It’s Mothers’ Day weekend and there’s gonna be a lot of what my country friends would call good eatin’ going on. But when I was thinking about diving into some of those goodies, I unexpectedly began to think about some of the things I love that won’t make it onto anyone’s list of “preferred health foods”. In turn, that led to something that pokes at my grumpy side. (I know … you didn’t think I had one of those, did you?) It kicks in when I happen to encounter one of those outspoken people who seem to consider themselves the overseers of everyone else’s nutritional health and welfare. You have to be careful because they’re like undercover operatives and they’re hard to spot. They mingle with us like ordinary people, but they’re trained to detect indications of someone actually enjoying something that isn’t on their list of “approved foods” ( i.e., stuff that actually tastes good). When they see blatant, joyful consumption of dietary contraband, it triggers a “nutritional violation alarm”, and they move to intervene. Soon they’ll approach the “perp” with a concerned frown, slowly wag their head side to side and say something like, “Don’t you know that eating that stuff’ll kill you?”
Seeing Things Differently ~
But I shouldn’t be so critical. I’m sure those folks mean well. They just see things differently. For instance, if I’m out shopping somewhere and happen to see a dude eating a corn dog, I’m likely to think,”That looks good, wonder where he got it.” The covert “food rangers”, on the other hand, see it and think, “Oh no! Russian Roulette on a stick!” They interpret someone eating a corn dog as a cry for help. and feel called to talk the poor, misguided fool down off the dietary ledge before he eats himself to death. Meanwhile, I tend to think about the important underlying issues, like “Did he get mustard with that?”
Oh, sorry . . . We were supposed to talk about Mothers’ Day, weren’t we? My plan was to connect our Mothers’ Day thoughts with the national obsession that today’s popular culture seems to have with the subject of health and wellness in every kind of arena imaginable. So, back to that now … Information about nutrition and exercise flood the internet. Specialized programs, detailed research, and “expert” opinions abound in every media platform we have. There seems to be an endless stream of data out there telling us how to be healthy, live longer, and to enjoy happy, prosperous, fun-filled lives. Of course, It would be incredibly helpful if all those experts, or even a majority of them, agreed with one another. Trying to figure out whose guidance is trustworthy in almost any area these days can turn out to be an exercise in frustration and futility. Thankfully, God didn’t leave us at the mercy of hyper-excited promoters of healthy living programs promising to make us physically fit, visually appealing, emotionally stable, and sharp enough to conduct unscripted interviews with hostile reporters.
The Only Trustworthy Guide ~
In the matter of what to do to ensure that the best that life has to offer is available to you, God Himself is the only guide with an unblemished record of offering a perfect plan. And when it comes to ensuring the best, most enduring, most spiritually enriching Mothers’ Day celebration possible, His plan cannot be improved upon. It isn’t that He’s opposed to things like flowers, jewelry, special meals, touching poetry, ornate boxes of candy, and tearful testimonies of sacrifice and love. It’s just that those things are limited, and the gift He suggests is not.
The gift God ordained is actually a generalized mandate, but it doesn’t come with a long list of do’s and don’ts. The overall concept is mandated, but the details about how, when, how often, and in what context we carry it out are left up to us. God built the capacity for reason into us and I think He loves watching us apply it. After all, some things are just obvious. A guy shouldn’t need a mandate from God to tell him not to climb into the gorilla habitat at the zoo to hug that 700 pound female just because she reminds him of a girl he used to date.
The Preferred Option ~
For me, I think it’s appropriate to designate the gift God provided for Mothers’s Day as the healthy choice option. Its potential benefits extend far beyond the individual to whom it is offered. It doesn’t need to be adjusted to fit or accommodate taste, and it’s appropriate for every mother, regardless of gender, nationality, race, age, ethnic background, or political persuasion.
The concept is simple, but the impact is profound. This is God’s eternal Mothers’ Day gift, and every son or daughter is commanded by God to present it. There are no requirements regarding the number of times we offer it, but the more often we unwrap another version of it, the more the benefits rebound to us and to the world around us. Here it is in its glorious simplicity:
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 5:16 NKJV)
With six little words, God offers more potential for peace, prosperity, freedom, protection, and social stability than the combined effect of the multiplied millions of laws and ordinances that human beings have created. And lest one might think that it’s just an Old Testament issue, God also inspired the Apostle Paul to include it in his instructions to the church at Ephesus. He said:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1–3 NKJV)
There is much more in the words that the living God chose to use than we generally consider. Here’s a brief look at what the mandate means and what some of the benefits are:
- Honor — The Hebrew word kāḇēḏ means to weigh heavily. When applied to people, it means that their presence, their words, their actions, and their position carry more weight, and they should be treated with more deference than others. This command carries no time limit and there are no waivers or exclusions offered for difficult conditions.
- Your father and mother —Mothers are getting the attention tomorrow, but both parents are included here. Our parents aren’t just the “luck of the draw” in a random “birthing people” lottery. They are the ones specifically ordained by God to bring us into the world and prepare us for living the life He gave us. They inherited tremendous responsibility when God chose them, but so did we. Honor is the gift we are commanded to offer in return for the price they were willing to pay.
Now consider the incredible benefits God includes:
- That it may be well with you…The Hebrew word yāṭaḇ translated, well, includes the idea of things that are good, pleasing, beneficial and positive. It encompasses everything that health and happiness means. This is God’s personal reward for extending the honor He commands us to give, and it reveals His love toward us and the kind of life He wants for us.
- That your days may be long… There are no nuances here. This statement means exactly what it says. Actively honoring our parents improves life expectancy, and not only in terms of years, but in terms of the quality of the lives we live.
