“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ . . .” Luke 1: 38
We’ve all been there! You know, the church Christmas Pageant, the children’s choir program, or the beautiful Christmas cantata at some point in our lives has moved us to, at least for a moment celebrate or acknowledge the birth of Christ – if we believe Him for who He is.
We’ve all experienced some act of kindness, some moment of generosity, some sentiment, again if we believe, in which we felt gratitude for the Christ of Christmas and His gift of life to us.
But, what if the tables were turned, and instead of being on the convenient side of receiving His blessings, which are abundant, He, directly or indirectly (by His Holy Spirit, and Angel of the Lord, etc.) spoke to us, and said, “You’ve been chosen to complete a work which will be costly, but unbelievably and eternally rewarding.” What would we do or say?
Get this picture. Again, we love to couch this entire event of Christ’s arrival, God come to earth in the flesh, with a huge pile of warm and fuzzy at Christmastime.
Nonetheless, let’s evaluate for a minute. A young teenage woman found so faithful in her faith is called out to bear a child – and she’ not married! The young man she’s engaged to gets word that he’s got to endure the ridicule of the social order of the day because NO ONE is going to buy this “Conceived of the Holy Spirit” line, carte blanche. . . and the list of players could go on and on – you know the story.
Yet the fact remains, these folks had to step up and step out of EVERYTHING which was a social norm, be accused of violating a moral code, surrender their daily lives to an absolute upheaval of biblical proportion. (Pun intended. Lol!)
In reflection, I have to ask myself what I would have done, or what would I do today. God placed an irrevocable call on my life in January of 1992. Not that what He asked of me was in anyway on the same plane as the commitment He asked of those who were a part of His earthly arrival in flesh, but I recall guys talking in seminary. “Man, I knew God had called me to ministry, but I was scared to say YES! I didn’t want to surrender to ministry and then have God send me to Africa to live in a grass hut or something. I wanted a church ministry call.” The accounts and stories were many.
To the point, that sounds a lot like you and me, or at least the majority of those who fill pews out of convenience each Christmas season. It’s “all good,” this serving God thing, by showing up at church, singing a few songs, writing an occasional check, and going on a week-long mission trip with the youth. You know the drill!
BUT, WHAT IF!!?? The question begs. What if God were to get in your face or mine as He commanded Gabriel to share with Mary? What if we were called out for a literal life-altering mission of ministry like Joseph, Zacharias, Elizabeth and the others included in this historical event?
You see, my friend, the bottom line gets hard here. The way that we experience the true glory and majesty of all that God has for us is by putting ourselves in a place of absolute surrender.
Letting go of me is not easy!! I say it often from the pulpit. Our personal petty preferences will not be honored by God but will keep us from experiencing all that He has planned for us.
Can you just imagine? No! None of us can. Mary, at the birth of Christ, realizing that she has been God’s vessel to deliver salvation to the world, and she is now holding the very Son of God who was there when He created her. . . Yep! We’re all guilty, and in their own place, the events and experiences of Christmas which warm our hearts, make us feel good, and allow us unique opportunities to reflect the same King of the Universe of whom we’ve read are great.
However, if we stop God there, what will we miss? “I don’t think God wants me to minister there.That’s the wrong side of town. Surely, God wouldn’t ask me to do that!! It would mean a career change, a total change of lifestyle for my family, and we’re really comfortable.”
The scenarios could be endless in the writing, but in truth, we’ve all winced at one moment or another at the thought of God calling us to make a deep and transforming commitment, all for His Glory.
This Christmas season, my friend, I simply ask that you look a little deeper. Examine beyond the “sweet manger scene” on the lawn of the church and the warm feeling you get by seeing the same. Ask yourself. “Would I?” “IF God called me out to some major, life altering task, all for the expansion of His fame, glory, and renown, would I be faithful enough to say, as Mary said, ‘Let it be to me according to Your word.’”
I pray for you, and me, His richest and best in this Christmas season and as the New Year unfolds, but I also pray that we would find ourselves surrendered, REGARDLESS of the tasks He may call us to, in His service.
For the King,
I Cor. 9:16
Rev. Royce R. Lott, Jr. is senior pastor of FBC Satartia and Social/Emotional Behavioral Education Curriculum Coordinator for HoD MS. All comments should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org