Mary, the Highly Favored, Humble Servant

12.10.23 Devo Image

“‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.’ . . . Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’”—Luke 1:30–31, 38 (NLT)

Among all the great heroes of fiction, Frodo is one of the most standout characters. Why? Because unlike Hercules, Wonder Woman, Thor, or Superman, he isn’t a huge, super-powered demigod. Unlike Anakin or Luke Skywalker, he wasn’t born with extraordinary powers. Unlike Batman, he isn’t a highly-trained ninja billionaire with the money to make high-tech weapons and armor. Frodo is none of those things. He’s just a simple hobbit from the Shire, a naïve, kind, gentle little guy. But, as Galadriel says in The Fellowship of the Ring film, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

What made Frodo special was his willingness to step out in faith. He’s a hero among heroes because even though he wasn’t equipped for such an impossible task (he didn’t even know the way to Mordor), he stepped up in humility and accepted the call.

The diminutive hero of The Lord of the Rings saga embodies something so deeply biblical: God can use anyone to bring about the most amazing work! From the young shepherd boy who brought down a giant to the widow who showed incredible loyalty to her mother-in-law to the young virgin girl from Nazareth—where apparently nothing good can come from (John 1:46)—whom God blessed above all women (Luke 1:42), God is in the business of working big things through the smallest, most humble people.

So why Mary? Like Frodo, she had nothing mankind would deem as “special.” She didn’t come from a wealthy family. She wasn’t considered great among the people. But she was highly favored by God. Why? Well, her response to the angel Gabriel after he told her she’d have a child through the Holy Spirit reveals exactly why God chose her and why she was blessed with this honor.

In Luke 1:38 (NLT), she says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Look at the humility she displays here! Her response to this impossible and frankly terrifying news (she was an unmarried virgin, likely between 12 and 14, when she was told she’d have a child) was “I am the Lord’s servant.” 

She knew no one would believe her and that this would likely put her in a dangerous situation (Joseph could have had her publicly shamed or stoned to death for being pregnant as his betrothed, since he was not the biological father), but she still trusted God and declared herself His servant. She made herself available to be used by God to do His work. She knew she wasn’t equipped for the call God had given her, but she surrendered her life, will, and future into His hands because she trusted He would be with her every step of the way. And because she approached the call of God in this manner, she had the unique honor of giving birth to the Savior of the world!

This is all the Lord needs from us in order to accomplish wonders in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us. He doesn’t need us to be highly skilled, super geniuses, or theology experts. Does He use people with amazing skills, talents, resources, and abilities (which He gave us by the way)? Yes! Just as He’s used untrained fishermen, poor widows, and outcasts. But our abilities are not a prerequisite for Him to do His best work. Instead, God does His best work in the lives of those who are humble, available, and willing to be used

It’s not about what we can do, but what we allow Him to do in and through us. He blesses those who declare, “I am the Lord’s servant . . . May everything you have said about me come true.” 

So, no matter the season or circumstance, no matter how big or small or scary the call He’s placed on your life may seem, if you, like Mary, simply trust in Him, in His promises, and in His faithfulness, He will accomplish “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” And our lives will declare “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–22 NIV).

Pause: What makes Mary highly favored amongst women? 

Practice: Read Luke 1:26–38 and Philippians 2:5–11 and consider the power of humble submission and obedience to the will of God in your life. 

Pray: Father, give me the same attitude as Mary and Jesus. Through Your Spirit in me, help me to grow in humility and obedience, to live in submission to Your will, and to be able to say every morning when I wake up, “Today, I am the Lord’s servant . . . May your word to me be fulfilled.” Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.