Summary: The humility essential for motherhood is a picture of the humility of Christ.
Mother’s Day was first officially observed in the United States in 1914. And ever since then, it has been the annual goal of candy makers, greeting card companies, florists, and restaurant owners to persuade you that the best way to show appreciation to your mother on her special day is to spend as much money as possible. According to them, what you need to do is buy her a big box of Malley’s chocolates; a frilly Hallmark card with a sappy poem inside (written by someone who has never even met your mother), an expensive flower arrangement; and dinner at a place where someone else does the dishes. At least, that’s how it used to be. Now, everybody’s getting into the act. So if you believe the ads in today’s Plain Dealer, you’ll find that you can also honor your mother by buying her a table saw, or a ratchet set from Sears. The gift of a new DVD player will fill her heart with maternal joy. You can express your deepest feelings through major appliances. There’s nothing like a Maytag washer and dryer to tell mom, "I love you".
Now, before I incur the wrath of those mothers in the congregation who may be hoping for a new microwave, or at least a flower or some bon-bons before the day is out, let me say that I have nothing against giving gifts to your mother, on this or any other day. I’m all for it. Certainly,no gift, however extravagant, could ever come close to compensating your mother for what she went through in birthing and raising you. A side-by-side refrigerator with an ice maker and a vegetable crisper is scant reward for a sixteen-hour labor. So, go ahead. Max out your credit cards! Buy mom that Miata she’s been wanting!
But here’s my point. Like many other things in American life, a day which started out as a way to celebrate spiritual values - love, devotion, sacrifice - has become almost overwhelmed with economic values. And what I’d like to do this morning is balance things out a bit. To focus more on what I think God had in mind when He said that we should "honor our father and mother". And the way we’re going to do that is to look at one aspect of what it means to be a godly mother. As we examine this character quality, I hope each of you will be stimulated to thankfulness for the way in which your mother lived it out. And I hope that those of you who are mothers will be encouraged to continue striving to exhibit this quality, that of humility.
Motherhood requires humility. It absolutely demands it. If nine months of pregnancy, and the ordeal of childbirth were not enough to convince you of that, then caring for an infant will make it painfully obvious. It is very difficult to maintain an sense of great self-importance while you are cleaning strained peas out of your hair. Pride can’t survive for long in the face of a two-year-old’s defiant contempt. Your inflated ego collapses as you confront this tiny creature whom you far exceed in size and power, and who by all rights ought to be bending to your will, but who instead opposes your authority with every fiber of his being.
Other adults may treat you with respect and deference. Your colleagues at work may be impressed by your titles, your awards, your accomplishments. But your children are not. They value your college degrees far less than your ability to sing all the songs from the "Barney" show. Your knowledge of tax law means nothing to them, compared to your knowledge of Pokemon characters. You could have a Nobel prize, or an Oscar, or the Congressional Medal of Honor - it would make no difference. In their eyes what really matters is that you can keep the yolk from breaking when you cook their eggs. In other contexts, you may be someone important, someone to be reckoned with; but to your children, you are just "mom".
And that’s a great gift. It’s not something to be resisted; it’s something to be welcomed. Because humility is the path to grace and blessing for all who follow Christ, not just mothers. Listen to what the Scriptures say about the value of humility:
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ’God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." - 1 Peter 5:5-6 (NIV)
"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." - Psalm 25:9 (NIV)
Do you want to receive God’s grace? Do you want God to lift you up and exalt you? Do you want God to teach you and give you wisdom? Then choose humility. In doing so, you won’t just be fulfilling your calling as a mother; you’ll also be honoring your calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who said,