Sermon: Romans 16:13 – The Story of Rufus’ Mother

Mother’s Day is a special day.  It is a day where we pay tribute and honor mothers.  Mothers are special and they know a lot.  For example, Mothers know that when you hear a child flush the toilet and say ‘uh oh’, it’s already too late.  Mothers know a 3-year old boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.  Mothers know that a puddle is a small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.  Mothers know that the top bunk is where you should never put a little boy wearing Superman pajamas.  Mothers are also aware of two mysterious people living in the house: Somebody and Nobody. Somebody did it and Nobody knows who.  This Mother’s Day we will begin in Romans 16:13 and consider what we can learn from Rufus’ mother.  Then we shall turn our attention to 1 Corinthians 13:7 to learn more about a mother’s love.

In Romans 16:13, Paul ends his letter to the church at Rome with greeting many people who have been instrumental in his life.  In verse 13 he writes, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.”  Paul sends greetings to Rufus and his mother.  He includes Rufus’ mother because she “has also been a mother to me as well.”  I love this verse because it shows us that being a mother is more than giving birth to children, but is a tender, loving care that only a woman can give.   Let us reflect for a moment that Rufus’ mother’s name is unknown, but her love is unforgettable.

Rufus’ Mother’s Name is Unknown

Does it surprise you to learn that a woman who had such a great impact on the Apostle Paul is nameless in the Bible?  Her name is not omitted because she was unimportant.  It was not omitted because she was a woman (other women are mentioned in Romans 16).  It is interesting that two thousand years later, no one knows her name.  Follow me for a moment, for some reason Rufus’ mother’s name is not recorded for us.  All we know about her is that she was a loving mother who was also motherly toward others.

Being a mother is important, but mothers are not mothers in order to receive recognition from others.  Much of what a mother does it unrecognized by others.  It is natural because much of what a mother does it behind the scenes.  Even if there is not recognition, mothers do what mothers do because that is what mothers do.  A day of acknowledgement is nice but women do not become mothers because of the recognition of Mother’s Day.  For a godly mother, the only recognition that matters is from God and everything a mother does it recognized by God.  God sees all and knows all and nothing a mother does is insignificant.

Rufus’ Mother’s Love is Unforgettable

While Rufus’ mother’s name is unknown, her love is unforgettable.  Paul, in his greetings, reflects on his friend Rufus and he cannot forget the tender, loving care provided to him by Rufus’ mother.  A great description of true love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:7 which says: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Love Bears All Things

True love that is rooted in Christ is supportive.  True love bears all things because true love is focused on helping others know Jesus as Savior and Lord.  True love bears with everyone because it seeks the best for everyone.

Love Believes All Things

True love that is rooted in Christ is positive.  True love believes all things because Christians serve a God who “will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19).  True love believes the best in people and refuses to believe the worst without good evidence.

Love Hopes All Things

True love that is rooted in Christ is hopeful.  True love hopes all things because with Christ Jesus there is always hope.  True love is not given to despair because God has promised He “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5).

Love Endures All Things

True love that is rooted in Christ is enduring.  True love endures all things because the love of Christ endures forever.  In Lamentations, the book which means sorrow and sadness, Jeremiah writes, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam 22:23).  True love is able to endure because Christ endures on our behalf.