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…”
The angel’s announcement disturbed the otherwise quiet world of Mary, the poor virgin of Nazareth. The calling of God often comes unexpectedly into the world of someone comfortable with his or her obscurity. They do not aspire for the spotlight or for the attention of others, let alone the praise of others. They are quite content just to be left alone. But God as our Creator has the ultimate say in the matter of our usefulness to Him, and how that will be achieved. With Mary she was to be the one destined to be the mother of our Lord, with you and I we will be called to do a different type of ministry.
The dedicated follower of Christ has no choice nor asks for choices in the matter. The Lord has spoken and he will trust all things into the hands of the Lord who calls. Joy is to be found in doing the Master’s will. He lives and serves for an audience of One – God. The more dedicated the disciple and the more convinced he is that the world has no hope outside of Christ, the further he is willing to go, the more he is willing to endure, and the longer he is willing to stay for the sake of the gospel.
But the Lord is gracious and we do not serve without encouragement and joy along the way. The angel’s words, “Do not be afraid,” were often repeated by the Son that Mary bore, and by His Spirit today to His followers. The task given to Mary was one that raised suspicions among many people and even today the Virgin birth is often ridiculed by the world, and even rejected as unnecessary by some Christians. Yet it should not surprise us to see God use such a method to bring about His incarnation into human flesh, and there is certainly nothing that could prevent Him, the Creator of the human reproductive system, from doing so.
But in spite of the difficulty or the aloneness of the task we are called to do for God, there is the comfort of the Spirit and the companionship of other believers. We are not alone. The consecrated know of a joy that the world does not and experience a peace that comes from God alone.
Lord, let us make ourselves useful to You, to be obedient in the path You have called us to walk and in the race You have called us to run. Give us joy and companionship along the way. Amen.