Today is Mothers’ Day in Costa Rica. Since we have lived in the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica, I think I should get three Mothers’ Days a year. There are two times of the year when it’s best to make big purchases in Costa Rica. One is Mothers’ Day and the other is Black Friday… which is neither on a Friday nor are sale prices to be expected, but sometimes you get lucky. (That idea still catching on down here.) But Mothers’ Day is the day to make big purchases here.
Though I’m not expecting a car or a refrigerator or even a blender, I would like a coffee date with my husband or maybe, as my 6-year-old says, “a pack of flowers”. The fresh-cut flowers are one of my favorite things about Costa Rica. They are cheap and exotic, beautiful and fresh. Sometimes I buy myself flowers just for the sheer pleasure of having beautiful things in my house. Nothing makes me “mushy” like getting a bunch of flowers for no reason at all. I just love that!
So today on Mothers’ Day I will feel sorry for all of you Mothers back in the States who only get one Mothers’ Day per year and who just get ordinary roses or carnations which your husbands pay outrageous prices for. I will gaze lovingly at my “pack” of lilies, bird-of-paradise, daisies and hibiscus and think about how lucky I am to get three Mothers’ Days per year.
One of my favorite passages is the “Don’t worry” section of Matthew 6:24-36. As a matter of fact, my Bible flops open to that passage when I set it down because I’ve worn the spine out by reading that page so much. But sometimes I get bored with the version I’ve memorized. So this morning I read this passage in 5 or 6 different versions looking for a fresh perspective on this old and beloved path. I liked The Message version the best. I can just imagine Jesus telling this to me in person:
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
So I’ve spent my day thinking about this passage while going about my work of cleaning, packing and taking care of the kids. I’ve tried not to worry about getting all we need in our suitcases. I’ve tried to focus on how God is working in me and around me. I’ve tried to keep the right perspective about my possessions vs. my life’s calling. It’s not easy and it seems to require moment by moment adjustments and corrections in my thoughts. But I think these verses helped me today.