What Does Bradley Owe?

A twelve-year-old boy named Bradley developed the bad habit of evaluating everything by its monetary value. He allowed himself to become consumed with the passion of becoming wealthy. One morning, after breakfast, he left by his plate the following note: 

Mom owes Bradley:

$1.50 for running errands 

$1.00 for being extra good this week

$1.25 for doing music lessons

$2.00 for extras

Total: $5.75

After reading the note, his mother smiled. At lunchtime, she left the invoice and $5.75 by Bradley's plate. Bradley was overjoyed when he saw the money. Then, he noticed a note that his mom had left him. It read:

Bradley owes his mother: 

For being patient and good to him: Nothing

For caring for him during times of illness: Nothing

For shoes, clothes, and food: Nothing

For cleaning up after him: Nothing

Total Bradley owes Mom: Nothing

Someone has pointed out, "No gift that you give to your mother can compare with the gift that your mother gave to you." During this time of the year, when we take time to remember "mothers," we need to stop and meditate on their invaluable worth. Abraham Lincoln said, "No man is poor who has a godly mother."* In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul attributes what Timothy had become to his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Their godly influence on his life was worth far more than money. John Wesley said, "I learned more about Christianity from my mother than all the theologians of England."*

I read that a sociologist was doing research for a book in which he planned to prove the harm that is done by growing up in a large family. He chose to interview a mother of thirteen children. After recording the children's ages, family income, etc., he asked, "Do you think all children deserve the full, unconditional love and attention of a mother?" "Of course," replied the mother. "Well, which of your children do you love the most?" he cunningly asked her. The mother of thirteen replied, "The one who is sick, until he gets well. And the one who is away, until he gets home."* No love is like the love of a mother. Maybe this is why Holbrook Jackson, the British critic and historian (1874–1948), observed, "A mother never realizes that her children are no longer children."*

One mother prayed, "Help me to be a wise mother, O Lord. Keep me calm and patient to bear the small, irritating things of life. Give me understanding to bridge the gap between my generation and that of my children. Let me not dictate to my children their own personal life's goals, but allow me to be ever near to give guidance and godly wisdom. Help me to laugh with them, and not at them. Assist me to refrain from speaking words of hurt and discouragement. Give me a sympathetic ear when they need someone to listen. Show me how to teach my children that life is so much the result of choices, either right or wrong. Finally, keep my children close to me, though miles may separate us."

Erma Bombeck said, "I don't expect anyone to fully appreciate that a mother makes more decisions in one morning than the Supreme Court makes in three years."* Maturity and the passing of time create a greater appreciation for our mothers. We realize that, as did the young man Bradley, she may have charged nothing, but her worth can never be measured monetarily.

The late syndicated advice columnist, Ann Landers, printed the words of a poem concerning mothers, from an unknown author.

The Time Is Now 

If you are ever going to love me, 

Love me now, while I can know

The sweet and tender feelings

Which from true affection flow.

Love me now,

While I am living;

Do not wait until I'm gone,

And then have it chiseled in marble,

Sweet words on ice-cold stone.

If you have tender thoughts of me,

Please tell me now.

If you wait until I am sleeping,

Never to awaken,

There will be death between us,

And I won't hear you then.

So, if you love me, even a little bit,

Let me know it while I am living,

So I can treasure it.

A little girl was trying to recite a memory verse before her church congregation. However, standing in front of such a large crowd, her small mind went blank. On the front row sat her mother, who became as frantic as she. Her mother gestured, then moved her lips, trying to form the words for her young daughter, but to no avail. Finally, the mother, in desperation, moved closer and whispered the opening phrase of the Scripture verse, "I am the light of the world." Immediately, the child's face lit up. She smiled and declared with full confidence, "My mother is the light of the world!" Though humored, no one present could disagree.

Happy Mother's Day!

By: David Arnold

*Abraham Lincoln; available online: http://workinghumor.com/quotes/mothershtml.

*John Wesley; available online: http://www.cwfa.org/familyvoice/2001-05/04-05asp.

*Christian Clippings, December 1996, 16.

*Holbrook Jackson; available online: http://www.wow4u.com/children/index.html.

* Erma Bombeck; available online: http://www.briarwoodprinting.com/news.htm.