I was that single mother you are familiar with. The one who sits in the back of the church with her children and tries to sneak out quietly. If you, as a ministry leader, caught me and asked how I was doing, I would have likely told you I was “fine.”
But I wasn’t fine. I was exhausted. Spiritually famished. Vulnerable, hurt and afraid. Alone. Thankfully, a women’s leader drew me back within the folds of a loving church.
When ministering to single mothers, it is crucial to consider her as among “the least of these,” as defined by Jesus in Matthew 25:35-40. This is not to say a single mother should be treated as inferior. Rather, the example shown by Jesus in the book of Matthew shows how we should tend those who are most in need.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…”
Whether she realizes it yet, the single mother hungers for the truth found in the Word of God. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” (Jeremiah 15:16) Teach her the Word of God, that she might find both comfort and a powerful weapon with which to fight the enemy of her soul.
“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…”
Like the woman at the well in John 4, single mothers thirst for the Living Water found in Jesus. “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Teach single mothers about the love and salvation of Jesus. Teach her about His character and love toward hurting women (John 4, Luke 7:36-50, John 8:1-11).
“I was a stranger and you invited me in…”
Single mothers feel excluded and alone, especially in church. “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) God created us to be relational beings. Even God Himself is inextricably connected with His Son and Spirit. Bring the single mother and her children within the family of God.
“I needed clothes and you clothed me…”
The single mother and her children have tangible needs. Care for them with actions, as well as words. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:17)
“I was sick and you looked after me…”
Many single mothers enter the church as the walking wounded. Be the hands and feet of Jesus to her. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
“I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
The single mother often feels imprisoned by pain, poverty, and loneliness. Meet her in her place of bondage. Don’t wait for her to break the chains herself. “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3)
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
As you minister to the single mothers in your church and community, the “least of these,” rest assured, God receives it as an act of love unto Himself.
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