May 11, 2015

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day!

Devotion for the Week...

Did you enjoy your Mother's Day yesterday? I certainly did. We went to Paul's sister's house for the weekend, and then Paul's entire family, along with a few others (22 people in all!), had lunch together after church yesterday. It was great to have everyone all together!

Being Mom (or Dad, but yesterday was Mother's Day so we're going to focus on Mom here), is a great training ground for living a Christian life in the world at large. Christians are called to be and do many things, most of which are also part of raising kids. Let's look at a few of them.

* Servanthood. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 12:45). Though mothers have been tempted to shout, "I'm not your servant!" since time immemorial, the truth is that mothers are servants to their children. Not to the extent that we never require them to do anything for themselves, but mothers serve their children daily by such things as preparing meals, helping with homework, doing laundry, playing the games they love and we hate (I'm so grateful my boys have all outgrown needing me to play dinkeys) and many other things. The question is, what is our attitude while we're doing these things? Are we doing it willingly? Or are we grumbling and complaining the whole time, even if it's all silently in our own thoughts? And how well does our servant attitude extend to those outside our homes?

* Selflessness. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:3,4). This is probably second nature to most moms, at least most of the time. Mothers in general are famous for putting their own needs last and caring for the needs of everyone else first. Again, how well does that attitude extend to those outside our homes?

* Forgiveness. Kids mess up. There's no doubt about it, and there are times we need to forgive them. Moms mess up too, and there are times we need to ask them to forgive us. Both giving and receiving forgiveness are great lessons for kids (and adults) to learn, and both will help them understand God's forgiveness a little better. "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us" (Luke 11:4). And what about other people in our lives who have messed up and need our forgiveness? Are we able to forgive them too?

* Sharing the gospel. Somehow it's easier to talk about Jesus with children. There's little reason to fear they will make fun of you, or think you're crazy for talking about God all the time. If we've been doing it since they were babies, then they think it's perfectly natural and don't question our tendency to relate just about anything to God. Adults, especially those who don't share our beliefs, can feel like a much tougher audience. Of course, that doesn't mean we should limit ourselves to only sharing Jesus with our children. Paul, especially, provides us with an example we should follow. Though people beat him, tried to kill him and imprisoned him, he never stopped telling people about Jesus. "So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders" (Acts 14:3). Who do you find it easier to talk to about God - children or adults?

* Making Disciples. Just because our kids believe in Jesus doesn't necessarily make them disciples. Google dictionary defines 'disciple' as "a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher." A believer agrees that the facts about Jesus are true. A disciple is one who studies those facts, who tries to understand how Jesus lived and how to be more like Jesus themselves. Sharing the gospel - making new believers - is one part of the process, but Jesus calls us to do something much deeper. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19). We are called to make disciples, to tell people about Jesus in such a way that they want to know more, and then, of course, to help them in their quest to learn about Jesus and the Christian life.

Being Mom gives us so many opportunities to practice living as God wants us to live. But our Christian living should not stop when we walk out the door of our home. How well do we do at living out these principles with the people we don't live with?

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