New Hope Notes

A Sacrificial Love
Defining Moments

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
May 11, 2008 - W0819

There are 82.5 million mothers in America. This Mother’s Day weekend, 3 billion dollars will be spent on lunch and brunches. 2.1 billion dollars on flowers, 1.1 billion dollars on spa treatments. But for mom, it is much more than worth it! A famous writer once wrote about what it takes to be a mom and that a mom has to pay her dues. The writer said that you know you are a mom when you are willing to kiss a booboo no matter what part of the child’s body it is on. You know you are a mom when your saliva becomes your primary cleaning agent. You know you are a mom when you only have enough time to shave one of your legs. You know you are mom when you find yourself cutting your husband’s sandwiches into cute little shapes. You know you are a mom when somebody else’s kid throws up but you keep eating. You know you are a mom when your kid throws up and you catch it!


The Bible is full of women that changed the world. You have heard of Sarah, Rachel, Ruth, Mary and many more but have you heard of Hannah?  No, not Hannah Montana! The Bible’s Hannah lived around 1100 BC and was married to Elkanah, who was also married to Peninnah. Hannah had no children and so felt disgraced because having children was very important to the culture of the time. She was verbally abused by Peninnah because of that disgrace. So Hannah prayed to God for a son. Her life teaches us what is sacrificial love. The truest love is not built on emotion but on character. When a teen aged boy with no character says that he has feeling for a girl she should say that she has feelings too but it is indigestion!


By and large, America has the wrong the wrong definition of love. Love has to do with the real goods of character and not just the feel goods of emotion. The Bible defines love this way, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful, proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4-8 NLT).


Hannah demonstrated the three marks of love, which should be our marks as well. The first is …





Hannah cried out to God and made a vow. As it is written, “And she made this vow: ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime … ‘” (1 Sam. 1:11). But we should note that it was not a begrudging sacrifice. She did it willingly. She promised God that she would dedicate her life to having her son serve Him. There is no better purpose than to rear your children to know God. I always taught my children to obey God because I knew I could not always be there for them but God would always be there.


When my son Aaron was a teenager, he wanted to buy a pick up truck. I eventually made a deal with him that I would match the money he saved for the truck as long as he got up very early to meet with me three times a week to do our devotions together.  He agreed and it has made a profound difference in his life and has brought him closer to God. There is no more a compelling purpose than to lead your children closer to God.


There was a math teacher that asked a kid if he had 8 people in the family and they cut up a pie, how much would he get? The boy answered “one seventh.” The teacher reminded him that there were 8 not 7 family members. The boy agreed, but added that his mom always refused her share of the pie so that others could get more. Kids will always remember that quality of love.


The 2nd mark of love is …





In Mafia movies, there is always some tough boss that runs the organized crime gang ruthlessly and seemingly fearlessly. But there is almost always one person that he is afraid of – his mom! God gave us huge influence over our children when they are young that will stay with them well into their adult years. Through his mother, Hannah’s influence, Samuel became one of Israel’s great prophets and anointed her greatest king – David. The Bible says of Hannah, “Each year his mother would make a little robe and take it to him…” (1 Sam. 2:19 TEV). She put young Samuel in school to become a prophet and bringing the robe to him was more than simply clothing him. She was setting aside intentional time to influence him for the Lord. We too have great influence over our children – use it well.


Research shows that when a mom is 100% committed to the Lord, her children will stay at almost around that level also.  When a mom is only half committed the children tend to be at lower level in their commitment to God and tend to drift away even further. When the mom is not even half committed, the children really fall away from God.


Susannah Wesley was the mother of 17 children and her two famous sons John and Charles had very lasting effects on the world. John led countless thousands to the Lord and Charles was a great hymn writer. Susannah made time each week to counsel her children about Christ and her influence stuck and through her sons changed the world. So remember, you moms have been given great power by God.


Years ago, a burglar ransacked our house while we were not home. Ofcourse he did it while were absent because then he could do it without our influence trying to stop him. It is like that with our children’s minds and souls.  The Devil would like to ransack our children’s minds and souls if our influence is absent.


Once, when my son Aaron was 9, he made the decision not to go to church. I simply told him that I would make the decisions for him as long as he was making dumb ones. Appreciated influence becomes authority. Authority is the sharp tool and influence is the blunt one. Punishment too many times is motivated by anger. Discipline is motivated by love and focuses on future behavior and character. Those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines.





A mother once wrote, I loved you enough to ask where you have been. I loved you enough to make you return the Milky Way Bar you stole. I loved you enough to stand over you to make you clean your room. I loved you enough to admit when I was wrong. I loved you enough to let you stumble. I especially loved you enough to say no even though you hated me for it.


Love is marked by influence. Influence, authority and discipline come together in a package if you have a mother’s love. You have great influence as a mother so use it well on your children.


The third mark of love is …





It is written, The Lord visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:21). Hannah redefined her success. We need to redefine our success instead of using the old measuring sticks of American society. No rat ever won the rat race – they all died. Too often we run the rat race in the wrong direction (away from God). Hannah’s measure of success was raising children to know God. Too late sometimes we find the right measure of success. We can win the world but lose our forever so teach your children to be close to God. As the Bible says, “… In this way, they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life” (1 Tim. 6:19 TEV).


As we grow in the ways of the Lord we need to redefine what success means to us. Success should be measured in God’s terms no matter our changing circumstances. We may become an ex-husband but we will never become an ex-dad so use your parental influence. I have no greater joy than to know that my children are walking with the Lord. The most important is healthy Godly relationships with family being the epicenter.


I find that even pastors sometimes sacrifice family on the altars of ministry success. We too can end up chasing after the wrong trophy and not paying enough attention to our own family. I tell other pastors that eventually we will retire, pack our bags and leave our pastoral positions. When we walk away from our pastoralship, hopefully, we will be walking into family. Sometimes we postpone our family responsibilities until it is too late.


Hannah demonstrated the three marks of love: sacrifice, influence and true riches. God put Hannah in the Bible so that we could all learn to love. I would do anything for my mom because of her sacrifice. If you have that kind of influence on your child, use it to bring him or her closer to God.  There is no better purpose.


A teacher asked her 2nd grade class the difference between a mom and a dad.  One student said that a mom works at work and at home. A dad just works at work! The next question was what does your mother do in her spare time? A mom has no spare time! What would you change about your mother? Probably make her not so strict about cleaning my room but the most important would be to get rid of those eyes in the back of her head! What are mothers made of? Clouds, angel hair and everything nice and just a little dab of mean! So let me end with thanking all you mothers out there for teaching us about love.


Hannah teaches us about the three marks of love: sacrifice, influence and true riches. Love is often marked by what we sacrifice for our children. The 2nd mark is how we lovingly influence our children and use that influence to steer them close to God. When we love we will find that we discipline rather than punish because discipline is motivated by love and focused on future character. The third mark of love is true riches. When we love we will teach our children to appreciate the true riches of God rather than the temporal riches of man’s world.





1.      What does love look like to you?

2.      What have you sacrificed for you children and how has that shape you?

3.      How has that shaped your children?

4.      Are you influencing your children positively?

5.      How can you improve influencing your children?

6.      How can you discipline more and punish less?

7.      How can you improve your family’s appreciation of God’s true riches?