Three Reminders For Mother's Day
THREE REMINDERS FOR MOTHER'S DAY
Mother's Day is the third most celebrated holiday in the whole world. Did you know that? First is Christmas. Second is Easter. Third is Mother's Day. That makes sense. You've got the birth of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and mom right up there together. Just as it should be.
The injustice is that we only celebrate Mother's Day once a year. Maybe it should be once a month, because, moms, you really are very special. You have a way of saying things so profound and thought-provoking that we will remember them for the rest of our lives. Such as, "Because I said so, that's why." Or, "Shut your mouth and eat your food." Or, my favorite, "Would you just look at that dirt on the back of your neck?"
This is nothing new. I have a feeling that moms throughout history have said some memorable things. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Mona Lisa's mother said, "After all that money your father and I spent on braces, that's the biggest smile you can give us?"
Or if Mrs. Columbus' mother said, "I don't care what you and your friends discovered, Christopher. You still could have written!"
Or if Mrs. Dumpty would have said, "Far be it from me to say I told you so, but didn't I tell you a thousand times, 'Don't play on the wall Humpty!' And now look at you."
Or if Mrs. Locks said, "Goldie. That was Mrs. Bear on the phone. She wanted me to explain to her why my daughter ate all the porridge, and broke the baby's chair. What do you have to say for yourself, young lady?"
And I can imagine that Jonah's mother might have said, "OK, that's a cute story. Now tell me where you've really been for the last three days."
I think that mothers have been saying these same things for centuries, because even in changing times, mothers haven't changed at all.
On the other hand, mothers do go through a sort of evolutionary process as their brood gets bigger. With each new deduction that joins the family, the rules and standards and expectations change a little bit. I was the third born and I really noticed the difference. There are about 500 baby pictures of my older sister. There are about 200 baby pictures of my middle sisters. When I came along, my parents said, "You know, he starts school in a few years. Let's just wait and see how his class picture turns out before we buy any more film."
That's kind of the way it is.
With the first baby you begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy. With the second baby you wear your regular clothes as long as possible. With the third baby, your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
With the first baby you practice Lamaze breathing everyday. With the second baby, you don't practice as much because you remember that it didn't really help last time. With the third baby, you ask for an epidural in your eight month.
With the first baby, at the first sign of distress, the slightest whimper, you rush in and pick up the baby. You pick up the second baby if you think they're crying is loud enough to wake up your first born. With the third baby, you just teach the older one how to rewind the mechanical swing.
With the first baby, you spend a good bit of every day just gazing at that little miracle. With the second baby you spend time watching everyday to make sure the older child isn't poking or squeezing it. By the time the third one comes along, you spend a little bit of time every day hiding from the children.
Mothers, today is your special day. We celebrate you and we honor you. Today's message is especially for mothers, but not exclusively for mothers. Moms, today I want to talk to you about some ideas that apply to you in your role as a mother. If you're not a mom, they apply to you too.
You know, moms, it's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with all your responsibilities. It's easy to feel under-appreciated at times, and inadequate at others. Every body feels this way some of the time. Moms especially. Your job is to take care of people who don't always want to be taken care of, and who don't always respond to your efforts the way they should.
Today I want to give you three reminders about who you are and who God called you to be. These reminders apply to everyone, but especially to moms.
The first reminder I want to bring you before you today is...
1. You are essential.
What's a mom worth? You can't put it into dollars and cents. But if you could, this is how it would come out.
In 2011 Salary.com valuated the 'mom' job of both working and stay-at-home moms, adding up the hours moms spend being a housekeeper, a day-care provider, cook, facilities manager, van driver, launderer, janitor, and CEO. According to salary.com, the stay-at-home mom should earn $115,432 in fair compensation. The working mom should earn $63,472 above the salary she earns in the workplace.
Amazing, isn't it? If moms ever formed a union, the rest of us would be in serious trouble.
