The celebration of Mother’s Day in our country is well-established, although it has been commercialized to such a de-gree that its founder, Anna Jarvis, was sorry she had succeeded in creating it. The day itself is a worthwhile attempt to remind us of our blessed duty to “honor our mothers” (see Dt. 5:16 and Eph. 6:1-3). How do you celebrate your mother on that second Sunday in May? Flowers and a card? Taking her out to dinner so she doesn’t have to cook or clean the dishes? Those are all very good things and the other popular choice is to go to church with your mother (It is reported that Mother’s Day is the third best at-tended holiday after Christmas and Easter!).
But an important follow-up ques-tion is in order: How do you honor your mother the rest of the time? Surely God wants us to love and respect our parents all the time, not just on one special day. But there’s more! Proverbs 23:25, in the context of talking about a child living with wisdom and righteousness concludes that it is then that “she who gave you birth [will] be joyful!” Certainly, for those mothers who have put their trust in Christ, the greatest prayer is that their children will also know and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior! Like Saint Augustine’s mother, Monica, many tears will be shed and prayers offered up for the child’s salvation. So the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day is surely to be (or become) a committed disciple of Je-sus Christ and pursue holiness every day of your life.
And that goal – of daily living in faithful love and obedience to God – points the way forward for all of us no matter what. Many celebrate Mother’s Day gladly, having been blessed by godly mothers. Others struggle to cele-brate for many reasons: perhaps there were few, if any, blessings to be had from their mother; perhaps there was no mother around at all to be a blessing; perhaps there are no children (at all, or left) to rise up and call her blessed. All of these, and others besides, are a real-ity for us as we live in a fallen world full of sin and misery. But the Gospel brings hope and grace to every situation and relationship as we understand and live out of the love of God in Christ, which is why it is important to me that we remem-ber (and honor) not only our biological mother, but also think about those women who have been like a mother to us in the faith. I dare say each one of us without exception has been influenced by a godly woman who has, through her prayers, instruction, and example nur-tured our souls. How many countless hours have women spent teaching Sun-day School or Children’s Church or Vaca-tion Bible School? How many children have received the blessing of a hug, a pat on the head, a smile, or an encour-aging word just when they needed it? And have you, as a woman of God, had the inestimable treasure of leading an-other to the Savior, of hearing a precious soul trust in Jesus and repent of their sins?! What joy to see new life!
So sometime this month say a prayer of thanks for that special lady who was like a mother to you in the faith and send her a personal letter of ap-preciation for her faithful service to her Lord. Be a blessing to those who have blessed you!
And this brings us directly to our missionaries, who are out in the field praying and laboring to see people born again. Our prayers are such an impor-tant, even a necessary part of our partnership with them. Pray that God would grant them MANY chil-dren in the faith, and that they would rejoice that out of painful labor comes, by God’s grace, the joy of a new life. And we share in that joy, too! Perhaps we could each pick up an extra “Mother’s Day” card this year and encourage and celebrate those mothers in the faith who are part of our church body, but not among us. You will find their addresses in the back of the church directory.
Rev. Michael Milton has a wonderful conclu-sion to his inspiring story, “Ain’t Got No Kids? Balo-ney!” It is the perfect thought to leave with you:
Today, I want to honor mothers. Every woman is a gift of the Lord to others. You are the woman God has put here to show his nurturing love, reveal his caring heart, and show his tender mercies to his children who are in desperate need of experiencing it. Some of you have ex-tended your mothering skills outside of your own family. Some of you are moth-ering little children who need a woman’s tender touch. Some of you are being the woman that a little girl needs to look up to. Some of you are being mothers to ageing gentlemen who are dying for the soft voice of a woman, like the voice of a wife now deceased, or the distant voice of grandmothers who reared them. You are God’s woman for God’s people. And if you are such a woman, you are a mother.
With thanks to God for my mother,