Jesus spoke 7 times while he was on the cross. His first statement was a prayer to God. His second was a promise to a dying thief. His third statement was to His mother and to his disciple John. He said to his mother, referring to John, “Behold your son.” To John he said, referring to his mother, “Behold your mother.” From that time forward, Mary looked to John as her son, and John looked to Mary as his mother. In the midst of all He was accomplishing by dying on the cross, Jesus took the time and effort to take care of his mother. In the darkest, most eventful time of His life on earth, Jesus made sure to do the right thing by his mother. It was a high priority for Him, it is a high priority for us. Paul also tells us in Ephesians 6:1-2, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “ We want to do right by our mothers on this special day, so we may have been wracking our brains trying to decide what gift to give them or what special thing to do. Material things have their place, but relational, special things are of even greater value. We want to be sure to give them both. This morning there are some grade “A” gifts we can be giving our mothers to show our love for them.
First, we show love to our mothers through affirmation. In other words, tell her you love her. Don’t just assume she knows – tell her. Tell her again and again. Don’t be like the man who said to his wife, “I told you I loved you on our wedding day, and if I change my mind I’ll let you know!” For some reason males are often more reluctant to put their feelings into words than females. Perhaps we think it is not masculine to talk about loving someone and caring for someone. We may believe we need to be strong and tough. When it comes to the women closest to us, our wives, our mothers, our girlfriends, we need to express how we feel verbally, and we need to do it often. They need to hear it, and we need to say it. After taking the time to tell her you love her, tell her that you appreciate her new hairstyle, her new outfit, or jewelry. If you don’t tell her, she may think you don’t notice. If you haven’t been paying attention, pay attention, and then affirm her on those things. We show love to our mothers through affirmation.
Then, we show love to our mothers through affection. When is the last time you gave your Mom a hug or a kiss without her asking for it? When is the last time you gave her a neck rub or just sat on the couch right beside her? She was the first one to touch you. She wrapped you in her belly for nine months before you were born. Her first priority was to hold you, to cuddle you, to stroke your head, to tickle your feet, to give you a finger to grasp with your small hand. She changed your diapers, potty trained you, and held Kleenex for you to blow your nose. She wiped food off your face more times than you care to admit. Now she is older, and she could use your touch of affection. Just a tight, long hug and a kiss on the cheek or forehead means more than flowers, candy, dinner out, or a diamond necklace or even a cruise. Well, actually, flowers, candy dinner out, diamonds and/or a cruise WITH the huge and kiss would be ideal. The point is that your Mom needs your affection, and it is one of the best ways to show your love to her. “Well, pastor, I’ve never been a very touchy-feely person. Our family isn’t that way either.” If that’s the case, then she needs it even more! Everyone needs physical contact to express care and love — none of us are exempt from it. Several years ago a study was done in a hospital nursery. There were two groups of infants. One group was kept in a very safe, germ-free environment. They were fed well, they had all the medical care necessary, they were kept warm with blankets and changed regularly. The second group had similar care, except that they were held constantly. Their hair was stroked, their foreheads were kissed, their little hands were touched. The first group received no physical affection. At the end of the trial period, the second group was doing far better than the first, even though medically there was no difference in their treatment. The difference was made in the presence of physical touch and affection. Infants need it, children need it, mothers need it. We show love to our mothers through affection.
Then, we show love to our mothers through acknowledgement. Mothers have an extremely demanding job with absolutely no compensation for it. Nothing in the business world compares to the physical, emotional and spiritual demands that exist in motherhood. An old poem from years ago illustrates it well.
She rises at the break of day and through her tasks she races
She cooks the meals as best she may and scrubs the children’s faces
While schoolbooks, lunches, homework too, all need consideration
And yet the census man insists, “she has no occupation.”
When breakfast dishes all are done, she bakes a dessert maybe
She cleans the rooms up, one by one, with one eye watching baby
The laundry pile she then attacks, by way of variation
And yet the census man insists, “she has no occupation.”
She irons for a little while, then presses pants for daddy
She welcomes with a cheery smile returning lass and laddie
A hearty dinner next she cooks, no time for relaxation
And yet the census man insists, “She has no occupation.”
