“While [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.'” Matthew 12:46-50
When Jesus said this, he wasn’t dismissing all concern for physical family and makes that clear elsewhere, but he was emphasizing the importance of the new creation family comprised of those who follow him. God’s kingdom and his family are a priority for all of us.
All who receive Jesus, believing in his name, are given the right to be God’s children (John 1:12-13). As God’s children, we join a spiritual family which includes all of God’s other children. We are to treat them as families should be treated.
That means that we can’t be lone ranger Christians because are responsible for and to them.
Look at Titus 2:3-5:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Paul suggests that in our spiritual family, older women are spiritual mothers to younger women. A spiritual mother’s responsibility is to teach her daughters to be women of God. It’s more about who they become, having character that reflects Christ, than the specific work that they do. The bottom line is helping other women lead lives that don’t cause others to dismiss God.
Even when we have godly mothers, we need the influence of other older women because our parents have passed their flaws and weaknesses to us. My mother was a professional worrier. I will never forget an early small group where the older leader talked about worry being based on lack of faith. I was shocked! Her insights about worry changed my whole perspective.
Note that the passage isn’t directed to women Bible teachers, but to all women. Basically every women is responsible to influence younger women to follow Jesus and show forth godliness. And all of us have someone younger to influence. We are all spiritual mothers, daughters, and sisters.
So we must seek out women of other generations as friends, not necessarily in a one-on-one or official mentoring situation. It can be in a small group setting. It’s simply a mother/daughter relationship—loving, supporting, and sharing life experience with women with different generational perspectives and life experiences. Every generation can learn from other generations. My younger friends often help me see the biases and poor thinking of my generation.
Who is your spiritual mother or daughter today? Who is there to help you grow and what younger woman are you influencing?