A friend in my Bible study voiced something profound yesterday.
I won’t get her words entirely right, but she talked about the word picture she has in her mind. It’s of us sitting on shelves on a wall in a room. God walks into the room and comes to each of us individually and says, “Today I’m going to need you, Barbara, in this particular situation. Suzie, I need you in this other circumstance, and, Dana, you’ll be best used in this one over here.”
He chooses a few more for His work for that day. After all, He already knows the gifts and talents we have because He gave them to us. He knows what we’re best at, and He also knows if we’ll be willing to come down off the shelf and be used by Him.
Will you and I willingly come down off the shelf or will we refuse?
Will we gladly go where He’s asking or will we cling to the shelf? Items that stay on a shelf tend to collect dust. At least they do in our home. Will you and I continue to be flexible and be willing to grow as God uses us, or will we be ones who will find ourselves covered in dust from sitting too long? I doubt the thought of being covered in dust thrills any of us.
But, what does this have to do with Christmas?
Well, in the account of the first Christmas, Mary is one who willingly came down off the shelf. God picked Mary to be the mother of the Savior of the world, and…
Mary said yes to God.
When Gabriel first came to her, she responded with confusion and fright.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:30-33
You may read the full account of Luke 1:26-38 here.
Engaged to Joseph, young Mary was a virgin. I can’t blame her for asking how in the world could this happen. Physically it was impossible, but it wasn’t impossible for God. Gabriel explained how the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the baby would be the very Son of God.
Mary’s response continues to amaze me each time I read it:
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38
The Living Bible says it this way:
“I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.”
Mary’s example is simply beautiful. I can’t help but ask myself, am I willing to do whatever God wants? I think I am, but am I?
How about you, friend? Is there something God is asking you to do? Is He asking you to follow Him in a certain direction? Could He be stirring within you something new or different? Maybe something out of your comfort zone? Is God asking you to come off the shelf?
It may not be to carry God’s Son in your womb, but it may feel just as overwhelming. It may feel huge in this moment, and impossible, and scary. And a whole lot of other emotions.
I can only imagine Mary might have felt some of the same as God called her to come off the shelf.
Will we follow Mary’s example?
If I may encourage us, God knows what He’s doing. Nothing is impossible for Him. If He’s calling us to do a particular thing, He will equip us to do it. We can trust Him in this. If He chooses to use us, may we be willing to do whatever He wants. Especially during this Christmas season.
I pray we follow Mary’s example.
Merry Christmas, my friend!