Luke 1:26-38 NIV
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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. 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 conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Called and Chosen
We read in Scripture that those of us who believe in Jesus with genuine faith in him are the called of God, the chosen of God. We are all called to belong to Christ and to be saints, according to God’s purpose for our lives. And God has called us to his own glory and excellence.
We are also all called into the fellowship of his Son, and we are called to freedom from our slavery to sin, to now become slaves of his righteousness. We are not called for impurity, but for holiness, and we were all called out of darkness into his wonderful light.
And God chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
[Rom. 1:6-7; 1 Co. 1:9; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:3; Eph 1:3-4; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Rom 8:28-29]
Gifts and Ministries
As followers of Jesus, not only are we the called and the chosen of God, that we should be holy and blameless before him, but we are given spiritual gifts of the Spirit, and we are assigned specific ministries (body parts) within the body of Christ by God himself (Rom 12; 1 Co 12; Eph 4).
And we are given these gifts and we are assigned these specific ministries (body parts) for the mutual edification and encouragement of the body. And we are not all the same parts nor are we all gifted in the same ways. Even if we have the same gifts, God will use them in our lives according to the assignment he has for each one of us within the body of Christ, as a whole.
And although we are all uniquely different from one another, not one of us is to think of ourselves more highly or as less than the other parts. For we are to have equal concern for one another. So, we are to neither think we are not necessary nor are we to discard other body parts.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph 4:15-16 NIV
The Lord’s Servants
You are probably wondering, at this point, what any of this has to do with the story of Mary and her calling of God. Well, it has to do everything with that. For one, we all carry the Son of God within us, not in physical form, and not as a baby, but in the person of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus left this earth and he returned to the Father, he sent the promised Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of his followers. So, when we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, who is Christ in us, the hope of glory (2 Co 13:5; Rom 8:10; Gal 2:20; Eph 3:17; Col 1:27).
And just like Mary was chosen of God to a specific assignment, the Lord has specific assignments for us as individuals, too, which are not the same as other parts of the body of Christ (as other believers).
So, we need to be listening for the Spirit’s voice speaking to us, too, and we need to not fear the Spirit’s voice, or the assignment God has for us, but we are to test what we hear, but then when we are assured we are hearing from God, we need to do what he says, too.
And we, too, need to ask the Lord to show us specifically what he wants us to do and how he wants it carried out so that we know what to do, and so that we can do what he has assigned us. But then we need to put our faith and trust in the Lord to work his will out through our lives.
The fruit of Mary’s faith was the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world. And the fruit of our faith, when we do what God has called us to do, is that we will be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God, and we will minister God’s love and grace to others who will be touched of God through us for his glory and purposes.
And we, like Mary, must submit ourselves to the will of God for our lives, even when we don’t have full knowledge or complete understanding of where this calling is going to take us or even of what it will cost us. For, it will cost us our reputations, and we may be hated and rejected, and there may be those who will want us dead, too.
But when God calls, we are to answer as Mary did, saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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