Special Holiday Edition Monday Memo 1133: Mary
In this next lesson in our "Never Too Young for Purpose" series, let's look at a woman who figured prominently in the Christmas story, none other than Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary was a teenager when she gave birth to Jesus, so she certainly is a young person of purpose from whom we can learn a lot in our own search for purpose.
Here is the announcement that ushered in the Christmas story:
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 (Luke 1:26-38).
God made a decision that Mary was to be the mother of Jesus, and sent Gabriel to make the announcement. We don't know much about Mary since this is the first mention of her in the Bible. Put yourself in Mary's place. She was a young adult. This was undoubtedly her first encounter with an angel. She was engaged, but the angel informed her that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. With all that background, Mary asked one question and only one: "How can this be?"
The angel gave her a simple answer: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you." Mary had as much information after the question as before, for she did not have an understanding of the Spirit that we have today. All she understood was that God was going to make it happen. It's fascinating that she did not ask another question, but simply responded, "May your word to be be fulfilled." That represents great faith, which is required for anyone to find and fulfill their life's purpose.
You may think that Mary's purpose was to give birth to Jesus, but it was bigger than that. To identify her purpose, we go a little further into Luke's gospel to see the words of Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, that define Mary's purpose: "Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” It was Mary's role to oversee in faith the promises and mission of her son, Jesus.
Mary was there when the shepherds came to see Jesus, when the Magi came to worship Jesus, when Herod came to kill Jesus, when the elders of Israel listened to and marveled at 12-year-old Jesus, when Jesus began His public ministry, when Jesus was hung on a cross, and when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. If Mary's purpose was to give birth to Jesus, her purpose was finished the day He was born. Her purpose was much bigger, however, and it was a lifelong job to believe God for her Son's protection and ministry completion.
Perhaps God has shown you something about your future, but you want more information. He has showed you that you will own a business, but your family is poor or not business people. You have asked "How can this be?" and received the same answer as Mary did: "God will accomplish it." But that doesn't mean you don't have anything to do even though God will accomplish it. You now have to study business, or perhaps work in a business to learn more.
Maybe God will help you invent something even now which you will then use to start of your future business. If it's not business, then maybe it's something to do with music, education, or sports. I hope you get the idea. God will show you something, He promises to help you do it, and then you spend your time cooperating and fulfilling what God showed you. That's how God works, no matter how young or old you are.
I urge you this holiday season to reconsider Mary and her role not only in the Christmas story but also in the life of Jesus. Observe her reactions and responses, and apply them to your own life. Your role is not just to give birth to your purpose; your role is to raise it to maturity so it can bear fruit. May God be with you as we end 2023 and help you make progress on your purpose path in the coming year as never before. Have a blessed week.