Today I was reading in Luke chapter 1, it’s the story of the angel Gabriel coming to meet with Mary. The text reads:
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
Did you catch that? Gabriel said, “Hello! You are the chosen one! God is with you!”
And it is reported that Mary was “confused and disturbed” by this…Hmmm…
I wonder why the idea that God was with her and that she was the chosen or favored one would create such a reaction in her. Well…how many Old Testament Jewish women do we know who were chosen by God to do great things for Him? How many really, really young women were there? How many really, really young women who were dirt-poor were there? Sure you might be able to name a couple or a few…but the truth is that young Mary was a product of her first Century, Jewish culture which would have seen her status as poor, her season of life as young, and her gender as female as reason why she was disadvantaged in being chosen by God.
For Mary, the words “favored woman” was so foreign to her upbringing. The idea that, “God was with her” would have turned her world upside-down because God was with the priests in the Temple, not a young girl from Bethlehem. She was confused…but let’s be clear that God wasn’t confused. God knew exactly what was happening and God had chosen her and was with her. We might even acknowledge that this, indeed, was a job that no man could even dream of doing, this was a woman’s calling and Mary was the woman called.
You know, you don’t have to be young, poor girl from Bethlehem to think that your experience, history, and societal value disqualifies you from being called by God. Maybe your family wasn’t supportive and while you want to know God better, you’re convinced that God doesn’t want to know you. Maybe you made mistakes in your teen and young adult years that have had their effects on you, and so you are beyond God’s reach. Maybe you have tried to dedicate you life to God so many times but there is a habit or hurt or hang-up that keep creeping in and so you thing God has just given up on you.
Well, Mary was well suited to be the mother of Jesus. She was female for sure. She was young and still a virgin, which I only mention to argue that God wanted Jesus to be born of a virgin to show the purity of the divine baby and to fulfill the prophecy. She was poor but the mother of the King of Heaven, which allows Jesus to be a King of the people and serve the people—not a kingdom of Israel or anywhere else. Mary was perfectly suited for her calling…and while the initial shock was intense, her response that followed this was one of faithfulness and gratitude.
So, two things for you to think about:
1. Often we miss our calling because we think it needs to be something that we are talented at or something that we feel we are strong at doing, but God doesn’t always want the talented as much as he wants someone who has been prepared for what he/she needs us to do. Don’t limit God with your perceived talents and abilities…
2. When God does call you, it might be so in tune with who you are and what God has done in you that it freaks you out at first. You might wonder: How did God know? (Ha) or I’m not sure about this? But God often calls us to help those who are walking through something that we have already been through…something we are perfectly suited for…
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.