What should a mother expect on Mother’s Day? Should mothers expect anything? Is it biblical? These are questions we should ask ourselves as we prepare for Mother’s Day.
The First Mother’s Day
Anna Marie Jarvis is the founder of Mother’s Day. Her first celebration of Mother’s Day was on May 10, 1908, when she held a memorial service to honour her mother, Ann Jarvis, who had wished for a memorial Mother’s Day. Anna remembered her mother saying, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.” — Ann Reeves Jarvis.¹ Sadly, it is evident that Ann Reeves, statement came from a selfish, entitled mindset. Although it is true, that a mother’s role is to serve her family, to work hard to provide for and nurture her children, it is not her role to seek affirmation.
As a young mom, I remember feeling quite vulnerable as Mother’s Day was approaching. Thoughts of doubt would fill my mind. Questions of worth would follow. Would my husband, the father of my children, tell me what a wonderful, hardworking, sacrificial, loving and godly mother I was? Would the cards my children made include sincere words of admiration? As I look back I see how selfish and off-focus these types of thoughts are. The Bible tells us to do everything to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31) and to do nothing out of selfish ambition (Phil 2:3). The reality is, we all struggle with selfish ambition. Our hearts are sinfully inclined to long for affirmation rather than live to glorify God and to love others. We are full of pride. Sadly, we often feel entitled to honour, rather than having the mind of Christ who emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:7a). So, this Mother’s Day how can we bear the image of Christ as humble servants?
Ask God for Wisdom
The answer is to seek the wisdom that comes from above. We can’t gain it on our own, but our heavenly Father is generous and eager to give wisdom to those who ask in faith. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously without reproach, and it will be given him (Jam. 1:5).
Repent of Jealousy and Selfish Ambition
James continues to warn that jealousy and selfish ambition is earthly, unspiritual and demonic (James 3:13). This is very severe language that should cause us to run and repent of any hint of selfish ambition (thoughts, feelings, actions) in our lives, even on Mother’s Day! As women, we can be prone to feel jealous of other women who have children when we have not been able to conceive. We feel jealous of other women who have children who are walking in faith when our own children are walking in rebellion. We can selfishly desire to be recognized for all the unnoticed acts of service we have given to care for our home and children. We want to be loved and affirmed and noticed on Mother’s Day. But this is not the mind of Christ. Rather, the mind of Christ is filled with humility and wisdom which is described as first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (Jam. 3:17).
Seek Wisdom and Put on the Mind of Christ
So, this mother’s day, I encourage you to seek wisdom, rather than affirmation. As you put off selfish ambition and jealousy and put on the mind of Christ you will be filled with wisdom. As you do, you will know that you are fully loved, fully affirmed, fully accepted and fully forgiven in Christ, and this is all you need. Wisdom enables you to live in purity. Wisdom gives peace in your heart, enabling you to live at peace with others. Wisdom is gentle, as Christ is gentle.
Wisdom is open to reason, considering the thoughts and feelings of others, rather than looking out for its own interests. Wisdom is full of mercy when others forget or don’t notice its work. Wisdom continues to bear good fruit, even when no one is watching, because your heavenly Father sees everything you do. Wisdom judges fairly, not holding a record of wrongs. It loves without bias. Wisdom serves and loves with sincerity, with no pretense or deceitfulness. (James
3:17) Wisdom is emptied of self and full of the glory of God.
Expect Obedience and Honour for their good and God’s glory.
So, what should we expect on Mother’s Day?
Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may
go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (Eph 6:1-3).
This type of expectation of honour is not an expectation out of selfish ambition. It is for their good and for God’s glory! We should expect this type of honour, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day! And when they fail – and they will – love them with the wisdom that comes from above, be merciful and trust that God is still good, and His love endures forever.
So, is Mother’s Day all in vain? Is it just a worldly and commercialized holiday? No, it’s a beautiful reminder to glorify God, by honouring your mother above yourself. To honour your mother is a very good thing in the eyes if the Lord. Honour her by letting her know how much you love and appreciate her. Do as Anna Reeves did. Although Ann herself, seemed to have an entitled mindset, her daughter Anna just wanted to honour her out of a pure heart. In fact, if you read her story, you will discover that Anna was very upset when she discovered that Mother’s Day had become so commercialized and actually tried to rescind it. So don’t get caught up in the idolization of this day; rather, keep it simple by honouring your mother out of a sincere heart, for the glory of God.
Have a beautiful day and know that you are loved!