The Day After

Posted on May 12, 2008 · Posted in Culture, Shaping Influences

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present
your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of
God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Modern culture has developed a curious practice for giving
appreciation to others. It is a mixture of style and substance, with the emphasis
on style. This practice is called Day.
Day is an extremely flexible and
adaptable concept. While Day has no
particular religious significance, it is nonetheless observed with ritual and
sacrifice. All one has to do to make Day
fit almost any relational circumstance is to add an appropriate adjective. For
example, there is Valentine’s Day,
Secretary’s
—oops, make that Administrative
Professional’s—Day
, Birth Day,
Memorial Day, Labor Day. Day
is able to adapt to almost any desire to show
appreciation. Father’s Day and the
just-celebrated Mother’s Day make Day a personal event. There is even a Day for gratitude. The retail industry
is more than happy to help with the appreciation celebrations. Right now,
Mother’s Day promotions are being replaced rapidly with themes for grads and
dads.

 

If Day has a
weakness it is in what follows, or the day after. This day, unlike its
predecessor, is troublesome in nature. It may bring guilt or worry regarding
how to pay for the gifts just given. It may bring a sense of the mundane as
life returns to normal for the honorees of the day before.

Please don’t misunderstand; I am grateful for a special day
to show appreciation to others. I, too, bought a gift for my wife for Mother’s Day.
And I admit to looking forward to Father’s Day. As Christians, what we must be
careful to avoid is the tendency to focus our appreciation on just one day. For
example, many thoughtful husbands took their wives out for dinner for Mother’s
Day so that she would not have to cook dinner and then have to do the cleanup.
This is a great thing to do, but what about the day after? Mom will still work
as hard this day as she did two days ago to keep things running around the
house. Must she wait another 364 days before appreciation is shown in ways
other than the occasional “Thanks, Mom”? What
Romans 12:1-2 teaches us is that we must be different from the world. This
includes being different in the way we show appreciation. It is fine to have
days of special recognition. But for a Christian every day should be marked by
gratitude and appreciation for the blessings that God has given to us. 

Having a renewed mind means that appreciation is to become a
way of life for Christians. I Thessalonians 5:18 encourages us to do everything
with thanksgiving. Romans 12:2 instructs that offering our lives in daily worship
to God will transform us. Thus, the day after becomes as important as the day
before. It was great to offer appreciation to Mom yesterday, on Mother’s Day.
Just make sure that the appreciation carries forward today and tomorrow. While
it may not be practical to take Mom out for dinner on the day after, fathers
and children can help with the clean up after dinner. While a special
gift-wrapped package may not be a daily occurrence, a warm thank you is always
welcome.

A renewed mind is focused on the day after as well as the Day before. A renewed mind is one that
does not take things for granted and then attempt to make up for it by having
special Days. A renewed mind will show
appreciation to God for his goodness every day as Deuteronomy 6:4-7 teaches.

The day after is an important time for parents to
demonstrate to their children that following Christ is day-by-day, minute-by-minute
acts of love and worship. Living faithfully the day after—and every day—leads
to lives transformed by the glory of God. May God bless you this day after
Mother’s Day.

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