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.
This morning I’m drawn to the word “lowliness” in v.48. This is a word Mary attributes to herself as a contrast to the great blessing and honor done to her by God the Father in choosing her to be the mother of Jesus the Son. The Greek word translated as “lowliness” can also be translated as “humility” or even “unworthiness”. In other words, Mary is acknowledging the fact there is nothing special about her that would make her worthy of being chosen. See the verses below (also in Luke chapter 1) in which we are introduced to Mary:
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
We are told she is a virgin engaged to Joseph and that her name is Mary. That’s it. Note the contrast with the introduction of Elizabeth and Zechariah (the parents of John the Baptist) who are described in v.6 of this same chapter:
6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.
We’re talking about the mother of the Son of God here. One would expect she was at least as righteous and worthy as Elizabeth and Zechariah, but that’s not what the scripture indicates. She was an ordinary young woman chosen to do God’s extraordinary will. We will see this again as Jesus chooses his ordinary, lowly, unremarkable disciples – who go on to change the world. Why does the Lord do this over and over in scripture?
My first thought is that when God acts through ordinary people, it is God who gets credit. My second thought is that, by using ordinary people to do his extraordinary will, God opens our hearts to the possibility he might actually do the same with… you and me.
A mentor of mine once told me “It’s amazing what God can do with someone who is simply willing to say ‘yes’ “. Mary is a great example of this, but this includes you and me. Seriously. I’m going to go out on a limb for a moment and suggest something about you, dear reader.
The Lord is inviting you, right now, to act on his behalf in some way you think you’re not ready for.
We all can’t be the mother of God, but we can all follow Mary’s example of saying yes to the Lord’s invitation to be used for God’s purposes. Will you say yes? Are you willing to suspend disbelief long enough to see God’s hand, God’s heart, God’s spirit move through you for the sake of someone else?
Lord, let it be so. Amen.