George A. Bowers Sr.: Behold your mother
As Jesus hung dying on the cross, he used some of his last breath to arrange for the care of his apparently widowed mother. In the midst of his unbelievable agony, the New King James version says, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by… he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” As the oldest son, Jesus knew he was no longer going to be able to look after the welfare of his mother and directed one of his closest disciples to do so. According this passage, it was a duty that John gladly accepted.
Jesus’ words, however, give us reason to pause and behold our own mothers, whether living or dead. Let us behold their lives of sacrifice. Few, if any, examples of selflessness surpass that of a human mother; not only in carrying a baby within her body and then delivering it with great pain, but in willingly giving up many personal pleasures and desires for the comfort of her child throughout the years to come. I never appreciated this about my own mom until I had children and observed how all-consuming their nurturing and growth can be. The sleep lost for the midnight feedings followed by the 2 a.m. diaper changes and the 4 a.m. comforting rocks all add to the tab of love that mothers willingly pay. Behold your mother.
As her child grows, the work of a mother changes, but continues to be selfless nonetheless in giving up personally enjoyable activities to shuttle children to appointments, practices, special events, and birthday parties. In addition, it’s often mom who stays home from some concert or other event that she looked forward to for months to care for a son with strep throat or a daughter with diarrhea. Most moms never think twice, they just do it out of love for their children. Behold your mother.
Many mothers work long hours in difficult conditions at jobs they don’t enjoy to put food in their children’s stomachs and roofs over their heads. After grocery shopping and meal preparation, they sit down and tutor homework until it’s time for bed. Exhausted, they eventually find their way under the covers only to repeat the process too few hours later. Behold your mother.
In the midst of all the work required of raising and caring for children, most mothers also teach and model values for them as well. I remember my mom reading us bedtime stories and Bible passages. She taught us to sing and appreciate music as well as to respect the elderly and disabled, and to say please and thank you. Although all of these should be reinforced by dad, these are primarily lessons that moms teach their boys and girls. Behold your mother.
It’s usually mom who does the laundry and pays the bills. It’s usually mom who packs the lunches and fixes breakfast. It’s usually mom who cleans the house and keeps it livable. And it’s usually mom who prays her kids through SOLs and exams, first dates and job interviews, disappointments and heartbreaks. Behold your mother.
If you haven’t done so recently, take Jesus’ advice this Mother’s Day and “Behold your mother.” If she’s still living, be sure to visit or call her this weekend and if she’s already passed on, thank God who blessed you with her, for God blessed us all with very good gifts when He made our moms.
Happy Mothers’ Day!
In Jesus, George
George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.