Ordinary and Undeserving
There was nothing particularly unusual about Mary. She was not from a wealthy or illustrious family. When the angel appeared to this young teenage girl, she was engaged to be married and was undoubtedly doing what engaged girls do—dreaming of being married to Joseph, of the home they would live in, of the family they would have. I don’t believe she was expecting her life to be used in any extraordinary way.
The significance of Mary’s life was not based on any of the things our world values so highly—background, physical beauty, intelligence, education, natural gifts and abilities. It was Mary’s relationship to Jesus that gave her life significance. “The Lord is with you,” the angel told her (Luke 1:28, niv). That is what made all the difference in this young woman’s life. And it is what makes all the difference in our lives.
God did not choose this young woman because she was worthy of the honor of being the mother of the Savior. The angel said to Mary, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!” (v. 28). That phrase could be translated, “you who are graciously accepted.” If any of us is to be accepted by God, it will be because of grace—not because of anything we have done.
It’s all because of grace. Over and over again in Scripture, we see that God chooses people who are undeserving. God didn’t look down from heaven and say, “I see a woman who has something to offer Me; I think I’ll use her.” Mary did not deserve to be used by God; to the contrary, she marveled at God’s grace in choosing her.
The moment we cease to see ourselves as undeserving instruments, chances are we will cease to be useful in the hand of God.
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