Risky business…



(As Jesus says in the gospel of John chapter 15, we cannot be fruitful unless we rest and abide. I’ll be taking a rest from writing this blog until June 20.)

Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly…

In this passage Mary offers a song of praise and thanksgiving to God for choosing her to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  This morning I’m particularly drawn to v.47-48:

“…my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”

We know that Mary was not a member of a prominent family. She describes herself as “lowly”. This is a pattern for God, choosing less prominent people (even unknown people) to do important things for his Kingdom. The question I was pondering this morning is – why? Why does God often choose unremarkable people when he can choose anyone he wishes? Why not choose those with gilded resume and all the earthly advantages of the privileged? Here’s my best guess. It may be God chooses the “lowly” because they are more likely than the privileged to say yes.

Following after the Lord, and laboring for his Kingdom, is often risky business. We know there is another kingdom, a kingdom of darkness (led by Satan himself), that opposes the Kingdom of God and all things holy. When we personally participate in advancing God’s Kingdom, we become targets of the kingdom of darkness. And while it’s true God’s Kingdom will always prevail, the struggle is real – and there are casualties.

The truth is that lowly people have little to lose compared to privileged people. 

Because our culture is so far removed from ancient culture, we forget how risky it was for Mary to bear a child out of wedlock. Based on the customs/laws of her day, Mary could have been stoned to death for adultery. I’m quite certain Mary was fully aware of the risks, yet she said yes anyway. And for her willingness to be a vehicle of God’s plan, she is venerated to this day. And rightfully so.

Heavenly Father, today we remember Mary, the mother of your son Jesus. She was just a girl when the angel announced your plans to birth a child through her. Today we are grateful she said yes, despite the risks. Like Mary, give us grace to embrace the risks of pursuing your Kingdom. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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