This Sunday we revisited the intriguing, paradoxical passages that show up in the same sermon from Jesus (the Sermon on the Mount). “…[L]et your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).” “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them (Matthew 6:1).”
So much of the job of mother’s resonates with the second saying from Mt. 6. Countless tasks of motherhood will be unseen, unheralded, under-recognized, under-celebrated, underappreciated. To paraphrase 6:3, the left hand (especially kids) don’t know what the right hand (moms and dads) are doing. We could go on and on about things that moms do that fly under the radar. We could identify endless ways moms serve that kids don’t know about and won’t ever know about because they are too young to remember. It’s often only when we get older, and sometimes when we become parents ourselves, that we start to get a glimpse of all the service done in secret, all the time, energy, worry, and work. It’s when we are on our way home late after our fourth ballet class or baseball practice of the week and we still have to throw some food down their gaping baby bird mouths and do baths and bedtime routine that we have those aha moments. Ohhhh!That’s what parenting was like! That’s what my mom did!
Here’s what I want moms (and dads) to remember. There is great reward in all that unseen, unheralded work. I mean that in the fullest sense of the phrase. There is an inner reward of a job well done. There is the reward of a child who is loved and nurtured and cared for and it helps shape and mold and mature them in positive ways. But there is also something eternally blessed about giving and loving and serving and caring when no one else even sees it. God sees service that is done in secret, and rewards those who do it (6:4).
But there is more. While we don’t see it all, and we certainly don’t appreciate and acknowledge it in all the ways we should, we still see it. It’s impossible not to see it. Real love and light of mothers is like a town on a hill. It can’t be hidden. It always stands tall and bright. Real love and light of mothers is like a lamp to the whole house, illuminating a better way. While we should say it more, please know that because of your light, we praise and thank our Father in heaven.