Summary: No matter who you are, the Lord can use you. You are not useless. No matter what problems you face, the Lord is with you. Your situation is not hopeless. No mater what He has promised, the Lord can do it. Your God’s power is limitless. What does God
Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents’ house the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers. The younger one began praying at the top of his lungs:
“I PRAY FOR A NEW BIKE…”
“I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO…”
His older brother leaned over, nudged him, and said, “Why are you shouting? God isn’t deaf.” To which the little brother replied, “No, but Grandma is!”
It’s true that some have overestimated the importance of Mary, but I don’t think their error should cause us to ignore her. I believe the story of Mary provides us with some important lessons for our lives today.
1. No matter who you are, the Lord can USE you.
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27).
Consider a few facts about Mary:
• She was young.
We are told that Mary was pledged to be married. At that time, it was customary for girls to be engaged at twelve or thirteen years of age (around the time of reaching puberty). That practice ensured that adolescent girls maintained their virginity until marriage. So it’s very possible that Mary could have been as young as twelve or thirteen when Gabriel visited her.
• She was poor.
We read in the second half of Luke 2 that Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple. According to the law, for forty days after the birth of a son, the mother was ceremonially unclean and could not enter the temple. At the end of the forty days, the parents were to bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a dove or a pigeon for a sin offering. If a lamb was too expensive, the parents could bring a second dove or pigeon instead. This is what Mary and Joseph did.
• She was from Nazareth.
It seems that Nazareth was a town with a bad reputation. When Nathanael heard that Jesus came from Nazareth, he was stunned. He wondered aloud, “Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46).
Mary was young, poor, and from Nazareth—all characteristics that, for the people of her day, would make her seem unusable by God for any major task. But God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience He has ever demanded of anyone.
Mary’s story teaches us, first, that no matter who you are, the Lord can use you. You may feel that your ability, experience, or education makes you an unlikely candidate for God’s service. Don’t limit God’s choices. He can use you if you trust Him.
Out of all the women He could have chosen—queens, princesses, daughters of the wealthy and influential—God chose a poor teenager from a town with a bad reputation to be the mother of Jesus.
You may wonder, “Why did God choose Mary to be the mother of Jesus?” We’re not really told the answer to that question. But I believe part of the reason why God chose Mary had to do with her character. She had two vital characteristics that God is looking for: humility and faith. In Luke 1:46-49 Mary praised God, saying, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state 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.”
Do you think you are useless to God? Think again. God is searching for humble people to take part in His amazing plans. Will you be one of those people?
2. No matter what problems you face, the Lord is WITH you.
“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end’” (Luke 1:28-33).
The angel said, “Do not be afraid.” But we wouldn’t blame Mary if she were afraid. Imagine the possible complications that her miraculous pregnancy might have created:
• Possible divorce by Joseph
Joseph at first assumed that Mary had been unfaithful to him. What else would he have thought? He had decided to divorce her (which, according to their law, was necessary to end the engagement) before he was told in a dream that Mary’s baby was, in fact, conceived by the Holy Spirit.