Great things for me!

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” Luke 1:46-50

Joel C. Seifert

“What are you doing?!”

Do you think Mary was tempted to scream those words toward heaven? Pagan Romans ruled her land, bleeding every shekel in taxes they could get from the people. Her church featured pious leaders in flowing robes, but grace and mercy sat unseen in the back. She had a man that she loved—a godly, upright fiancé. But then came the angel and the message from God that she—a young, unmarried woman—would have a baby. What was God doing?

So Mary lifted her eyes towards heaven, took a breath, and poured out her heart. But she didn’t say, “What are you doing?!” She said, “My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior. . . . The Mighty One has done great things for me.”

Honest faith sees the greater reality

Faith isn’t blind to life’s problems. Mary knew the hardships her out-of-wedlock pregnancy would bring.

Yet faith is also honest about God’s promises. Two words changed everything for Mary: “My Savior.” There was a greater reality that God allowed Mary to see. Yes, life would get harder. But she would have her Savior, growing within. And miracle of miracles, he wasn’t just stepping into her life; he was allowing her to be part of his story as he brought salvation to generations of countless souls. Great things indeed!

Honest humility leads to faithful service

Mary knew she would serve as the mother of God, but not because of her worthiness or righteousness but because of grace. That blessed her with an “honest humility.” She knew her chance to serve was just another one of the “great things” the Mighty One had done for her. So she served faithfully. God grant us eyes to see that too.

Perhaps Mary seems like a wonderful role model for little girls. She’s an example of how God works through those who don’t seem important in the eyes of the world. Maybe she seems like a source of encouragement for faithful Christian women who choose to serve in humble, quiet ways.

But the truth is that Mary isn’t simply a role model for little girls or faithful women. She’s a wonderful example for big, burly men too. She’s an encouragement for those who sit in corner offices and those who stand in pulpits. She’s a role model for all of us when we’re tempted to wonder what God is doing.

Even if we wonder what God is doing in our world, our society, or in our daily lives, he allows us to be a part of his plan. No matter what’s going on around us, we get to care for others in need, to practice justice, to show mercy, to forgive sins, to carry Jesus to the people around us. Maybe our service seems unimportant or lowly, but it makes an incredible difference.


Contributing editor Joel Seifert is pastor at Shining Mountains, Bozeman, Montana.


Note: For at least the last thirteen hundred years, Christian tradition has recognized Aug. 15 as the date of Mary’s death.


 

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Author: Joel C. Seifert
Volume 104, Number 8
Issue: August 2017

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