Summary: With the gift of children comes great responsibility. This sermon looks at the requirements needed to turn children into healthy adults.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms. I thought I would begin today with a little history lesson. Mother’s Day is now 101 years old but it actually began 110 years ago in 1905. Anna Jarvis stood at her mother’s grave site and decided to dedicate her life to establish a day that mothers would be honored. In 1907 she purchased and passed out 500 white carnations to each mother in the congregation at her mother’s church. In 1908 a church in the same city responded to her request for a Sunday to honor mothers. The trend spread quickly and by 1909 churches in 46 states plus Canada and Mexico where holding services for mothers.
Soon Anna Jarvis gave up her job to work full time writing letters to politicians, clergy members, business leaders, women’s clubs, and anyone else of influence. In 1912 her home state of West Virginia became the first state to adopt an official Mother’s Day. And in 1914 the U. S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing Mother’s Day as an official holiday to celebrate the woman’s role in the family. In less than 10 years Anna Jarvis’ dream was realized. But soon it was tarnished.
She became increasingly concerned over the commercialization of Mother’s Day. She let it be known that her desire was for it to be a day of sentiment, not profit. She opposed the selling of flowers and greeting cards. She considered greeting cards as a poor excuse for the letter that people were too lazy to write.
Anna Jarvis soon became a radical against the holiday she had worked so hard to establish. In 1923, she filed a suit against New York Governor Al Smith over a Mother’s Day celebration. When the suit was dismissed, she began a public protest and was arrested for disturbing the peace. In 1931, she publicly criticized First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for her work with a Mother’s Day committee that did support Anna Jarvis’ view point.
Anna Jarvis died in 1948, childless, blind, and penniless. She was buried next to her mother in Philadelphia.
I guess she is right in the sense that honoring our Mothers has become marketable. It’s easier to buy a gift card with a cute poem than it is to write a note detailing your love and respect for your mom. You know what moms want more than gifts? They want your time. And not just one day a year. My mom has been gone three years now and I miss her. If your mom is gone you know the feeling. If your mom is still with you spend time with her and not just once a year. Let her know you love her. That was the intent of Mother’s Day.
Let’s talk a minute about the first mother, Eve. I discovered some interesting things concerning being the first mother. There were no “in-laws” to deal with. There was no one to be compared to (Eve never heard, "Johnny's mother..."). There was no bad culture or influences to fight against. There were no birthdays (of your own) to celebrate (perpetually 29 and holding!).You held the title, "World's Best Mom" for decades! You have a family tree like no other mother! There are more Grandkids than you can count!
However, there were some disadvantages also. You had no mother of your own to seek advice from. You had no parenting books for raising children. There were no Grandparents to baby-sit the kids. You had a large family -- whether you wanted one or not
("Be fruitful and MULTIPLY!").You're the 1st mom to have to deal with snakes. (We all know how bad that turned out!) You are blamed for every mother's pain in childbirth. You are also blamed for EVERYTHING that has gone wrong for...well basically for all of human history!
Even today mom’s get blamed for a lot of things. If a mom is forced to work, she is criticized for not being home to raise her children. If the mom is at home and receiving assistance, she is criticized for not having a job. A mom’s heart is easily broken. Yet a mom will stand strong when needed. I admire and respect mothers and the steadfastness with which they persevere.
Psalm 127:3 says “Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.” As once a child myself and from experiencing the love of a mother from my own wife, I assure there are times when one must wonder is the gift worth it.
This gift requires constant commitment.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”