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Have you ever heard of the woman who hated Mother’s Day? According to the Toronto Star’s website, there was such a woman. If you think the spirit of Mother’s Day has been spoiled by the commercialism of cards, flowers and once-a-year sincerity, you stand united with the woman credited with giving us the annual event.
West Virginian Anna Jarvis was so horrified by the monster she helped create in 1914, she spent most of her later years campaigning to have the second Sunday in May removed from the calendar as the day to honour your mother.
In the end, Jarvis lost the fight. The woman, who was never a mother herself, exhausted her financial resources and ruined her mental health in that fight. She died alone in 1948 in an asylum at the age of 84. Just before her death Jarvis told a local reporter: "I devoted my entire life to Mother’s Day and the racketeers and grafters have taken it over."
"She simply wanted a day to honour and remember mothers, but in her mind it didn’t turn out that way," says William Pollard, an archivist at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., where Jarvis bequeathed her letters and other writings.
In 1914, Jarvis spearheaded a campaign to help persuade U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to set aside May’s second Sunday as a national day for recognition. She orchestrated a letter-writing campaign to Wilson, lobbied influential politicians and clergymen and distributed brochures arguing about the importance of a national day for mothers.
Jarvis’ cause came from admiration for her recently deceased mother, Anna Maria, and others like her who had been an inspiration. But by the early 1920s, she was sickened by the commercial circus she had helped create. She felt the day had nothing to do with celebrating the real achievements of women.
Jarvis spent her latter days crashing floral company conventions to protest and urging card companies to give the money they made from Mother’s Day to the poor. At one Mother’s Day convention where flowers were being sold she was arrested for disturbing the peace. She even launched a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day festival from being held. (Story fr. Thestar.com)
For Jarvis, her mother was an inspiration, she wanted to honor her. And I believe it is the same kind of inspiration that drove Isaiah to write, for he sees something in mothers that shows us what God is really like. He wanted his readers to know that God cares, and he knows the power of a word picture and he chooses mothers, to picture for his audience, the kind of God who is totally committed to their welfare.
Christian author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada writes: I’m a quadriplegic, yet I can drive a van (my hand is secured to a big joystick so I can steer, accelerate, and brake). I enjoy being independent, so if there’s something I can do, I will - even if it means tackling the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant by myself.
Remember, my hands don’t work. That’s why last week when I cruised into the drive-thru lane to order hamburgers and Cokes, I prayed for the fellows at the pick-up window. "Lord, give them patience, and give me a smile." Then I moved to the intercom to place my order.
When I’d finished explaining "no cheese" and "extra mustard packets," I told the voice on the intercom that I was disabled. There was a pause. Then, "Okay, no problem."
I pulled up to the delivery window and smiled. Sticking my arm out the window, I asked the cashier to take the 10-dollar bill that was folded in my arm splint. That was a cinch.
While he fished for my change, I asked him to place it in the paper bag along with the hamburgers. At that point, the server bagging my order looked over his shoulder. Both boys, confused, gave each other a look that said, "Do you know what she’s talking about? ’Cause I don’t!" I smiled and slowly repeated my instructions.
They got the message - and even wrapped my change in a napkin before they dropped it into the bag with the food. Then they handed me my order. I had to ask, "Could you please lean out your window and wedge the bag between me and the van door?" Both boys looked at each other again. "I can’t reach for the bag. Remember?"
"Oh, yeah," they laughed, then hung halfway out the pick-up window to lodge the package between my wheelchair and the door. "Are you set? Are you okay?" they asked in all sincerity.
"Great job," I assured them. "God bless you guys!" They slapped the side of my van as I drove off. When I glanced in my rearview mirror, they were waving good-bye. Thanks, God, for answering prayer. That could have been awkward, but it turned out to be fun!
This is the daily stuff of my life. It always involves more than simply picking up hamburgers or the dry cleaning. It involves a chance to make God real to people. A chance for them to serve, to feel good about themselves, to experience a new way of doing things.
Problems are often God’s way of prying us out of our rut.
It’s like the guy you may have seen, that acts like a gentleman, sweet and loving, taking a lady out to a nice dinner, and a romantic evening, only so he can get “something” out of the deal. Instead of doing all these things out of the sincerity of his heart, he’s really just putting out some money so he can get what he wants. And he gets mad and throws a temper - an often times destructive temper resulting in violence - because he didn’t get what he wanted. He’s trying to pay for “services rendered” - last time I checked that’s called prostitution.
