What were your favorite Mother’s Day gifts?
My family spoiled me with their Mother’s Day gifts this year. Daughter Katherine made a beautiful plaque that we’ve already hung in our breezeway. Daughter Christine bought my favorite pastry from a specialty bread store and treated us to Mexican food for Mother’s Day lunch. And Katherine’s boyfriend potted some beautiful lilies in a very nice pot. My boyfriend forever (aka, Jack) surprised me with a lovely ruby heart necklace. You should have seen the huge bag he touted into the Mexican Restaurant. I had to go through several bags and boxes to get to the tiny jewelry case!
We all convened in Quincy, Illinois the Saturday before for a picnic lunch of Hyvee friend chicken, fruit salad, potato salad, rolls (from the same specialty bakery), and deviled eggs. It was the first time each of us contributed to the meal. Hooray! I didn’t have to cook it all. I’ve been waiting for the day my adult daughters can share in the cooking.
As wonderful as the Mother’s Day gifts and gatherings were, these weren’t my favorite part of Mother’s Day. I told someone at church I didn’t care what we did. We could have gone to McDonald’s for all I cared. All I wanted was my family.
“Family and God,” he answered.
Well, yeah. Yeah, God is definitely part of the equation. Part and parcel, in fact. That’s what makes being with my family so special. I get a front row seat to watch what God is currently doing in their lives.
In fact, seeing how God is at work in my children’s lives and knowing I had a hand in where they are today were the best Mother’s Day gifts of all.
Christine, my about-to-be-fourth-short-term-missions-trip girl, shared her plans to go to Poland and Germany during our church’s worship service. Katherine told us how she and boyfriend Kevin want to plan a game night at a local nursing home.
Have you ever heard the story of the woman who felt called by God to go on the foreign mission field but instead married and had four children? She felt she had let God down until someone pointed out that all four of her children were on the mission field. She had multiplied her effectiveness by raising four missionaries.
Christine calls that kind of mom a mobilizer.
When God calls you to serve in world evangelism, Christine says, He may be calling you to one of five categories. A go-er, the one who actually relocates to a foreign mission field, can’t do the job without the other four. That includes senders, pray-ers, mobilizers, and the welcomers. The moms and dads who instill a Christian world view and kingdom need into their children are doing exactly what 2 Timothy 2:2 tells us to do: teach them so they can teach others.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Some parents feel it’s the church’s responsibility to teach kids about Jesus. Others want to allow their children to make their own decision about faith and religion. Still others feel satisfied and fulfilled if their child accepts Christ as Savior, the younger the age, the better.
But I’ve come to realize none of that is enough. Our job as parents is to disciple our children well enough that they become what is known as a global Christian, one who cares what happens eternally to the rest of the world.
Jesus had only three years to impart His program to a group of twelve men. Parents have eighteen years to plant and cultivate the seed of the gospel in our children’s lives, to go far beyond just a life-time commitment to Christ. Through countless mealtimes, car rides and weekend discussions over game boards, parents have a captive audience to whom we can share our passion and compassion for those who need Jesus in their lives.
That mom who thought she’d failed God? She’s singing my song. I am so grateful I have two daughters who care deeply about whether the people around them know who Jesus Christ is and where they stand in their relationship with him. God showed me that he had used me and their dad to bring forth two more people to work in His harvest fields. I can’t take all the credit, in fact, I won’t take any credit because I know there are all too many faithful Christian parents and even Christian worker parents whose children rebel against faith in Christ. I’m blessed and I don’t deserve it.
Instead, it’s a call to me to continue the discipleship and encouragement of my daughters into their adult years and throughout their lives. It’s a call to invest my life in any children who come across my path, whether children of the church or my own future grandchildren. It’s a call to not stop with a child’s conversion. There is so much more work to be done!
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 tells us we are to baptize AND teach converts all that Jesus has commanded. My goal as a parent should be two-fold: to win my child to Christ AND to teach them ALL that Christ has commanded, including his mandate to teach others and to be his witnesses.
Observing my daughters’ passion for righteous living and compassion for those who don’t know Jesus—those are the best Mother’s Day gifts of all.