05-13-18 “Mother’s Day”
New Testament: 1 John 5:9-15
Gospel: John 17:6-19
A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:
For cutting the grass: $5.00
For cleaning my room this week: $1.00
For going to the store for you: $.50
Baby-sitting my kid brother while you shopped: $.25
Taking out the garbage: $1.00
For getting a good report card: $5.00
For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00
Total owed: $14.75
Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper and she wrote:
For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge
For all the nights that I’ve sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge
For all the trying times, and all the tears that you’ve caused through the years: No Charge
For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries that come with raising a child: No Charge
For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose:
Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is:
When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, “Mom, I sure do love you.” And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: “PAID IN FULL”.
Believing that we need to get what we think we deserve stems from an immature mind. Getting what we don’t deserve from God takes a humbling faith.Our worth before God never changes. Throughout the span of our life, our worth changes depending on where we are in our journey. As children we are not valued very highly. During our working years we have a contract with our employer we give them 40 hours of our life and we are compensated with finances and benefits. When we retire we expect a return from the government, pension plans or other investments. Sometimes we carry this worthiness paradigm into our faith practice.
We mistrust God because we have been taught unfair labor and investment practices. Before the advent of unions, and laws to protect investments, workers did not always get treated fairly. Workers were not compensated equitably, especially if their job took more than 40 hours or was physically dangerous.
How often do we throw our creator into the same mix. Believing that somehow the unfair way we have been treated is God’s fault?
There are times we need to address concerns of health and safety but always in the light of Jesus words that we never put ourselves above another person. Motherhood requires that the needs of the children and family are always before her own. A mother’s job requires sacrifice.
If it’s possible, let’s think about the worker-employer relationship on a level, fair playing field. An employee asks for a couple of extra days of to take care of some personal issues. The boss says okay, but discusses making up the work or perhaps docking pay. An agreement is reached. No sacrifice has taken place. We are tricked into thinking that either or both sides made a sacrifice or that someone caved in. No, it’s still agreed upon equitable compensation.
What we read in the opening story is not equitable compensation, it is sacrifice. A mother does not get a financial gain for her efforts as Mom. A mother may give 40 hours of her life to the duties of a home, but does she get compensated? Not in the legal labor terminology. Unless the children become rich and repay Mom with a vacation home. The only gains in motherhood are in the intangible gifts. For the mother who believes in Jesus, that is. There are spiritual benefits from being devoted to God and family.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is praying to God about the disciples and other believers. Lets re-read versus 17-19 as if Jesus were specifically praying about motherhood. Let’s see if were can find the spiritual blessings.17 Sanctify mothers by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent mothers into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Sanctification is the process where we work on our faith by trusting in, believing in and following Jesus. Sanctification can be looked at as out pathway to Heaven. We desire to be in Heaven with God, right? So we work in this world as if Heaven was tangible that we could see and feel right now. We don’t wait for that far off day to be sanctified, we start now, living within the blessings of God.
A Godly mother goes through the same trials with her children as the unchurched mother. God does not create perfect children simply because a mother believes. No, they are subject to the same world as every one else. A Godly biological Mother cries out the same as a Step-Mom, Mother-In-Law, Foster Mother, the Mother of adopted children, or a Mother by any other means. If they believe in Jesus, they cry out to Jesus.
It is important for Christian Mom to know they have a God to cry out to. It has been said that being a parent is the toughest job. A person who works in a foundry or factory has a tough job too, but a Mom has a connection to the work that others do not have. A deep love that crosses all the fences that keep us in check. The love between mother and child has no boundaries, it is like the love God has for us, it is eternal. It is a love so profound it forever changes you and it is something you fight for and believe in so deeply that you sacrifice for it without question.
A deep abiding love must be bolstered by the confidence of God that there is more than the life we have in this life. Raising children in this life can be more than painful than imaginable, it can be heart breaking. The deep binding love of a mother is the closet thing we can understand that reveals the love God has for us.You understand the love you have for you’re children, grand children and great and great and so on; imagine now the that same deep abiding love that God has for all children.
What would you do for your children? How far would you go? What would God do for us? In 1st John, the author writes, “14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
We offer up millions of prayers but at the core of them all is this one question, “Do you love me despite who I am?” A Mother’s child looks at his/her Mother and wants to know the same thing. How does a Mother respond?
If we were able, we would do anything for our family. God is able and has already done the hardest thing that love requires, forgives us all and welcomes us home despite all the things we have done. When I say that love hurts, it is not just the bad times when mothers and betrayed, lied to, physically abused, those can hurt. Not just when they worry and lose sleep over our actions. The greatest hurt love provides is to forgive all those actions. This is why a Mother’s job is the toughest, the forgiveness it requires. Sounds like our Savior.
The one who has love great enough to forgive all things never flaunts a list of accomplishments. The mother in our opening story never flaunted her accomplishments. Like God, we are to remember the sacrifice. She let her child know the cost. We know what God has done by reading the Holy Scriptures. We know what God has done by looking back over our lives.
Each time we go to God for help with forgiveness on our tongues, and repentance in our hearts, we receive that which we don’t deserve. That is how exactly how a Mother is asked to live her life, in fact, it is how we have all be commanded to live.
If Mom’s, or any of us, kept a list of accomplishments it is not sacrifice it is done with the expectation of reimbursement.
That’s not what God’s loves teaches.
Go forth to live and love freely as God teaches.
Leader: Go forth in peace. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all
People: And also with you.