It would be nice if moms could be paid what they're worth, because we live in a society that tends to equate value with what one earns rather than what one does. Our perspective is distorted. In our culture people earn huge amounts of money for being able to throw a ball or for singing with style or even for simply being physically attractive. The craziness of our culture is that people who do the best things, the most significant things, are often paid the least -- or, in your case, not at all.
Corporately we celebrate your contributions once a year, but I want you to remember every day of your life that what you do every day of your life matters. You are important. Maybe sometimes the people around you don't show it, sometimes it may seem like they don't even know it. But you know it. And your father in heaven knows it. You are important. More than important. You are essential. The people in your life need you more than they are often able to realize. Without you, they just might fall apart. No kidding.
The book of Proverbs says...
A child left to himself disgraces his mother. ()
Without your correction, your discipline, your guidance, your training, your comfort, and your nurturing presence, your kids don't stand a chance. You are that important.
For the non-moms here today, think about the role you play in the lives of others, because this principle applies to you, too. Other people need you in a way that they may not realize. The points of receiving recognition may be few and far between, but don't let that prevent you from recognizing within yourself the value of your contribution.
Also, moms and non-moms, think about how this applies to your own mother. If you were to put a dollar amount on the investment that she made in your life, what do you think that number would be, and how many lifetimes do you think it would take you to pay it back? Here's my Mother's Day challenge for you. Do something soon, very soon, to show her that you know now how important she has been in your life. If she's no longer living, then do something very soon in her honor to demonstrate a heart full of gratitude to God for the role she played in your life.
Moms, the second reminder I want to bring you before you today is ...
2. You are influential.
The very first miracle that Jesus performed was a wedding in Cana. The couple had run out of wine during the wedding feast, which was a socially humiliating situation. Mary went to Jesus and said, "They have run out of wine." Jesus said, "Why do want to involve me in this? My time hasn't come." Mary said nothing more to Jesus, she just turned to the waiter and said, "Do whatever he tells you to do." Jesus told him to fill some jars with water which he then turned into wine. The Bible then says,
He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. ()
It was Mary whom God used to tell Jesus that his time had come. That's how much influence she had with her son.
Napolean Bonaparte once said, "Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons." I don't know whether or not Napolean would be considered a good son, but he makes a good point. A mother's influence shapes future lives.
The book of Proverbs says...
The wise woman builds her house; but with her own hand the foolish one tears her down. ()
This combined promise and warning serves to remind mothers of the extent of their influence. It reminds me of what a friend of mine, who is the mother of small children, said to me once, "I'm aware that there are many people who attribute their success to their mother, but neither can I ignore the fact that the word 'MOTHER' is the tattoo of choice for convicted felons."
You may not think they're listening, but they are -- whether you're aware of it or not. In fact, you can be sure that they're listening whether they're aware of it or not. I heard a mother say one time how amazing it is that the very advice her son used to reject, she now hears him giving to her grandchildren.
Sometimes it may seem like they'll never follow your advice or value your opinion, but they will. That's why it's so important to take your power of influence seriously.
A pastor friend of mine who grew up in a Christian home told me that he heard his mother say, on more than one occasion, that the only people who go in the ministry are people who couldn't be successful in a 'real' job. This woman was a Christian and a faithful leader at her church. I'm sure she didn't really believe that about ministers, she would just say it whenever she would get frustrated at her pastor, which happened a lot, because, you know, they were Methodists. But my friend said when he was called into the ministry this was a real obstacle for him. He believed God was calling him to a life of service, but there was a side of him that wondered, "Is this God's choice for me because I'm too incompetent to do anything else?" The fact is that his parents were thrilled when he decided to go into the ministry. His mother had no idea about the impression he had picked up over the years, as a result of some of the comments she had made.
Did you know, moms, that your kids will probably share your opinion of their father, whether you're still married or not? Also, to a great extent extent, your children will share your opinion of their brothers and sisters. You should take that power of influence very seriously. Make sure that you use it to build relationships, never to tear down relationships.
