I wonder if the things we want to give our mothers, even expensive gifts, don’t always match up with what they really want. A box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers are nice things to give our mothers on Mother’s Day, but is it the item or its value that really matters to them? What do mothers really want from their children? Or, since not all of us are mothers, what does our mother really want from us?
In my experience, mums have a lot they want to give us, and they do so with no thought of getting anything in return. In 2015 my mum was diagnosed with cancer, not given long to live. When I visited her she had so much she wanted to give me. I went to comfort her, but she wanted to give me comfort. She wanted to give me answers to any last questions I might have, to give me peace about her readiness to die, and to give me insights into her life and the things which were important to her. Perhaps there are exceptions to this, but if what I learned from my mother holds true for others, then what mothers want is to give to their children; and what they want from their children are things that can’t be measured materially, such as love, an embrace, or a hug.
What does God want from us? It is important to recognise that God’s desire to give to us goes far beyond any desire we have to give to him. God is generous by nature. We see God’s generosity in his extravagant gift of love. Jesus said, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16). We see God’s extravagant love in the extraordinary gift he has given us in the beauty and abundance of creation. God’s generosity is revealed in the guidance he gives us for life, commanding us to love each other, even to love our enemies; to care for the poor, and to act with justice; all add to the quality of life for everyone.
Humanity has the problem of human nature, which holds us captive to self‑interest. We are deluding ourselves if we think humanity is progressively getting better. John Gray, a secular philosopher, teaches about values, morals, philosophies, and politics. He says that humans suffer from historical amnesia. Over centuries we might make scientific progress, but the human heart remains the same and has not changed. When we look at human nature in the past and the present we cannot help but agree with Jeremiah who said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
The human heart needs outside help to break free from inhumane tendencies, and God generously, lovingly intervenes giving us a new heart, new life, a new way of living and teaching us values that will make a real difference. Even what God wants from us or requires of us is for our own good. “O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NLT) We all benefit when people act with justice, mercy and love.
Questions to consider:
What does your mother really want from you?
What does God want from you?
What might heal your heart and bring you peace?
Rev John Malcolm