Today is a day to honor our mothers. It used to be taken for granted that being a mother was in and of itself a worthwhile use of one’s time and a valuable contribution to society. That belief is no longer held by many people. Many women now work outside the home, and there is nothing wrong with that. Not only is there nothing wrong with it, it is more often than not a necessity. However, what is wrong is the belief, very prevalent today, that the work outside the home is what is most important, and the work within the home is what you do with the time you have left. Therefore, the importance of motherhood has been, for many, de-emphasized to the point that stay-at-home moms have been made to feel second class, not up to par with a woman who can make it in the outside world. I think the pendulum in our culture is swinging back toward a proper appreciation of motherhood, but still many look down on it as a secondary vocation, similar to how Stanislaw considered his work, when he said, “This is all I can do for now” (Emailmeditation #25). Far too often housewives and mothers speak apologetically about their roles, saying, “Oh I am just a housewife and mother,” as if to say, “I know it is not much, but that is all I can do for now– the kids are still little.” Sometimes the attitude has been given that “well anybody can be a mother– but your really important work is at the office.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether one works only at home, or works outside the home and at home, the importance of the role of motherhood must be remembered and appreciated.
Tony Campolo is a world famous Christian, known for many things. He is a college professor, international speaker, consultant to CEO’s of large corporations, spiritual advisor to former President Clinton and other important politicians, author of 30-some books, and a few more things. He has accomplished much, and has been able to do all that because his wife did not work outside the home. She stayed in the home to raise their two children while Tony was often busy with other things. She was happy with her decision, but that did not prevent some people from looking down on her.
On rare occasions she would go along with Tony to one of his formal dinners with all kinds of high-powered people. At those dinners, she often felt looked down upon. “And what do you do, Mrs. Campolo?,” she would be asked. “Oh,” she would say meekly, “I’m just a housewife and mother.” ‘Ohhhhh….,’ the others would say with a clear feeling of superiority and sympathy.
After a while she got tired of those kinds of conversations, and she thought of a different response. So then, when asked what she did, she would say, “I am on duty 168 hours a week in the primary care and socialization of two unique individuals, entrusted into my personal care by the Almighty Lord God of the universe; to provide for their physical needs, teach them the language and customs of the dominant culture, along with giving them an appreciation of the values and individuals from other cultures; not to mention my primary responsibility which is to nurture them in the Christian faith so that they may have a promise and security that will last for all eternity; and finally, see to their education and physical training, all in order that they may obediently serve their God by serving their fellow human beings with productive and not selfish lives, therefore, being builders of a better society and not having a negative impact on that society.” Mrs. Campolo would then ask, “And what do you do?”
“Oh,” the other woman would say meekly, “I’m just the Governor of Maryland,” or something like that. I think sometimes Tony Campolo exaggerates his stories a bit, but you get the point.
Martin Luther was an important man, like Tony Campolo. In fact, he was named by Time magazine as the third most person of the second millennium. He was in the forefront of all the religious, political, and social movements of his day. He was called by God to be a pastor and professor, and along the way, he became a reformer of the whole church on earth, challenging both kings and popes. And yet, Luther never tired of saying that his highest, most important calling by God was his calling to be a husband and father. Martin Luther was not a stay at home dad. His many duties required him to be gone a great deal. But he knew what was most important and kept the proper perspective on, and appreciation for his role as a father, and his wife’s role as mother. Not everyone can stay at home like Mrs. Campolo and Mrs. Luther, but nobody should ever think that the time spent making a home is less important than the time spent rising through the ranks at the office.
Many of the things we think about on Mother’s Day are, on another level, the very same things we think about when we consider our faith. After all, the Bible does, at times, compare the love of God to the love of a mother. And so on this day we are reminded of things like unconditional love, self-sacrifice and service, commitment, remembrance, and gratitude. And just as a mother’s love and care is there for us long before we can ask for or acknowledge it, so too God is there, giving us life and grace and countless blessings long before we can ask Him for anything or even name His name. Thanks be to God for his love; and on this day, we give thanks to God for our mothers, and we express our appreciation to them for all they have done for us.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!
Deuteronomy 5:16 — Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Isaiah 66:13a — (The Lord says), “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”
II Timothy 1:5 — I am 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.
On this Mother‘s Day, O Lord, we give you thanks for those who have given us life. Though we call you ‘Father,’ let us not forget how often mothers embody your steadfast and relentless love. We praise you, O God, for your gift of our mother’s and their love, both gentle and fierce, both strong and humble, both kind and true. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.