Summary: Giving God the Praise
Last week I started our story talking about a question of doubt. I told you about Zacharias and Mary and their interactions with the angel Gabriel. In the beginning of the story, the message was delivered to two separate individuals and there were two similar, yet different responses. Both recipients responded with a question, but one of them responded in faith while the other in doubt. Because of Zacharias’ doubt, the angel closed his mouth so that he could not speak until the prophecy was fulfilled that was spoken to him. Mary, unlike Zacharias, received what the angel said, asked a clarifying question, and then proceeded to tell the angel “so be it according to what God had spoken.” She accepted in faith what was told to her.
This morning we pick up the story where we left off last week. Last week we ended with Mary completing her discussion with Gabriel. Last week the message was given, this week we find that the message has started to be fulfilled. This morning as we look at Luke 1:39-56, we’ll see that several months have elapsed and Mary has decided to go and visit her relative Elizabeth. Let’s read this passage of Scripture. From this passage of Scripture, I want you to think on this topic “Joint Praise”.
I. Joint Praise
Have you ever had something that was so good you just had to tell somebody? You know nothing spreads faster than good juicy gossip. But what about something good, exciting, something that is just too good to be shared by you alone – what do you do? Have you thought of something? I want to share this story with you – it is a true story. I know this because it happened to me. When I was growing up, my older brother had a paper route. On the weeks that he got paid, on the way to church my father would stop by the store and my brother would take part of his money and buy us candy and gum. What he would do is buy several kinds and then split it up between all of us (there were 4 of us besides him). So here we were enjoying the fruits of his labors. He was always sharing with us because we did not have money like he did – that’s just who he was and how he continues to be to this day. Well one day he had collected his money from his paper route. He had counted it on the floor and had it all laid out. Well I figured that if I took a dime and a nickel (15 cents) that he would not miss it. I know, it is not a lot of money now, but let me tell what 15 cents could get you at that time: 2 cookies for a penny and a big bag of potato chips for 10 cents. So with 15 cents I could get a bag of chips and several large cookies. So, being the boy that I was, I added up what I could get, thought about the chances of me getting caught and decided to go for it. I took the money, left the
house and was home free. I had made it – no one saw me take it, I was in the clear. I went to the store and got me some chips – my mouth was watering and I was looking forward to eating them. I hid the chips under my shirt so that no one would see them because if they did they would want some and I would have to explain where I got the money. But, having been so successful in my results was not as good with just me knowing it – I needed somebody to share in that victory. I was looking for somebody to rejoice with me. Have you ever done that? Have you ever wanted somebody to share in your victory? Well I found mine. When I got home I saw my best friend, my neighbor Gerard and I raised my shirt up and showed him my potato chips. My goal was to share them with him. When I raised my shirt and showed him, my older brother who was playing basketball saw them and immediately left the court and went and told my mother. I tried to keep him for telling on me by offering him the chips, but he refused. My mother called me in the house and asked me where I got the money. What could I say, what would you do? Well I did the same thing that you would have done, I lied. I thought by telling her I found the money in the house it would have been okay. It wasn’t. She told me I knew it was not mine and I should have given it back and she proceeded, to my brother’s enjoyment, to give me a whipping lesson. Those are the lessons with a belt and not much talking, except the screams from the person getting the lesson. When it was over and I had learned my lesson, she let me keep the chips. I went back outside, found my friend, and we ate those chips. What was the lesson that I learned, sometimes it is better to keep it to yourself and celebrate alone instead of telling someone? If I had kept my mouth shut I would have gotten away with it and who knows, I could have developed a lot of nasty habits. As it was, I learned that some things are better kept to oneself.