I know this season is all about Jesus. But I have a confession. When I look at the nativity scene with baby Jesus swaddled in a manger, I can’t help but see Mary kneeling beside him. And I admire her.
Don’t worry. I don’t worship her. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. But his mom, Mary, is one of my Bible story heroes.
1. She believed the mysterious message from the angel, and she obeyed. She had not been with Joseph, or with any man, but she believed that she was with child–God’s child. And since she and Joseph believed, they obeyed. They got married, they moved to Egypt, they moved to Nazareth. When Jesus was learning how to read, when he played ball with his brothers and built tables with his father, Mary still believed that he was Messiah.
2. She was a humble servant ready to be used by God. Of course God chose a humble young lady to be his mom. Humility is what mattered to him. Humble service isn’t a recurring theme in the parenting books stacked on my shelf. But humble service is a recurring theme in God’s book. We don’t know a lot about Mary, but we do know that she was a humble servant who was favored by God.
3. She raised a humble servant. Yes, Jesus looks like his Heavenly Father. But I imagine that he also looked like Mary and Joseph. He wasn’t delivered in a prefabricated package and all they had to do was add water—or milk. They raised him. They taught him–and learned from him. I’m sure Joseph taught him to hammer a nail. Mary—and Joseph too—also taught him to humbly serve.
4. She didn’t interfere with her son’s humble service. Mary didn’t interrupt the Passover dinner to tell the disciples that they should be washing Jesus’ feet. She didn’t look for him in the desert to bring him a protein bar—even though forty days without food just isn’t healthy. And she didn’t interfere when Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem. If I were his mom, I’m afraid that Jesus would have been telling me—instead of Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” It wasn’t safe for him to go to that big city (my confessions about that in, Are you raising safe Christians?).
Mary was a humble servant, she raised a humble servant, and she didn’t get in his way when it was time to serve. Even when it meant that she sat at the foot of the cross.
We also know that Mary was a mother who pondered the life her son. She contemplated the story that was unfolding before her. I want to ponder the life of Jesus. I also want to ponder a few things from Mary’s life…
- Do I believe what God tells me and obey? Thankfully an angel isn’t proclaiming that I’m with child, but God has lavished me with promises and commands. Do I really believe them and obey him?
- Am I a humble servant? If we want to look like we are Jesus’ brothers and sisters, we will seek to be humble servants.
- Am I raising humble servants? This isn’t about service hours that look good on a scholarship application. It’s a heart issue. A lifestyle. What am I teaching my kids about what matters the most?
- Do I interfere with my kids’ humble service? Our culture teaches us to help our kids get what they deserve. We point them in the direction of success. We successfully keep them so busy they don’t even see the people around them to serve. How am I interfering with my kids becoming humble servants?
What else would you add to this list of things to ponder when you think of the life of Mary?
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