When I was younger, I used to dread PE at school. It wasn’t so much that I hated exercise, but what I really hated was when we played kickball. The teacher would choose two captains, usually the most athletic kids, and then they would choose their teams. Because I wasn’t very good at kickball, I was usually picked last, and I felt unwanted, like I was a liability and not an asset to the team. Have you ever felt that way?
If you have, you might identify with how women often felt in Bible times. You’ve probably heard stories about how women were marginalized and treated as property, rather than as human beings. But then, God intervened to show that his rules about participation in Kingdom life are much different than human rules. Since God unites with what he loves, Jesus became a human being, and to do that, he chose to be born as a human baby.
This meant that a woman had to be part of the process, and the woman God chose was Mary. Some scholars say that Mary was only a teenager when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would give birth to God’s Son. Listen to what Mary said: [Look Down] “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1: 46b-49 NRSV) [Look Up] Mary was an unmarried teenage girl who was going to be pregnant with God’s Son. She wasn’t rich or powerful, but she was willing to participate as a critical part of the plan. Even before she knew how everything would work out, she said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me.”
She brought a willing heart and expected God to do “great things.” This story shows us that we don’t have to be extremely talented, rich, or outstanding to participate with God.
All we need is a willing heart and a listening ear, ready to respond as Mary did. While people might think we don’t have much to offer, God sees us as full of strengths and possibilities. In fact, it might be through our very weaknesses that God can work most powerfully.
Mary recognizes this when she says this about God: [look down] “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” ( ) [Look Up} In God’s economy first and last mean something different. We’re chosen and loved for who we are.
Made in God’s image we are invested with non-negotiable dignity and value. Like Mary, we’re asked to participate with God in bringing love to a hurting world. May you know that you are chosen by God today.
I’m Michelle Fleming, Speaking of Life.