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“I am the Lord’s servant”

August 3, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Luke 1:26-38

26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. 36 Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. 37 Nothing is impossible for God.”
38 Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Mary lived in Nazareth, a minor hamlet that didn’t appear on any known maps of Palestine from that time. Given what we know of her culture, she was perhaps 14 years old. She had no reason to think we’d even know her name today! Yet, God chose her for a literally earth-shaking life mission—not to lead a great army, write deeply spiritual documents (her great “Magnificat”—cf. Luke 1:46-55—reached few ears at first) or go to a major center like Jerusalem, but to bear and raise the Messiah.

  • What qualities would you look for in the Messiah’s mother—respectable social status? A stable, established marriage? Economic security? Why did God choose Mary? The angel startled her by calling her “favored one.” “Mary’s blessing…. brought hardship, confusion, and grief but it was still a blessing.” * Her simple reply to the angel dwarfed all other factors: “I am the Lord’s servant…. Let it be with me just as you have said.” How did Mary’s willing response change the world?
  • God’s call to Mary was unique in all of history, just as the person of her son Jesus was. But through our gifts, talents and circumstances, God calls each one of us to fill a particular place in the divine mission of redemption. How do you respond when you sense a divine “nudge” in your heart, when a fitting path of service opens before you? What does it take for you to respond, as Mary did, “Let it be with me as you have said”?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you entered our world, not as a powerful hero, but as a child like us, dependent, at first, on your mother. How grateful I am that you chose Mary to be your mother, and that she willingly did such a good job. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

I was recently at an event in which the host was looking for volunteer participation. I did NOT want to participate. I just wanted to sit there in my seat, not be bothered, and watch as some other fool stood in front of the crowd roleplaying the ridiculous scenario. As the host scanned the room for a volunteer, no one was raising a hand. “I’ll just pick someone,” he said. I immediately slumped into my chair and averted my eyes, the international sign for “whatever you do, do NOT pick me.” Thankfully, the host picked someone else who wasn’t as quick with the signal. I was able to look on in relief as the participant was called to the stage.

In this instance, I was solely focused on what I wanted out of the moment. I did not want to volunteer. I did not want to be bothered. I did not want to be embarrassed. My priority was clearly all about me. Honestly, I don’t feel too bad about it. The stakes of my decision were pretty low.

The problem becomes that this is often my view when it comes to volunteering myself for matters that are far more significant. If my main priority is my own comfort, then I don’t want to volunteer. I don’t want to be bothered. But the challenge lies in whether my priority is about my comfort or if my priority is for an ultimate good, to bring God’s kingdom here on earth. If what I want in life is comfort, then I sacrifice potential good. But if what I’m really looking for is to use my life to bring about the most good, then my comfort will likely be sacrificed. 

I think about this in terms of what someone may say at my funeral one day. “While she made very little impact over her life, you would not believe how comfortable Janelle’s (and I challenge you to insert your name here) life was.” Vs “We’ll never truly know the full impact Janelle (your name) had on others. Her (his) dedication to be used by God was frequently demonstrated in both big and small ways. To name just a few… ” What do you want out of life? What do you want them to say at your funeral? My hope is that, with each day, we’re less interested in comfort and more excited to be part of God’s story of grace and redemption.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, sidebar “Blessing” in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1288.