Lesson 3 -- first quarter 2001
December 17, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
What place does Mary have in the church today?
We know that Scripturally, Mary has no function in the Christian church. She has never been the intermediary between Jesus and mankind. But just because millions granther that position doesn't mean that we should deny her any place in our churches. So I suggest to you some ways in which she has a place among us.
Example. When the angel came to her with God's assignment, she recognized her unworthiness. She also did not understand how this could be. And I'm sure she suspected in small measure just what this might do to her reputation at the time. But she did not allow any of these issues to deter her from obedience to God's claim on her life. God had something for her to do, so she did it. Years later she encouraged others to have the same yieldedness, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" (John 2:5). Never mind that you don't get the point of putting water in wine jars, especially for a wedding. Never mind what others will think of you for doing such a thing. Never mind any such thing; just mind Him!
Role Model. Mary knew her place . . . and that's where she wanted to be. Mary knew what she was . . . and that's what she wanted to be. Her place and her role was that of handmaid of the Lord. Do you know your place and role? And knowing it, is that what you want? Sometimes we chafe at our "lot" in life, or at the assignment God has chosen for us. Mary chose to accept His choice as her own. She did not accept it as something imposed on her against the secret desires of her heart. Rather she chose it as an immense honor and a special privilege. May God find our hearts with that kind of disposition toward His will for us!
Do our congregations today have any Marys?
Yes! Praise the Lord for blessing His church with Marys today! I hereby single out for special honor four heroines as far as I'm concerned.
Rosana served the Lord for many years in a foreign country, away from family for extended periods of time. She still serves the Lord in her community, keeping the kind of schedule and activity load that would challenge someone half her age. Many are the individuals and congregations that have been blessed by her.
Margaret also served Christ and His church in a foreign country. God used her to bless others in many ways. She had a strong influence in the church and the community there. Yet she chose to let that go so that she might care for her parents. She gave up her "career" to serve at home, away from the "action" that had been her life for so long.
Carol spent many years at her own "career" in a major conservative Mennonite publisher. She had established herself well there. In a positive sense, this had become her life. But when the need arose, she also chose to redirect her immediate focus back toward home and the care of her parents.
Vivian felt like she had found her place, serving with her parents in a foreign country. Her Mission Board had "upgraded" her status from voluntary service worker to full-term missionary. Her service was beginning to blossom. Then came the call for her help in caring for her grandparents. She too denied herself.
Of course these sisters are far from perfect. I know it and so do they. But I also know that Mary wasn't perfect either. The imperfections of the handmaid do not at all minimize her submission and surrender to God and His ways. May the Lord bless these heroines of the Lord as well as those others whom I did not mention here. And may He replicate in me their spirit of service to God and acceptance of His will.
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