Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Servants


A Servant Spirit

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” — Luke 1:38 (ESV)

As a woman and as a mother, I am in awe of young Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

Mary was favored by God. This translated to a life of responsibility and hardship rather than ease from suffering. Yet the Bible shows her as accepting of hardship! I say I want God’s favor, but I tend to seek life’s pleasantries. How did this teenager respond in surrender to the news of forthcoming life hijacking?

The Gospel of Luke gives detail to Mary’s story. She’s legally pledged to a man named Joseph, perhaps carrying out her daily duties to her family whilst excitedly gathering goods for her dowry. I imagine she’s daydreaming about her future when there is a knock at her door ... an interruption. God sends His angel Gabriel to Mary. Surprise quickly shifts to confusion as he addresses her.

“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28 ESV)

Mary is greatly troubled with what the angel is saying. The word used for “greetings” in Greek is chairo, which means, “rejoice.” Gabriel isn’t just showing up with a “Hi!” He brings excitement to the scene! It’s as if Gabriel is arriving for a surprise party.

The Greek word for “favored one” is kecharitōmenē, meaning, “to make graceful.” Effectively, Gabriel told Mary, “Rejoice, God is making you great!” That would be shocking and confusing to hear, yet exciting too! However, God’s plan for Mary doesn’t look like the world’s definition of greatness nor standard married life.

Gabriel goes on to reassure this young girl of God’s love and presence with her as he lays out God’s plan for a miraculous pregnancy. She listens to the details of what it means to be blessed. Privilege means responsibility.

My worldly-trained mind has deceived me into believing that if I am a good person, God’s favor will make my life easier. That’s not what God’s messenger told Mary. Mary was chosen to sacrifice her body, marriage and personal plans for the King of the Most High. I struggle with giving up my wants.

Yet Mary’s question is “How will this happen?” The “how” is in the Holy Spirit.

Let’s read Luke 1:35 (ESV): And the Angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

The Holy Spirit will come over you ... overshadow you. Mary was to be enveloped by the Holy Spirit ... God’s Spirit overshadowing Mary’s.

“Overshadow” is the key to my locked heart. By that one word, I’m moved to ask myself this question: Who’s Spirit is most important, my spirit or God’s Holy Spirit?

It occurs to me that I have been looking at events of both Mary’s life and my own as difficult without giving much attention to God’s overshadowing of the situation. I have overrated each challenge and underplayed God’s role in them, staring so long at the hurt that I miss the Love.

My spirit has been overshadowing.

Mary responds, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV). She knows her place. This teenage girl knows that she is a servant. She wants a Lord. She chooses to be overshadowed! That’s how and why she surrendered!

Who better to raise Jesus than a mother accepting her role as a servant? Jesus was raised a servant by a servant! Mary parented by example. Mary chose God’s will over her own saying “Yes, Father.”

Mary’s willingness to serve her Lord and be obedient to His will still applies to us today. I think of the time when one child needed medicine and another financial help, a friend asked for prayer or a neighbor sought work. And to all of those needs, I thought nothing of responding, “Let me help.” Caring for these needs became the priority, my desires overshadowed by serving others.

Maybe God is making me great too, with each opportunity to serve!

This Christmas season, light is shed on a fully surrendered Mother (Mary) and Child (Jesus Christ as a baby). Awe is appropriate! This story of Jesus encourages our hearts. It’s as if Gabriel has come to each of us saying, “Rejoice! God is making you great!”

We, too, can choose to accept our role as servant and trust the Holy Spirit’s power to overshadow ours. Please join me in the surrender to God by praying that His will be done according to His Word. Let’s ask God that we may have the spirit of a servant too!

~*~
Author Bio:
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

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