or for that time to gladly help you. But it goes overlooked. Why? “Oh, that’s just what moms do!” Moms don’t have a life; they just sit around waiting for us to have problems, so they can fix them. We don’t think about what mom had going on, what she had planned, what she wanted to do when we interrupted those plans. She waited on us countless times, for countless hours.

And then we get mad at her. We get home and dig around for Hot Pockets. We ask why dinner isn’t ready yet. Because she was waiting on you! She was ministering to you.

What a wonderful mom this woman is in our text! This is a characteristic that all of us should seek to have. In Philippians 2:3-4, it says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

For years I had believed that these two verses were the most ignored verses in the entire Bible. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit.” But that’s all we do! “In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” You gotta be kiddin’ me! Look out “for the interests of others”?! Why? Because that’s godliness. That’s the model.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7, Paul, as he was looking for an image to share with the Thessalonians to explain who they were to them and what they felt like said, “We were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”

When Paul had been shipwrecked, beaten and left for dead and attacked in every city he went to—to me that’s manliness. He was a servant of servants. Yet when he searched for an image to share with the Thessalonians to explain his heart for them, he saw himself as a “nursing mother.” Think of that! Those of you who had the privilege of seeing your wife nurse your children saw her tenderness, closeness, warmth and protection. Paul said that when they ministered to the Thessalonians, they did their best to be like a “nursing mother.” That was self-sacrificing.

Now we’ll look at verses 21-26 where we’ll see that this mom serves, as moms serve, with determination. “And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out.” She had something in her mind and on her heart. She didn’t abandon her child. This wasn’t weird or strange. “Then she called to her husband, and said, ‘Please send me one of the young men…” or “servants” “…and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.’ So he said, ‘Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.’ And she said, ‘It is well.’”

She responds to her husband by saying, “There’s no problem; everything’s fine.” Why didn’t she tell him that their son had died? We’re not told why, so we’re left with our best guesses. So my thought is that knowing moms, she had faith. And she did not want to trouble her husband.

So she begins to make her way to the man of God. “Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, ‘Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.’” She needed to go fast. “And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.” We’re thinking she got on her donkey and just went a short distance down the road. But it is believed that Mount Carmel was 45 miles from Shunem—and on a donkey. So it was a 90-mile round-trip.

“So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, “Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?”’ And she answered, ‘It is well.’” She had told her husband, and now she tells Gehazi that “It is well”!

I want you to see that she is serving with determination, and moms can certainly be determined. They’re not quitters. In Proverbs 31:18-19, it says, “She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.” Late into the night her lamp is burning and is working at the sewing machine preparing her goods and preparing for her family.

How many costumes for plays or for Halloween or Fall Festivals have your mom fixed or made for you? Countless. Every year my mom would make my costume—a Stormtrooper, a mummy or whatever. I still have those pictures, and occasionally I go through them to see all the things she made for me. I did not appreciate that at all when I was a little boy.

So consider how many hours this woman spent, determined to bless her family.

Now we move down to verses 27-37. We see that she serves with humility. “Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet.” In order to catch him by the feet, she had to fall down on the ground to grab his feet. Humility. “But Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, ‘Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.’”

“So she said, ‘Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, “Do not deceive me”?’ Then he said to Gehazi, ‘Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him…” or “don’t waste time” “…but lay my staff on the face of the child.’ And the mother of the child said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.’”

She basically said, “As God is my witness!” And she’s talking about Elisha’s soul. It’s getting scary. He was now her hostage, and he’s going back with her. She’s saying, “You’re not leaving my side!” Verse 30, “So he arose and followed her.”

“Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, ‘The child has not awakened.’ When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed.”

Now what happens next is very strange. This is not a doctor visit. It’s a prophet visit, so things are different. And the child was lying dead on Elisha’s bed! “He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm.” No doubt; he had a man’s body lying on top of him! But the warmth indicated that life was beginning to come back into the child. This is a partial healing/miracle here. But it will be completed.

Verse 35, “He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times.” Why? No idea. Maybe Elisha was dusty. “And the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, ‘Call this Shunammite woman.’ So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, ‘Pick up your son.’ So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground.” There is the humility again. This is the second time she has been at the feet of Elisha, serving with humility.

Isn’t that every mom? Bending down to clean the toilets. Always lowering herself to serve her family.

Verse 37, “Then she picked up her son and went out.”

In Proverbs 3:34, it says, “Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.” Humility. In Colossians 3:12, it says, “As the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.” Humility is something sorely missing. Everybody wants us to be prideful about who we are and proud of what we’re doing. Self-promotion is the phrase of the day.

This woman served with so many wonderful qualities, and we see those in our moms.

You have one day, Mother’s Day, to honor your mother. If she is still around, be a blessing to her, because she has sacrificed all these years to propel her family forward. She does it without thanks, without appreciation—except on this one day. So take the opportunity to be a blessing to her.

Pastor Photo

About Pastor Chris Amaro

Pastor Chris Amaro is the High School Pastor at Revival Christian Fellowship

Sermon Summary

Pastor Chris Amaro teaches a message through 2 Kings 4:8-37 titled “The Servant Minded Mother.”

Pastor Photo

Pastor Chris Amaro

May 12, 2024