December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’ . . . ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”—”—Luke 1:30-31, 38 (NIV)
Have you ever had a really good boss? One who reminded you of how important you were to the team, who never took credit, and was always humble? They can be hard to find, but people like them are essential to healthy teams and processes. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the epitome of someone with a humble heart.
In today’s passage, the angel Gabriel tells Mary she is highly favored by God, which is why she was chosen to conceive and give birth to Jesus—the world’s Savior. Can you imagine how overwhelmed and honored she must have felt in that moment? The Creator of the universe found favor in her, a girl from Nazareth, and now wants her to be the mother of the most important man that will ever be born unto this earth.
In verse 38, we see her prove her humility and worth of God’s favor in her response. She says, “I am the Lord’s servant. . . . May your word to me be fulfilled.” What a humble response! At that moment, Mary could’ve done many things: She could have asked God to give the task to someone else, tried to run away, or even been prideful. Even in normal situations, if someone bestows the honor of an important task on me, I struggle with humility. I buy into the belief that I’m the best person for the job and nobody else could ever be considered. Responding in humility is hard sometimes because we love to be loved and praised by others! But that’s not what Mary does here.
Her posture of humility is so ingrained in her that it’s her immediate reaction to submit herself to God’s plan for her. Mary’s role in this plan is essential, but she knows it’s no doing of her own. Aside from asking how it’s possible in verse 34, Mary doesn’t question God’s instruction for a minute, despite the tarnish she knows this will have on her reputation. God’s request of her is by no means an easy one. While Mary knew she was a virgin, the people around her were going to draw their own conclusions about how she came to be pregnant. In this period, if a woman was found unmarried and pregnant, their reputation would follow them for the rest of their life. And even worse, if her fiancé, Joseph, were to accuse her of adultery, she could have been stoned to death. Yet, with all of those possibilities, Mary walked in obedience.
In this passage, we can learn a lot from Mary about how we respond to God’s callings for us. Did He prompt you to pray for a stranger on the street, but you got scared of how it would look? Did He bless you with something, and your immediate thought was about how you had earned it on your own? What would it look like to walk every moment with a posture of obedience and humility, with no consideration for how you look—good or bad? How would your life be different?
Friends, God has called us to do something far greater than we could ever do on our own. He can take us places that will blow our expectations out of the water if we live our lives in obedience and humility.
Pause: When was the last time someone bestowed a great honor on you? How did you respond?
Practice: The next time you find yourself in a situation where you’re being honored, take a moment to pause and practice gratitude to the Lord for allowing you to experience that moment because you couldn’t have done it without Him.
Pray: Lord, thank You for Your many blessings and divine plan. I pray You will help me walk in obedience and humility as You show me the way You have for me. Let me not be a reflection of my own skills and gifts, but of Your works through me. Amen.
Kristen Hollis has served in the Communications Team of Calvary since 2020 as a Senior Copywriter and Editor. She contributes and edits content for Calvary’s digital and promotional initiatives. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Kristen and her husband Zachary enjoy all things musical theatre, vinyl hunting, and having the opportunity to serve Calvary on staff while utilizing their talents.