Extolling Mothers

In a sense, Mothers Day, like other internationally-designated days, while sincere in the recognition it bestows on Mothers, is a misnomer of sorts. Since being a mother is a life-time calling. The marking of a birthday, for example, does not mean that the person does not have to live for the rest of his or her life or that he or she will not need to be valued each and every day. Similarly, worshipping God on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays does not mean that we only worship God once a week but every moment of everyday.

There is, in fact, a kind of diminishing return effect about celebrating special days on an annual basis. The bigger and greater the celebration, the gifts and the guest list, the flatter the rest of the year may be for the celebrants, both the star and the well-wishers.

This being the case, observance of such special days in our annual calendar would be enhanced if we learn to respect, appreciate and be more attentive and caring of our loved ones on an everyday basis. Of course not by trying to increase or sustain the celebrative mood but by simple ordinary old-fashioned love in action. As in “Don’t talk of stars burning above, If you’re in love, Show me!” Which admittedly is far more difficult than giving our loved ones the once a year card, dinner and presents.

When it comes to mothers, the scope in terms of value and recognition is wider, higher and greater. Not surprisingly, therefore, the bible is not silent about mothers and their place in the family and society.

Here is a biblical sampling of a mother’s worth.

Proverbs 1.8 Listen, my son, to your father’ s instruction and do not forsake your mother’ s teaching.

The mother’s role as teacher of life (in religious values, good attitude and manners, hygiene and diet as well as school lessons like vocabulary, spelling, pronounciation, arithmetic) is a formidable one. The Apostle Paul extolled the contribution to Timothy’s spiritual development by his grandmother and mother: 2 Timothy 1.5 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.

How then do we reward our teacher-mother?

By being obedient (as befits respect and honour). Jesus respected his parents in this way: Luke 2. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. Among other things, Mary his mother treasured this respect in her heart and also pondered with awe and joy the respect paid to her child.

By being wise. Proverbs 10.1 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.

What will mothers be looking forward to in regard to her sacrifice of time and energy over the years spent in trying to teach her children? Wise children. Not just in terms of superlative results in school but, as they grow and develop, they demonstrate wisdom and maturity in handling their relationships , resources and life. The foolish ways of grownup children will ever be the bane of their parents. Proverbs 15.20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. How do we despise our parents? By being foolish as evidenced by mismanagement of responsibility, work and business, children, staff and resources.

Respect for parents is a clear and serious biblical requirement. In fact, the bible puts this very strongly: Proverbs 30.11 “There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers; 30.17 “The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures. Jesus himself reiterated these requirements when he quoted the prophets and faulted the religious establishment of his day for twisting them to their own gain: Matthew 15.4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God..’

Respect and honour have practical ramifications. Caring for parents go beyond the handbag, pair of shoes, dress, book or watch we may be planning to present our mothers. Be sure to buy and gift wrap these for her this Mother’s Day but caring needs to be long-term which in turn needs to be carefully and intentionally planned. Old age is a vulnerable time for our parents. Caring for them at old age requires special sensitivity and touch. Assurance about material provisions provides confidence to parents about their old-age viability, calms them and helps them fight repression and despair, extending their years of useful occupation. Our ailing parents afflicted by old-age illnesses will need more carefully-planned care. Proverbs 23.22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Jesus has left us an example when nearing death on the cross, he made clear that his mother would receive the care he knew she would need: John 19. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

True religious faith effects appropriate action and right response. 1 Timothy 5.8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

In giving mothers a special treat this Mothers Day, we salute mothers-in-law, mothers, grandmothers (indeed all women) for their special place in the family and society and extol their sacrifices and their superlative contributions to our lives!

Proverbs 23.25 May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!

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