May 7, 2018
This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day and families will have the opportunity to honor the more than 85 million mothers in the United States. In speaking about his mother Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother.” George Washington said, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” Thomas Edison said, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true and so sure of me, I felt that I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint. The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me.” As a father, I love my sons, and we have a great father-son relationship, but I could never replace the bond that exists with their mom. It is in the relationship between a child and their mother that the example of sacrifice and selflessness can best be found. In the Bible there is a consistent theme of caring for others. It is best illustrated by Christ Himself who was willing to leave heaven’s majesties and come to earth to redeem mankind, because He cared so much for us.
The Bible teaches us that children bring great blessing to parents. Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Lo, children are a heritage unto the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hands of a mighty man, so are the children of her youth. Happy is the one that has a quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” As Christ followers we also recognize the tremendous responsibility we have been given each day with our children. The Bible clearly places the responsibility of raising children with the parents, and so motherhood represents this great responsibility. Psalm 78:5-7 says, “For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded, that they should make them known to their children, that the generation to come might know them even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children that they might set their hope in God...”
As a parent, each of us realizes that with the blessing of children comes great responsibility to love and care for them throughout their life. One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible about this kind of caring is found in Ruth 1:16-17, “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” Ruth married into a Hebrew family that had moved into her country. After her husband and his father both died, her mother-in-law decided to return to her home town, Bethlehem. Naomi, her mother-in-law tried to discourage her from going with her, but Ruth was committed to caring for her. As parents the most important lesson we can learn from the story of Ruth is that true caring is done without any thought of personal gain or the personal cost to us personally. Naomi’s reasoning with Ruth was that she should stay in her own country and find a new husband to take care of her, because to go back to Judah would be difficult and the chances of her finding a new husband in a foreign land were not as good. Ruth’s determination to go with Naomi was about her desire and commitment to take care of Naomi. It had nothing to do with her meeting her own needs and taking care of herself. This is the lesson I received from my own mother. She consistently demonstrated her commitment to others throughout her lifetime, and never with a concern about her own needs and concerns. It is easy to honor someone with these qualities. I can only hope that I will be just a fraction as much of a caring person as she was, because I know it is a quality that comes from the Lord and models the example of Christ. Philippians 2:3-7, “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. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
The same level of caring is available to each of us as parents. God’s Word promises blessings to us when we forget about ourselves and think of others first. Blessings from God are not always immediate or even tangible, but they are sure. My mom never really had much in worldly possessions, but I don’t believe she would have traded anything in the world has for the heritage of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. In eternity, she is receiving the stamp of approval from God on a life committed to serving others.
I trust that each of us will honor our mothers this Mother’s Day and remember that the example of a godly mother truly represents, in a way that all of us can identify with, the unconditional love that Jesus has for each of us.