In response to the angel’s announcement that she was chosen to give birth to the Saviour of the world, Mary replied with humility, “I am the servant of the Lord, may it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38). Despite all the potential problems that a pregnant, unwed woman could face in a religious world that upheld the Law of Moses, Mary trusted God to take care of whatever would happen. She knew that her first problem would be Joseph. Would he believe her story that she was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit? Only God could convince him and that he did.
Every Christian can take an example from Mary’s humility and servanthood as we aspire to be servants of the Lord. Humility is the chief characteristic of a servant of God. The opposite of humility which is pride is hated and opposed by God. Meekness distinguishes itself in other qualities that should grace the lives of God’s servants. Imagine Joseph taking Mary from her village to Bethlehem near the time for the birth of her child. Then on arrival in Bethlehem, there is no comfortable place to stay and the baby is on its way. It is unthinkable in today’s world for a woman to have a baby amongst animals. That was more than enough to make the average woman upset. However, Mary maintained a calm and meek disposition in her misfortune, an attitude which Peter urged Christian women to exhibit 1Pet.3:4). She was truly humble.
Izaak Walton wrote, “God has two dwellings; one in heaven and the other in a meek and thankful heart.”
A servant of the Lord is grateful. The words of Mary as recorded by the evangelist Luke in his gospel told the joy and happiness that engulfed Mary. She expressed her gratitude and jubilation that God has remembered his people. He had not deserted them but had fulfilled his promise which he gave centuries before. Her praise was towards God and not toward herself.
A faithful servant of the Lord trusts God. Mary believed God completely. She did not argue with the angel to get God’s will modified to suit her. She just accepted God’s will. Even Elizabeth, her cousin, commented on Mary’s faith in what God said through the angel.(Luke 1:45).
The Lord’s servant is obedient to God. Mary was obedient to God’s words. The angel told Mary to name the child Jesus(Luke1:31). In obedience to this command, Mary and Joseph called the child Jesus (Luke2:21). In obedience to the Law of Moses which they had covenanted with God to observe, they had the child circumcised and consecrated to God’s service Luke2:21-24).
A servant of God does not quarrel (2Tim.2:24). But she was thoughtful, reflective and meditated on the beautiful things of God. When the shepherds visited baby Jesus in the stable, Mary listened intently to their story. Mary must have been captivated by their heart-warming message of how the angels delivered the good news of the birth of the Saviour to them. She treasured their contribution in her heart for the rest of her life (Luke2:19). Luke recorded the occasion when Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem when his family was returning home from the feast of Passover. After realising that he was missing, his parents had to return to Jerusalem to find him. When asked why he had inconvenienced the family in that way, Jesus replied that he had to be about his Father’s business. Mary could have scolded him and quarrel until she reached home. Instead, she pondered all that transpired and kept it in her heart (Luke2:51).
Mary was a faithful servant of the Lord, chosen and equipped for the task of being the mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God has called many to his service. All are required to be humble, faithful, grateful and obedient servants like Mary, mother of our Lord.