We just celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday. Tradition has it that the second Sunday of May we honour our mothers for all the hard work and effort they contribute to the health and well-being of our families.
The idea of Mother’s Day began when Anna Jarvis, daughter of a Methodist pastor, wanted to honour mothers and established a special day to do it. But she died before she could see her dream fulfilled. Her daughter, also named Anna Jarvis, took up the cause and on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, May 12, 1907, led a small tribute to her mother at a church in West Virginia, USA. She donated 500 white carnations – her mother’s favourite flower – to be worn by everyone in attendance. After that, other States and Churches took up the cause. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially established Mother’s Day as a National Holiday to be held on the second Sunday of May.
Although the celebration of Mother’s Day is only 100 years old, the thought and idea or honouring and respecting our parents which includes our mothers, was given by God. We read in the Bible in Exodus 20 – one of the commands given to God’s people was to respect and honour our parents. God did not say that we should do this only in May or June, but that it should be an attitude of the heart. We know that God intended for this very important attitude to be passed on from generation to generation. It is not something that comes automatically, but I believe it is best taught by the parents to their children. It can also be reinforced by other adults (such as grandchildren to their grandkids).
Whether our mother is only 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90, we still need to honour her. We can do this in a variety of ways. William McKinley, US President, kept in touch with his mother every day. In October 1897, he left the White House and took a train to Canton, Ohio, so he could walk to church with her again. When she was dying, she called for him and he went to be by her bedside when she died. What an example from a leader such as a president.
Chuck Swindoll, pastor and author of many books, writes this: “As I walk through my museum of memories,I owe you – for your time. Day and night.
I owe you – for your example. Consistent and dependable.
I owe you – for your sacrifices. Numerous and quickly forgotten.
I owe you – for your faith. Solid and sure.
I owe you – for your hope. Ceaseless and indestructible.
I owe you – for your love. Devoted and deep.”
It is never too late to remind your mother how much she means to you and all the love and sacrifice she has given.
Victor Koop is pastor of Ashcroft’s Evangelical Free Church