Several weeks ago I introduced the idea of sharing a series of blog posts on the topic of intentional role models. All of us would agree that our world is in great need for men and women of character that we can observe and imitate. Coming out of Mother’s Day weekend, now is a good time to turn our attention back to such an important topic.
This post comes at a pivotal time for me and my family. The reason I have not posted the past few weeks is that my own mother recently had a heart attack and spent 22 days in the hospital. Even now that she is home, recovery is progressing slowly, but it is progressing and to that we give praise to God and thank the many who have lifted her up in prayer.
I am one of the blessed who can say that I have had a great role model of faith, commitment and strength in my mother. Not everyone can say that. However, whether protestant or catholic, Christ-follower or skeptic, religious or nonreligious, there is a mother recognized by the entire world as a role model that it would do us well to learn from – Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider Mary and her story. She, favored of the LORD Himself, appointed as a teenager to give birth to the Son of God. Consider her strength of character and faith as she faced the judgmental glares of her community, the skeptics and very likely many in her own family who questioned her telling of the angel’s proclamation and the Holy Spirit conceiving in her virgin womb. Not to mention, the family dynamics that she would endure for the next 33 years as she began her married life to Joseph and then other children brought into the picture. It’s interesting to note that the Scriptures teach that the brothers of the Lord Jesus did not believe Him to be the Messiah until after His resurrection (John 7:5). I’m sure this made for some very interesting family gatherings.
One can only imagine the animosity that brothers James, Jude, Joseph and Simon held toward Jesus as they grew up hearing their mother recount the immaculate conception, the visits from the shepherds and the wise men from the east. Yet, through it all, Mary stood loving, firm and consistent. After Jesus’ resurrection we find Mary, along with Jesus’ brothers, in an upper room praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit to be given and the church to be born ( Acts 1:14). The brothers went from skeptics to faithful followers, devoting their lives to serving the Lord Jesus Christ and I believe the influence of their mother had much to do with their remarkable transformation.
Mary is a Mother who was devoted to her children and devoted to her Lord. The word devoted can be defined as: Profound Dedication, (Dictionary.com)
Let’s Discover 5 Lessons on Devotion from the Mother of Jesus.
- Devotion says – God HONORS My Devotion to Him.
Luke 1: 28-30, (NASB), “And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”
Mary was a product of an out-of-the-way town called Nazareth who lived in poverty but one day learned a valuable lesson -she learned that God knew her name. He knew her, loved her and saw her devotion to Him.
Notice how she responded:
Luke 1: 46-48, (NASB), “And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.”
I don’t know about you, but if I had similar encounter with an angel, I probably would be shaking in my shoes, but not Mary. She burst out in praise to God and willing accepted the plan of God. Now, was there any fear or apprehension about the future and the angel made known to her what was about to happen? I would think so. Wouldn’t you be? Most likely, Mary was only twelve to fifteen years of age and if the community did not believe her story, she could be divorced from Joseph, forced into slavery, or even worst, stoned to death.
Mary must have known in her heart:
FEAR AND DIFFICULTY CANNOT NEGATE THE POWER OF GOD!
God has a plan for you. It won’t always be easy, but God will always be faithful and His power is greater than the obstacles that come.
2. Devotion says – I Will TRUST the LORD.
Luke 1: 37-38, (NASB), “For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
We learn something very valuable about her in vs. 38. Notice the word, “bondslave”- this means: “Voluntarily enslaved.”
Mary was willing to accept whatever the will of God was and she walked by faith believing and obeying God’s Word. She didn’t proceed forward from a perception that she had no choice in the matter, her heart revealed that she wanted to do God’s will. What a great lesson to learn. God wants us to trust and obey because we desire to do so, not because we feel we have no other option. I’m sure that is why God looked upon her and called her, “highly favored.”
3. Devotion says – I Will Get INVOLVED
Watch this….12 years later…
Luke 2: 48-49, (NASB), “When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” 49 And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
She was involved in his life and when her kids went missing, she took notice. I did this once. I was three or four years old and my mom realized the house was too quiet. She got to looking and I was gone. After some frantic minutes that felt like decades, my aunt and uncle who lived a block down the street sent word that I was sitting at their kitchen table eating. Notice, I said I did this ONCE.
Research shows that parents who are involved in the lives of their children:
- Do better in school and have higher test scores.
- Have better behavior – lower rates of substance use and delinquent acts.
- Have greater social skills – higher self-esteem.
- More balanced emotional health.
4. Devotion says – I Will Keep on TRYING
This should give all of us some hope. Mary was highly favored from the Lord, but she was human just like the rest of us and had to face decision making head on.
In Mark 3, we read of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He was preaching, healing the sick and appointing His disciples. Some from the hometown of Jesus came to take Him away saying that He was out of His mind….Notice what the Scriptures say next…
Mark 3: 31-33, (NASB), “Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33 Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?”
Mary came to get Jesus away from the commotion and the crowds – Jesus didn’t go. It wasn’t that she didn’t want Jesus to do the ministry He was sent to do, but in the moment, I’m sure she was simply wanting to protect her son from the mob gathering in the streets.
Mary wasn’t weak and timid. She was involved and ready to tackle issues head on. Living a life of devotion doesn’t mean we will always make the right decision or handle ourselves in the most efficient manner, but it does mean that we keep on trying and we don’t give up.
One final lesson on devotion Mary teaches all of us…
5. Devotion says – I Will Never Stop BELIEVING
John 19: 25, (NASB), “But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
I cannot even begin to imagine how Mary felt standing at the cross and reflecting back over the past 33 years of her life. One thing we do know, she never stopped believing in her Son. She never stopped trusting that God was with her…that God had a plan…that God would keep His Word and that her son would come out of that tomb – and He did!
- God will honor my devotion to Him.
- I will trust the LORD.
- I will Get involved
- I will keep on trying
- I will never stop believing