Celebration of Gratitude: Mary’s Obedience - 22 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble estate 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.”  Luke 1:46-49

What makes your soul glorify the Lord and your spirit rejoice in God?

Mary’s beautiful and awe-inspiring words of praise overflowed from a heart filled with wonder, and gratitude to God. He had chosen to favour her, a young and lowly girl, to be the mother of “the Son of the Most High” whose “kingdom will never end”. (Luke 1:32-33). God’s incomparable faithfulness to Abraham and his descendants over generations delighted her; He’d continually shown them His mercy and might by caring for the poor and by doing great things for Israel.

Mary, exulting in God, speaks these words of jubilation when Elizabeth proclaims, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:45) and reveals by the Holy Spirit, that her baby had leaped for joy on hearing Mary’s voice, responding in the womb to the significance of God’s blessing on her.

Mary’s first response to the angel shows that she would never have thought herself eligible for this high honour, as she was “greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:29). Had God really noticed heror had the angel made a mistake? Yet she never expressed unbelief, even after the angel had outlined the whole astounding plan; her heart was calm and her mind set in faith: “I am the Lord’s servant … May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

We can only imagine what Mary felt as she realised the implications of what was to happen; but she didn’t falter as obediently she put everything on the line: Joseph could divorce her; her family could reject her; she could be stoned to death … but she believed that, “nothing is impossible with God”. (Luke 1:37) And He soon encouraged her in her faith when she saw her cousin, Elizabeth, miraculously pregnant as the angel had said.

Mary was an ordinary person with the same capacity for humility, faith and obedience as we have. What encouragement for all of us! We can be thankful for being ordinary and humble and not let this hold us back because we think we’re not good enough. We can rejoice that God looks at our hearts, not at our looks, personality, or talents, and we know His words to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Let’s celebrate our amazing God, and allow our faith to flourish as we take encouragement from Mary’s humble obedience.

Prayer: Lord, Mary’s gratitude and obedience are very real, but we confess that we don’t always find it easy to deny our own plans and ideas, to submit to the will of someone else. Please help us to submit to You. Grow our faith and make Your power perfect in our weakness till we, too, can truly celebrate Your goodness. Amen

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