If there's one attitude families are guilty of more than any other when it comes to mothers, it's presumption...taking them for granted...being nearly blind on occasion to the load moms carry. This was reinforced in my mind last week as I was thumbing through a row of crazy greeting cards at a local drugstore. Time and again the joke in the card drew its humor from this obvious attitude that pervades a household: Forget the housework, Mom. It's your day. Besides, you can always do double duty and catch up on Monday!
Like this one: On the front of the card was a beleaguered mother. Draped over her neck were three unmatched socks and at her feet was an enormous stack of unwashed clothes. On the stove was a hot skillet burning the food. A cold, stained coffee pot needed attention. The refrigerator door was ajar and milk had spilled in it. The dishes, naturally, looked like a homemade Eiffel Tower reaching out of the sink. Inside the card was scribbled: "Look, lady, nobody said it was gonna be a free ride!"
But my favorite was a great big card that looked like a third-grader had printed it. On it was a little boy with a dirty face and torn pants pulling a wagon-load of toys. On the front it read: "Mom, I remember the little prayer you used to say for me every day..." and inside, "God help you if you do that again!"
Jimmy Dean, the country-western singer, does a number that always leaves me with a big knot in my throat. It's titled "I Owe You." In the song, a man is looking through his wallet and comes across a number of long-standing "I owe yous" to his mother...which he names one by one.
Borrowing that idea, I suggest you who have been guilty of presumption unfold some of your own "I owe yous" that are now yellow with age. Consider the priceless value of the one woman who made your life possible — your mother.
Think about her example, her support, her humor, her counsel, her humility, her hospitality, her insight, her patience, her sacrifices. Her faith. Her hope. Her love.
Old "honest Abe" was correct: "He is not poor who has had a godly mother." Indebted, but not poor.
Moms, on Mother's Day Sunday we rise up and call you blessed. But knowing you, you'll feel uneasy in the limelight. You'll probably look for a place to hide. True servants are like that.
If you don't watch it, you'll be planning lunch during the sermon. But that would be a waste of time. Especially since you're going to be taken out to eat (which will add to our indebtedness!). But in all honesty, it won't come anywhere near expressing our gratitude.
So, live it up on Sunday. It's all yours.
My advice? Shake up the family for a change. Order steak and lobster.
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, "Mother's Day," in The Finishing Touch: Becoming God's Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 232-33. Copyright © 1994 Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.