This is gonna be a tough question, but are we trying to prostitute our worship, our prayer, our time in fellowship, our participation in church, or even our tithes and offerings - paying for services with our time, our talents, and our treasures- just to get something back?
Dwight L. Moody was not very polished with his grammar because he did not have a great deal of formal education. When he spoke to a group of intellectuals at Oxford University he got so excited about the love of God that he said, "Don’t think that God don’t love ya, cause He do!" The passion and sincerity of Moody so moved the members of the Oxford elitists student body that many of those young men decided to give their lives and careers as missi...
"Six essential qualities that are the key to success: sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity."
What if your science professor announces that your first experiment will involve studying the properties of acids. She places a 500 ML Pyrex beaker containing clear liquid on the lab table and says, "This is sulfuric acid." In response to her explanation, imagine your lab partner, Jim blurts out, "I don’t believe this is sulfuric acid. It looks like water to me." Jim, you discover, is so sincere about his belief that the Pyrex beaker contains water, that he decides to drink it. What will happen to Jim? Despite his sincerity, Jim’s belief that the beaker contained water did not change the nature of its contents. He may believe with all of his heart that the beaker only contains water but the acid will still kill him. One may be sincere and yet sincerly wrong.
The book Irresistible Evangelism (Group Publishing) includes the story of Jan, a staffer with Athletes in Action.
After attending a conference where the importance of listening to unsaved people was stressed, Jan and others were relaxing in the hotel whirlpool. Two adolescent girls joined them in the tub. One of the teens, named Brittany, began passionately telling her friend about an upcoming Wiccan gathering she was planning to attend.
(Wiccans make up a religion that believes in many gods under a mother goddess. Their religion includes the use of herbal magic and witchcraft.)
Jan says: "Normally we would have tried to counter the girl’s ideas, but we decided to listen instead. I said something simple like, ’Wow, you really sound excited about this!’ This was all the encouragement she needed to launch into a five-minute explanation of why she was so attracted to neo-pagan rituals.
The bottom line was that she’d had a really traumatic time in high school and the Wiccans accepted her. She said, "I’ve gone through so much stuff just trying to make it through high school that I’ll probably be in therapy for the rest of my life!"
"I tried to mirror back what she said with, ’It’s hard for you to even imagine a future where you’d be free from all of the pain you’ve gone through?’
"What came next completely floored me. With a film of tears starting to form in her eyes and with complete sincerity in her voice, she said, ’Sometimes I wish I could be born all over again. I’d really like to start over from scratch.’ After a long pause, my friend asked if she would really like to be born again. She said, ’Yes, I really would.’”
The Most Toys? (09.08.05--The Temporal Things!--Matthew 16:26)
The world teaches this--You can never have too much of a good thing! We must always have enough or we are being somehow cheated of that which we truly deserve.
If one were to ever wonder why we live in such a greedy world, this tenet, no doubt, ought to dispel that amazement. Love may make the world “go round” but it is amassing plenty and having a good time that gives it some speed. And, if you want to stay on for the ride, you need to be able to compete with those who are clinging on with the getting and the enjoying. Dying with the most toys is really what it is all about; isn’t it?
Christopher Winans, in his book, Malcolm Forbes: The Man Who Had Everything, tells of a motorcycle tour that Forbes took through Egypt in 1984 with his Capitalist Tool motorcycle team. After viewing the staggering burial tomb of King Tut, Forbes seemed to be in a reflective mood.
As they were returning to the hotel in a shuttle bus, Forbes turned to one of his associates and asked with all sincerity: “Do you think I’ll be remembered after I die?” Forbes is remembered. He is remembered as the man who coined the phrase, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That was the wisdom of Malcolm Forbes. In fact, that was his ambition. That’s why he collected scores of motorcycles. That’s why he would pay over a million dollars for a Faberge egg. That’s why he owned castles, hot air balloons and countless other toys that he can no longer access.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave us words of superior wisdom when he said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). It is a fatally deficient wisdom that declares “He who dies with the most toys wins.” (Steve Farrar, Family Survival in the American Jungle,1991, Multnomah Press, pp. 47-48.)
Dying with the most toys may sound cute...
"Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity and hardihood the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, and the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life."
"Sincerity is no test of truth, no evidence of correctness of conduct. You may take poison, sincerely believing it the necessary medicine, but will it save your life?"