The Love that Inspires Mothers
A week or so ago, one of my friends from high school posted on Facebook, “Unpopular opinion: owning a pet isn’t the same thing as having kids.” She was responding to the plethora of cute merchandise (some of which I own!) that has “dog mom/dad” or “cat mom/dad” in beautiful script all over it. Naturally, people responded. Some agreed with her, some disagreed. While I am obsessed, as many of you know, with my dog Bernie, I know that it isn’t the same thing as being a mom. Bernie is fairly self-sufficient, and would be even more so if he were a cat! Watching some of our staff become new parents reminds me daily that parenthood is a sacrifice of a whole other degree, one that I am excited to explore in the future.
Here’s a picture of Bernie though- whether or not he’s actually my child, he’s pretty cute.
This post and the arrival of Mother’s Day this weekend remind me that I am only here because a very generous and strong woman made many, many sacrifices (including in her body) for me to be alive. Thanks, Mom! I am thankful for my Mom’s work, as well as all of the other “mothering” women and individuals in my life, who despite their blood relation to me, have cared about me and made sacrifices for me. The love that they have shown is truly “agape love,” making my life better while inconveniencing themselves. I know this is not everyone’s story, and if this Sunday is a difficult one for you, please know our hearts are with you. While Mother’s Day itself can be painful if we have not had a great relationship with our mom, or have not been able to be the mother we wanted to be, the root of the celebration reminds us of the sacrifices others have made to love one another.
I am aware that, at least for me, the sacrifices for my pet are not exactly at the same level as the sacrifices mothers make. Yet, I am reminded that the same seed of agape love that inspires mothers to get up at all hours and sacrifice their desires is planted in my heart when I get up early and make sure Bernie only has the best food in his bowl. While the degree to which I sacrifice is different, the inspiration isn’t. Deep love begets deep sacrifice, and it transforms us.
This seed of sacrifice was present in the work of the Good Samaritan, who we will read about this Sunday in worship. The Good Samaritan was not the injured person’s mother. They were not related at all; in fact, they were enemies based on the “side of the railroad tracks” that they came from. The Good Samaritan sacrificed their time, energy, and resources to make sure that the man who had been robbed would be safe and well taken care of. Not only that, they came back to make sure the man had recovered and those at the inn did not have to expend extra resources. The Good Samaritan knew what it meant to be a neighbor, and lived it faithfully. The story reminds us that while parenthood is often a vehicle for us to learn about how to sacrifice, we are called as Christians to be sacrificial beyond our blood relationships. We are called to love our neighbor in the same way the Good Samaritan does, cultivating the seeds of sacrificial love that we have said yes to in Jesus Christ. We are to remember that this life is not just about us, but about all people, and live in the way of God. In this, sacrificial love can transform our lives.
As we have journeyed through the Debt Reduction Campaign, I have been grateful for all of the individuals who have sacrificed their time, energy, and resources for the life of this church. The list of individuals who have done this is pretty long! They have said yes to Jesus’s work here even when it was inconvenient, and you have returned again and again to join in it. Our Debt Campaign is about making sure that we can continue to live in sacrificial ways for our neighbors for years to come. I am proud of what we have accomplished as a church and excited for all that is ahead. The invitation to participate in sacrificial giving is just another opportunity for us to give of our time and talents for the Gospel.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we conclude our series and think together about the way sacrifice can transform our lives.