Depictions of the Annunciation are perhaps my favorite of all Renaissance paintings. My husband and I joke that Mary looks like she is asking, “Who, me?” in just about every one of them. I would imagine this teenage girl from a poor family in a small town did not expect too much out of life. She would get married, raise some children and do the best she could to please God. God wrote an unexpected story for Mary as He has for you.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin? And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called Holy – the Son of God.’” Luke 1:26-35, ESV
As I read the above passage, I am struck by the kindness and gentleness of the angel Gabriel toward Mary. I can almost imagine God preparing Gabriel by letting him know that His daughter Mary is a tender heart that needs to be treated with care. She is assured right from the beginning that she has the favor of God and that He is with her. He is patient with her questions, and even tells her that her cousin Elizabeth has conceived a son, prompting a much needed visit, where the two can talk about their miracles together.
Although none of us will have the awesome honor and privilege of birthing and raising the Son of God, each of us has a specific assignment. And I believe with all my heart that if we knew the importance of the task, then we would look up to heaven with a humble, “Who, me?” Notice that I didn’t say the task itself would shock us, but the importance of the task. I’m pretty sure that Billy Graham’s mother didn’t know who she was raising when he was five years old. The work that God gives us to do is holy when done through the power of the Holy Spirit. As you think about your assignment, be encouraged that God will empower you as He did Mary.
You are highly favored.
“For You bless the righteous, O LORD; You cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12, ESV
If you are like me, then your knee-jerk reaction is to say, “I’m disqualified for favor because I’m not righteous.” The good news is that we are hidden in Christ and clothed in His righteousness! We have the favor of God because He qualified us, Himself, through Jesus (Colossians 1:12-14)
Whatever the task, you are walking around with a favor shield, protecting you from the schemes of the devil who would love to stop you. What ever comes against you will not succeed because you are shielded by God’s favor.
God will equip you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” II Corinthians 9:8, ESV
As you look at the task in front of you, like Mary, you might ask, “How can this be?” I love how Paul told the Corinthians that through God they would have ALL sufficiency in ALL things at ALL times! Sounds pretty certain to me.
God will give you community.
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:4-5, ESV
Just as Mary and Elizabeth walked with each other on their special journeys, we also have the gift of fellow believers. We are not made to be alone. Connecting with fellow believers with similar callings is nourishing to the soul. Your faith will only grow as you see how God is already working through others who share your vision.
Praise God who calls, equips, and encourages each of us who get to be part of His story!
Podcast Version: Who, Me? By Listen Loudly
For further reading, check out Visioneering by Andy Stanley.