A Mother’s Work is Never Done

Excerpt from Mark 1: 29-31 

“Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.”

Reflection by Lillian Daniel

This story cracks me up. Simon’s mother-in-law was very ill, consumed with a fever, but Jesus was able to cure his friend’s mother, to literally “raise her up.” What a moment that must have been.

So after this life-threatening illness and a miracle cure, what does this woman do next? She makes them all dinner, of course. Simon may be a grown-up, his mother-in-law may have just had a near-death experience, but a mother’s work is never done.

I know one could make a feminist analysis of this story, and feel sorry for the hard work women had to do in a patriarchal society. But as a postmodern woman, I still relate to Simon’s mother simply as a mother.

These days, with one child in college, and another with three short years left at home, I find myself longing to cook meals for my kids. These days, we have to schedule family dinners in advance with our busy high school sophomore. So I love it when my daughter and a group of her friends just happen to find themselves together around the kitchen counter, and I can whip up a little something. I’m eager for my son’s first trip home from college because he has already told me what he wants me to make him for dinner.

In my early years of parenting, cooking for my children was just another chore, another stressor in an overscheduled working mom’s life. But now, I’d like to do more of it.

When Simon’s mother-in-law recovered, she must have been enormously grateful to have been given more days to live. But what she chose to do in that moment was something very ordinary. She cooked a meal for her son and his friends. Because when you look back on your life, it’s not the big vacations, the promotions, or the extraordinary events you remember. It’s the simple stuff, like cooking a meal for your son and his friends.


God, you are the host, the mother who waits for us with a heavenly banquet and a loving heart. In you, may we find the grace to delight in each other and in each day you give us. Amen.

About the Author
Lillian Daniel is the senior minister of the First Congregational Church, UCC, Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She is the author, with Martin Copenhaver, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.

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