Whether or not your mother, or you as a mother yourself, are being treated to her favorite meal or favorite flowers on Mother’s Day, the living God has a gift in mind, and it’s the “healthy choice” we all get to share.
🌹 Happy Mothers’ Day 2023 🌹
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “Honor your father and your mother.” Concept – simple; impact – profound. This is God’s eternal Mothers’ Day gift. Every son or daughter is commanded to present it. The more often we unwrap another version of it, the more the benefits rebound to us & the world @ us.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Honor your father and your mother.” With these simple words, God offers more potential for peace, prosperity, freedom, protection, and social stability than the combined effect of the multiplied millions of laws and ordinances that human beings have created.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Honor—The Hebrew word kāḇēḏ means to weigh heavily. When applied to people, it means their presence, words, actions & position carry more weight, & they should be treated w/more deference than others. There are no waivers or exclusions for difficult conditions.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Your father & mother were specifically ordained by God to bring us into the world & prepare us for living the life He gave us. They inherited tremendous responsibility. Honor is the gift we’re commanded to offer in return for the price they were willing to pay.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “That it may be ‘well’ with you.” The Hebrew word yāṭaḇ translated ‘well’ includes the idea of good, pleasing, beneficial & positive things and encompasses all that health & happiness means. It’s God’s personal reward for extending the honor He commands us to give.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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Beautiful reminder here, Ron. God is the ultimate giver of the gifts that matter eternally, and He has chosen to bless both motherhood and fatherhood that we may fully prosper during our lives. I do miss my mom and dad every day, but I’m grateful for the children and grandchildren God has blessed me with.
Happy Mother’s Day to Diane!
I never got to meet my biological father, Martha, but I join you totally about missing my mom. And I must say that I love the way you take motherhood to the next level and make life so special for your granddaughters. I don’t have to tell you what vital lessons get imparted to children, and grandchildren, from their mothers and grandmothers. The chaos we’re seeing on the streets of our cities, the disrespect being displayed in schools, and the unmitigated filth and hatred flowing out of social media 24-7 is an extension of the disintegration of nuclear families and basic parental influence. We quit honoring our parents when the families started falling apart and the government stepped in and claimed the role. What a toxic lie it was when that pathetic excuse for a President (in my opinion) said in reference to the children in our country, “they’re all our children,” he made it clear what the present administration’s view of the role and rights of our parents. Well… thank God, yours don’t belong to them and neither do mine. God bless you for staying so strong in so many vital areas, and HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY!!!
Thanks Ron for this great message as always. God is always there & his words and teachings in the Bible mean everything. On another note, at this stage of my life, I know I indulge in a lot of good food but not healthy & it’s so good for the soul! I hope Diane has a wonderful Mother’s Day! Love & miss you both!
Thank you so much for the gracious encouragement. And about the food… I’m with you about enjoying it at this stage of my life, too. I’m looking forward to the incredible feast the Lord’s preparing for us. We’re going to have a banquet like nothing we’ve ever seen at the “marriage supper of the Lamb” and nobody’s going to be counting calories or worrying about whether the food is good for us. Meanwhile, we pray that God will bless you and your family with a Mothers’ Day that leaves happy memories in its wake.
Always enjoy your posts my friend, and this one had me laughing one minute and deep in contemplation the next. As I started reading, I knew you had written it with me in mind. My first outburst was a “You? Grumpy? Never!” LOL We’re too much alike to think we both don’t wake up some mornings and put on our “grumpy pants.” Some days, I wear the whole suit. My Ms. Diane gave me a sign for my office many years back. It read, “Some mornings I wake up grumpy. Other mornings, I just let him sleep.” My next thought came along the lines about your encounters with “food nazis” while you’re trying to enjoy something worth eating. I typically respond with, “Yes, but I’ll die happy.” Next, I made a mental note to make sure I keep my freezer well-stocked with State Fair Corny Dogs. They’re a lunch staple around here when Mr. John and I are busy.
Last, your post led me to prayerfully consider how the old missive of “We are what we eat” applies to my spiritual life. As a “fluffy Christian”, I can assure you that what we consume, both physically and spiritually, affects us greatly. If I eat more corn dogs, baloney sandwiches, CFS, and mashed taters than I do green vegetables, fruits, and good carbs, I’ll end up looking like a pork butt. If I spend more time consuming television, “anti-social” media, and other worldly things than I do studying God’s Word, seeking His guidance in prayer and intercession, and fellowship of other true believers, then I’ll have more world in me than Word, and it’ll show. We are what we consume. For me, I’ll prefer to remain a coffee’d-up Christian, who is a bit fluffier than I ought to be perhaps, but I’m smiling while humming hymns while I work, write, and live for Him. God’s blessings to you and your Ms. Diane, brother.
I know God put all of in a “one-of-a-kind” category, but I love finding pieces and parts here and there that seem to fit both of us, and you’ve blessed me this morning with a few more to add to the list. I might not be as “fluffy” as I used to be, but I enjoy eating things that actually taste good. We were invited to share a meal recently that looked like food and was probably loaded with stuff that will help keep me out of heaven a few more days, but it had all the taste appeal of colored hunks of styrofoam. I love your “I’ll die happy” response, and will co-opt it later, I’m sure.
Your comment about ending up looking like a “pork butt” was a laugh out loud jewel and it set the table nicely for your insights about “feeding” on things that are spiritually nourishing. The devil serves up a menu of items in every media platform 24-7 that are appealing to our carnal appetites, but they’re toxic to our spiritual welfare and sap our strength to stand against the attacks he hurls against us.
Thanks again for kicking off our Mothers’ Day weekend with smiles and blessings. May you and your Mrs. Diane have a weekend filled with things that nourish your spirit and strengthen the love you have for each other and for all the mothers that have helped to form and shape you into the encouraging servants of God that you are.