How to Have a Happy Mothers’ Day
My mom died a few years ago. I miss her greatly. She often said that her legacy was embodied in her five children. I’m not so sure about that. While she certainly gave, sacrificed, and nurtured her kids to the best of her ability — and we all turned out sort of OK — her life amounted to much more than child-rearing.
Should we value mothers based on the success and achievements of their children, or for something else? I emphatically believe that it’s the something else. It turns out that Jesus did too.
In a Bible scene that crackles with humor, the confident voice of a woman emerges from a crowd in Luke 11 and addresses Jesus with these words, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
It’d be quite a thing if a similarly confident Cubs fan yelled those words to Javi Baez as he walked up to the plate. The language in the original Greek is even a bit more graphic, drawing attention to literal wombs and bosoms. Jesus’s response is classic: “O woman…” I laugh out loud every time I read this. I imagine Jesus lightly chuckling with a roll of his eyes with a gentle shake of the head. Always ready with a winsome reply, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
When thinking about the blessedness of his own mother (AKA, Mary of Nazareth), Jesus denied that his mom was great merely because she has an awesome son like him. Instead, Jesus offered praise for Mary here because she proved herself to be a person who heard the word of God and then did it. In doing so, Jesus shows us how to have a great Mother’s Day.
What is greater praise for a mom on Mother’s day: the achievements, successes, and fame of their children — or — the virtues, strengths, and graces of her own life lived out in costly obedience to Christ? It’s the latter every time. For everybody. Mother or not.
My mom’s #1 life value was summed up in this statement: People first. I think this was her shorthand for “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This became one of the main “words” that God spoke into her life, and she lived it out. For that, I rise up and call her blessed.
I remember the joy my mother took in welcoming the infant girl of a refugee family from Vietnam. I was only four or five at the time and loved having a baby sister. This little girl stayed with us for several months as the members of her family reunited, recovered, and established themselves in the United States. Even though my mom was more than a little spent from raising her own five kids, she was first in line when our church put out the call to help this new family in our community.
She did similar things time and time again to help a long line of struggling single parents and challenging kids. I honor my mom because she lived out God’s word to her — People First — at great personal cost and inconvenience.
No doubt there is a good woman (a mom, aunt, grandma, neighbor, teacher) whose strength, virtues, and graces gave life to you. Perhaps this Sunday, you can find a way to name and call out those qualities for what they are — the beautiful acts of costly obedience in response to God’s leading in their lives. I promise that you will have a most happy Sunday if you do.
Grace and Peace,