Luke 1:38 – “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
It has happened so, so, so many times.
I hear this little voice in my head that encourages me to do something.
“Go visit this person.”
“Take five minutes and make the call.”
“Send a card and tell them you are thinking of them.”
“Share some of your resources with this person.”
“Be willing to help this person out.”
Occasionally, I get it right and listen to that still, quiet voice.
Other times? Not so much.
I’m too busy. I won’t get done what I think needs to be done today. It might be uncomfortable. Is this God’s voice speaking to me or someone else?
I get it. Sometimes, it’s hard to know whether that little voice needs to be heard or quieted. Honored or pushed to the back burner. Accepted or neglected.
On the days I actually listen and follow the nudging? So many of them turned out better than I could have expected.
Someone says the drop-in visit was “just what they needed.” Or the other person was thinking of reaching out to me. Possibly, I even get a card back in the mail. How touching is this!
In our noisy and over-fluffed lives, it becomes increasingly difficult to know and hear the right voice. Often, I spend more time debating with myself if the voice is God’s nudging or my own deliberation that doing the actual event would require.
One person who got it right was Mary, Jesus’ mother. An angel appears to her. Talk about a grand entrance! We justify that we would also get it right if the messenger was that noticeable! But it’s just not the noteworthy messenger that drew Mary’s attention. It was what the messenger said that became convincing.
Imagine being given the honor of being the Messiah’s birth mother. You are a terribly poor, early teenager who only hopes your future husband will treat you OK. This would be setting the bar high.
Until the angel arrived. And told you this ridiculous story that you were pregnant! AND with the Son of God! Seriously?
Mary does the only thing she knows what to do when God has a big ask: she says, “Yes.”
Mary sees her most important life role is to be the Lord’s servant. Whatever he asks of Mary, she will do. Period. Including being a potentially unwed mother to the Son of God.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary says. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Notice what didn’t happen. No begging for a different job. No negotiating for something less strenuous or taxing. No debating if she is really pregnant. She simply says, “Yes. I’m Your servant.”
Clearly, Mary’s messenger was more forthright and accurate than those voices in the back of my brain. But even with those voices, I am trying to set the terms rather than letting God take over. I’m not as quick to respond as Mary. And certainly, I ask a lot more questions than she did.
“No problem,” Mary says. “It’s my job.”
Maybe, God will ask you to do something extra. Out-of-the-ordinary. Above and beyond this Advent. What will your answer be? Will you try and negotiate a better deal? Pretend you didn’t hear the request? Decide it’s someone else’s job?
Or will you say, “I am Your servant, God. May I fulfill what you ask me to do.”
It’s up to you. Me. Us. Will we answer the voice this Advent?
For Mary’s selfless example of serving God and God’s kingdom, I am grateful.
Dear God – We hear those voices in our brains and try to will and justify them away. Maybe it was a simple request. Or possibly it was a bigger ask. Either way, help make Your voice clear to me this Advent. May I respond as graciously as Mary did. Amen.