Christmas Reflections: Timeless Truths for Today
Being the Lord’s Servant
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 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. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Being the mother of God incarnate must have been a monumental task. I often wonder whether Mary ever experienced self-doubt at being the mother of Jesus Christ himself. It’s wonderful to me that her response at being told she would carry and raise the son of God was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled,” instead of, “Are you kidding? That job is too big! Haven’t you seen my flaws?”
I have been overwhelmed and doubted myself at much smaller tasks than Mary’s. “Those aren’t my gifts,” I whine like Moses. “I need more help,” I deflect like Barak. Those are even some of the better days. There are other times I struggle to find the good at all. I look at the tasks God has set before me and I wonder if there was some sort of mix up. Why would he give me a certain challenge or task when he made me the way that he did?
There are personality tests to match people with the best line of work. It makes a lot of sense to put people in positions that align with their skill and values. The idea is that people will be happier doing things that are more congruent with who they are as a person. Yet God doesn’t always choose to work that way. He is not in the business of making people as happy as they can be in this life; he is in the business of saving as many souls as possible from the fires of hell so they can be secure with him in paradise forever.
When God sets a task before you and you can’t see how it aligns with what you believe you’re capable of handling, consider the fact that our Creator also supplies what is needed. He often does not call us to face the greatest obstacles with strengths we already possess, but rather with strengths he intends to give and grow in us on the journey. We are vessels, and if we can get out of the way, God can use us for important kingdom work, regardless of whether or not we understand the method or reason.
Mary didn’t cross reference the role of “bearing the Son of God” with her enneagram or Myers Briggs first, not even her Clifton strengths. She said, “I am the Lord’s servant.” She did not need to first identify the strength and ability within herself; she trusted God to show up with the strength needed.
Trust the Creator as Mary did—not first taking an inventory of your own strengths or abilities, but trusting him who made you to bring you through what he sets before you, regardless of your own perception of your ability to do so.
Heavenly Creator, you know me more intimately than I know myself. Help me to trust you as I face things in this life. Give me trust and joy like Mary’s as I face all you place before me. Amen.
Written by Jes Woller
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry