There are many universal sayings that all mothers end up reciting at least once if not a thousand times.
Wash your hands before eating.
Don’t follow the crowd.
Get some rest.
Pull those weeds in the back or they’ll kill the tulips!
Listen to your father.
Don’t go out with a guy just because he asks.
Don’t cross your eyes. They may stick.
No throwing frisbee in the house.
No snacking before supper.
Don’t wear that much make-up.
Don’t do that! You might poke your eye out.
You might get worms. You don’t know where that’s been!
Give it your best.
But perhaps the greatest advice from a mother is recorded as a side-note tucked away in the Gospel of John. It came from the mouth of the mother of our Lord. It was at a party.
It wasn’t a life or death situation. The words had very little to do, at first glance, with eternal destinies or climactic discoveries. Just a simple statement in the midst of uncertain, perplexing, awkward circumstances.
When the celebration of a marriage hit a stump, and the pitchers of refreshment were depleted. Mary, the mother of Jesus, turned to the servants and simply said, “Do whatever He tells you to do.” She knew exactly who her Son was. She could have expounded upon the majesty of her Son, the royal blood that ran through His veins, His very nature as Creator and Master of the universe.
She was well aware of the glory of Jesus. But instead, she simply pointed to Jesus and with determination and authority in her voice, she said, “Do whatever He tells you to do!”
Jesus turned, furrowed His brow, and then, He honored her despite the whole timing issue of when the Messianic works was to begin.
“Fill the pots,” He told them.
“But you don’t understand, Jesus. Those clay pots are for the ceremonial washing of hands and feet!”
Mary looked on, perhaps assertively, with her arms crossed. Her attitude was unchanged by Jesus words. She said it again. “I said – do whatever He tells you to do.”
“It is glorified bath-water,” one servant said, as he gritted his teeth.
“Do whatever He tells you to do.” Mary replied, this time politely with more grace. Mothers have a way of overseeing the details.
They filled the pots.
Then Jesus said, “Now, draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
“You’re joking, right?” a cynical servant asked with a coy smile.
“Do whatever He tells you to do.” Mary repeated.
And at that moment bath water became the toast of the town. And if you listen closely, perhaps you can hear the words of that proud and courageous mother. Her words still apply.
Do whatever He tells you to do.
Minister to the homeless. Do whatever He tells you to do! Follow Him to a foreign land. Do whatever He tells you to do! As you budget your time and resources. Do whatever He tells you to do! As you proclaim the Good News in your school. Do whatever He tells you to do!
The mother’s advice through years of weddings, funerals, challenges, and crises, in the big things, in the little things, in the plans for today and the dreams of tomorrow – it’s really some very good advice.
Do whatever He tells you to do!
It may seem like something strange. It might go against your natural instincts. It won’t be the first time. He’d startled his people before with his plan:
Reach in the mouth of that fish and pull out a coin.
Here’s some mud for your eyes.
Sell everything and follow me.
Drop those nets.
Lay off 80% of the army and give the rest lamps and horns. That ought to do it!
Avoid becoming a salt lick. Don’t look behind you.
Five loaves and two fish will do. Let’s pray and start passing it out to them.
Hit it with your stick. There’s water in the rock.
Five smooth stones. That’ll teach him.
March around the wall.
Roll that stone away. He’s not dead. He’s just a sound sleeping miracle waiting to happen. Let’s wake him up.
Rise and walk.
Don’t bring anything with you.
Go and teach all nations!
Do whatever He asks you to do!
So what crazy thing is He telling you to do?
Has he called you to start a homeless shelter? Has He called you to memorize the Gospel of John? Has He called you to minister in the nursing homes, bars, the halfway house, the merchant marines, in India, China, Alaska, Greenwich Village or Congress? Has He called you to give up your stereo, your car, your cable? Has He called you to paint your neighbor’s house or scrub toilets? Has He called you to start a church? Has He called you to try to reconnect with that kid who beat you up and stole your milk money in the third grade?
Do whatever He asks you to do!
Why? It’s a no-brainer. Whenever Jesus tells you to do something, glory happens. He is worthy and when you close the book on your life, you will not have a hint of regret. When you dive into God’s plan, you will discover that He is more powerful, more trustworthy, more intelligent, and more intuitive than you could ever think of being.
So take a deep breath and dive in. You’ll be glad you listened to Mary’s advice.