"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
--Mark 10:45 (NLT)
On this Mother's Day weekend, I thought we'd each pay tribute to mothers in our own way. First, here's a wonderful story about how my wife Stephanie's mom sacrificed her time in order to serve her daughter.
There are countless examples of servanthood which my mom has shown me, but this is one that I remember most.
Late one night, I woke up with a severe pain in my stomach. I tried moving to a different bed, drinking water and watching a movie, but the pain wouldn't go away and I couldn't sleep at all. I knew my mom usually woke up around 5 AM, so I called her a few minutes later. She was scheduled to attend a meeting for her job, but she took me to the hospital instead.
After talking with me and performing an ultrasound, the doctor told me and my mom that my gallbladder would have to be removed, and he scheduled a surgery for that afternoon. I had never gone through surgery before, so I was rather nervous. Of course, my mom was there to comfort me and assure me everything would be fine.
The surgery went well, but the doctor said I'd have to spend the night in the hospital. I figured Mom would go home, get some well-deserved sleep and come back to visit in the morning. Instead, she slept in a chair by my bed and helped me to get around in my room and take a few walks in the hospital hallway.
I was discharged that evening, and Mom took me home. It took about 3 days to fully recover from the surgery. I thought for sure that Mom would go to her house now that I was out of the hospital. But again, she surprised me by staying at my house for 2 nights and 3 days.
During that time, Mom cooked delicious meals for me, watched some TV with me when I wasn't resting, and helped me take some walks in the backyard. She even gave me a bell I could ring in the middle of the night if I needed anything. My stepfather helped Mom out by bringing over some written paperwork she needed to fill out for her job on a laptop computer, so she could keep up with her job.
My mom basically put her life on hold for a few days so she could help me to reach the hospital, comfort me before the surgery, and recover from that experience. She could have gone to her meeting or put her job above my condition, but she decided to take care of me instead. I could never repay that kind of love or match that quality of servanthood, and I'm very thankful to have such a wonderful mom!
The one characteristic that stands out in my wife’s story is servanthood. Since Jesus felt this quality to be of the utmost importance, I think it's imperative that we discuss it here.
True servanthood is very rare, as it flies in the face of our culture, not to mention our selfish tendencies. Having said this, I not only looked at Mom’s lifestyle, but also at mothers in the Bible, in order to find out what their secret was. While doing this, I saw some things about servanthood that I would like to share with you.
These mothers were filled with selfless love and dedication, which is definitely essential. True servanthood requires a special kind of love, which translates into an attitude of putting God first and others second.
In order to see these qualities clearly exemplified, we need only focus on one person. We can draw inspiration and strength from the example of the mother of our Lord.
Mary was a young virgin when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. She must have been overwhelmed by what he said. She knew that if she served God and followed Gabriel's instructions, it would mean death according to the law.
Still, Mary never wavered. Her complete willingness to follow God always causes me to marvel, and ask myself what I would do in a similar situation.
The second quality to meditate upon is obedience. Everything Mary did in the Biblical narrative can be summed up in that one word. Because obedience governed her heart, we can all have new life.
Mary was probably scared stiff by her God-given responsibility, but her courage shows that she could not afford to be guided by her feelings.
If we are not careful, all of us can allow our feelings to govern us. When we are afraid to serve God by standing up for what He says is right, we need to think about the stand that Mary took.
While it is true that our feelings help make us who we are, we cannot let them dictate who we become. Since we live in a very feeling-oriented culture, we must take care that we filter our emotions through God’s word.
Thirdly, we need to stop and think, about the extreme price which Mary paid. On this Mother's Day, we all need to examine ourselves in light of this price. Jesus often spoke about the cost of being His disciple. However, the idea of service being costly is foreign to most of us, since we live in a culture which stresses comfort and ease.
David said that he would not give the Lord that which cost him nothing, but as I said above, that mentality is foreign to most of us. Let’s pray about this together, finding new and creative ways to honor God in our lives. I sincerely pray that our honoring God will show others that no matter the cost, we will make ourselves available for His service.
All of us who know Christ are being shaped into His image, and it is crucial that our attitudes and thoughts are molded by His Word. The Bible says that believers are in a very real war against the prince of darkness, but the same book tells us not to fear, because the battle is the Lord’s.
We often see the battle won because of a loving and praying mom. So let’s summarize by looking at these three attributes through the lens of prayer.
We can see the selfless devotion we spoke about before as we envision Mom on her knees calling out to God, whether she feels like it or not. Secondly, she takes stepps of faith in obedience to God, knowing that He will meet her wherever she is. Thirdly, she lets her voice be heard no matter the hour, and regardless of the cost.
So let this Mother’s Day renew you, whether you are a mother or not. I can say without a doubt that if we would apply what moms do behind the scenes, our lives and our relationships with one another would change for the better.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you're always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.