For those of you who aren't moms, this is true for you also. You can influence people's opinions as well as their actions. You need to ask yourself, "Do the things I say bring out the best in people? Am I good influence on those around me?"
Also, think about how this applies to your mother. How did your mom influence you? What good things in your life today do you owe to your mother's influence? If you have a chance, tell her and thank her. More importantly, this week make it a point to put that influence into practice in your life.
The third reminder I want to bring before you today is...
3. You are enough.
The storybook family scenario is one mother and one father married only to each other with children only from that marriage all living together forever and ever in peace and harmony. That's the storybook version. However, only one in six people in America live in a family like that. The rest live in single parent households or alone or in blended families.
Even when you look at the families that conform to the traditional structure, many times the father is not adequately involved in his kids lives, he's working all the time, he's not providing proper leadership in the household, he's not a believer, and so on. Many times, mom, it falls on you to be the glue that holds the family together. Many times, mom, you may be the only one seriously involved with shaping the future of your children.
It may seem like an impossible task, but I want you to know that you are enough. I'm not saying that Dad isn't important. Of course he is. I am saying that if you find yourself doing this job alone, you are enough.
One of the most significant leaders in the early church was a young man named Timothy. He was Paul's protege, trained to be a pastor in Ephesus where, according to the historical legend, he served for thirty before he was finally martyred for his faith.
When Timothy was still new in the ministry, Paul wrote him saying,
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. ()
What about the father? No mention of him. We only know that he was a Greek, and he probably wasn't a believer. But that wasn't an insurmountable obstacle for their family. Timothy's mom was enough to keep Timothy on the right track.
Susanna Wesley was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist church. Her husband, Samuel, was a minister, but, frankly speaking, he wasn't much of a man. He couldn't get along with people and spent his life serving congregations that didn't pay him well. On top of that, he was terrible with money. He ended up in debtor's prison twice, leaving Susanna to fend for herself.
And he was a hothead. Once, Susanna and Samuel were praying together, he didn't like the way she said "Amen." It led to an argument, and eventually led to a marital separation.
Samuel was gone all the time because of travel, or debtor's prison, or marital problems. Therefore, Susanna took it on herself to teach the children not only the Bible, but everything about living a successful and good life. In her biography it is written:
"…although she never preached a sermon or published a book or founded a church, she is known as the Mother of Methodism. Why? Because two of her sons, John Wesley and Charles Wesley, as children consciously or unconsciously will, applied the example and teachings and circumstances of their home life."
Do you know what I've noticed? This is not based on scientific research, it's purely anecdotal. But I've noticed something among several young people and young adults that I know well, those who come from broken homes. Some of them have floundered and wandered from the faith; some of them have remained faithful and become leaders at church. Do you know what the common denominator is? Those who have remained strong in their faith all have faithful mothers, who have also remained strong in their walk with Christ. Those who have floundered come from homes where the mom is not involved in church or in the Christian life. Some of those kids who are struggling have fathers who are involved in church, but their mothers are missing. Now, I will say again that this was not a scientific sociological study. It's just an interesting commonality that I noticed among a few families that I know well. But maybe there's something to it, because children listen to their mothers like they listen to no one else.
Moms, you may feel like you have the biggest, most impossible job in the world. You do, actually. But you're up to the task. You are enough. Even if you're doing this without any help whatsoever, you are enough.
For those of you who aren't moms, it's the same for you. The challenges before you may seem to big for one person to face all alone, but you are enough. Why? Because you are not alone. Listen to what God has promised you ...
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God. ()
Sometimes the job of being a mother, or just the job of being a believer, seems too big for one person to handle. But you are not alone, and because of that, you are enough to do what God has called you to do.
There's an old proverb that says, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy." Moms, you have a voice in the lives of your children that no one else will ever have. Use that voice wisely.
The wise woman builds her house; but with her own hand the foolish one tears her down. ()
You have a chance to build not just a house, but a future for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They need you. You are essential. You are influential. You are enough to make a big the difference for generations to come.