Mothers work hard – show them love by acknowledging all they do. When you want to know if a mother has a paid vocation, never ask the question, “Do you work or do you just stay at home?” Instead ask, “Do you work outside the home also?” Many of today’s Moms do both. One of the most dangerous things we can do it is to take Mom for granted. Let’s acknowledge all she does. It’s also very important on this day to acknowledge all our grandmothers and great-grandmothers have done for us and for our parents. If we still have them with us, acknowledge the great work she has done. On his radio program, James Dobson read a letter from an 80 year old woman on her birthday. Here’s the gist of it:
To all my grandchildren: I suppose my upcoming birthday started my thoughts along these lines. This is a good time to tell you what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I want the intangibles. I would like for you to come and sit with me, and for you to be relaxed. We can talk, or we can be silent. I would just like for us to be together. I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, with my slowness and my set ways. I want you to be tolerant with what the years have done to me physically. Please be understanding of my personal care habits. I spill things, I lose things, I get unduly excited when I try to figure out my bank statements. I can’t remember what time to take my medication, or if I took it already. I take too many naps, but sleep helps to pass the day. Well, there you have it: time, patience and understanding. Those are the priceless gifts I want. Finally, in his letter, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” It’s a wonderful feeling to know His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he cares for me. I guess being old is not so bad after all!” Love, Grandma.
On this Mother’s Day, show love to your mother, and your grandmother and great grandmother, through acknowledgement.
Then, we show love to our mothers through attention. Mothers are great listeners. Even when we are adults, they are there as our sounding board. Thing is, they love being our sounding board! They are usually always on our side. I’ve seen news coverage for several people convicted of murder and terrorism. In just about every case, though everyone else is convinced the person is guilty, the mother is still insisting her son or daughter is innocent. In the latest situation with the Boston bomber, the same is true. The mother insists her two sons are innocent. The point is that it is within a mother’s nature to always give their children the benefit of the doubt. When no one else believes in us, our mother is still there as our biggest fan. So its important now that we become their biggest fan. We may say, “But she asks the same questions over and over. She is always talking about some problem she has.” Think a minute – were you ever that way? Show love to her by paying attention to her. God shows His love to us by paying attention to us, even with all our faults. Surely we can do the same with our mothers, who have shown a godly attention to us over the years.
Then, we show our mothers love through appreciation. An elementary science class had been studying magnets, and how metal objects are attracted to them. At the end of the semester, the teacher put this question on the exam: “Six letters, starts with “M”, picks things up, what am I?” Over half the children wrote “mother.” Our Moms need our gratitude not just on this day, but on every day. You won’t always have your Mom, so give her appreciation while you have her. There’s nothing too good for her, you can’t repay her, but we ought to die trying before she does. Moms won’t spend anything on themselves until the needs of her children are met. She won’t devote her time to what she wants until she has taken care of you. Let’s return the appreciation. Here’s a math question – state your answer as a fraction. If there are ten family members, including Mom, sitting around the table, and there is one apple pie, how much pie will be on each plate? The answer is 1/9. Pastor, you don’t know your fractions – there are ten people, and one pie. The answer is 1/10. No the answer is 1/9, because Mom won’t take a piece so that everyone else’s piece can be bigger. On this Mother’s Day, we show our mothers love through appreciation.
Affirmation, affection, acknowledge, attention and appreciation – they are all important. For a Christian mother however, the single most greatest gift you can give is a gift not to her, but to God. When you give your life to Christ, when you choose to follow Him, there is nothing that will thrill the heart more of a godly mother. Cards won’t match it, dinners won’t match it, jewelry won’t match it. When you give your life to Christ, when you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and give you new life, there is no greater joy you can give her. So on this Mother’s Day, when many of you may have come to church not so much to worship God but to honor your Mom, give your life to Christ. If you won’t do it for your own sake, do it for that special mother in your life. She may be your own mother, she may be your wife, she may be your grandmother. She has been praying for you, she has been asking God to draw you to Himself – step across that line of faith today and give Your life to Christ. You may have strayed from God, and nothing would make that mother happier than for you to rededicate your life. You may have been putting off joining this church – that special mother however, would love nothing more than for you to commit. Will you honor that mother today, not just with the grade a gifts mentioned, but with the highest grade gift of all? Will you follow Jesus, will you be obedient to Him in response to Him touching Your heart? Regardless of your age, the godly mother in your life will be thrilled as you follow Jesus.