When my children were young I encouraged them to do their chores and school assignments “as unto the Lord” and would throw in a quick paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 9:10 often: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” I hoped to teach them to approach daily tasks with an attitude of worship; to make their beds or clean their rooms, not just for the sake of orderliness or character training but to see simple chores as an opportunity to glorify God in the accomplishment of a duty well done.
I think Mary probably approached her life that way. We don’t get a glimpse of her before she was invited to carry the Son of the Most High, but I wonder if she was given such an important assignment because, in some sense, she had a heart to trust and obey.
Gabriel issues a special greeting as he announces her blessed status as being chosen by God for this role. As such, this young Jewish girl from the small village of Nazareth embarks on a most privileged calling.
And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.’ (Luke 1:28-31)
We didn’t see Mary in her years as a child, but we have some clues in this text which indicate her approach to duty. After Gabriel exits, we see Mary immediately leave to attend to her elderly cousin Elizabeth who was in her last trimester of pregnancy (Luke 1:26–56). Most commentators think “the hill country” where Zacharias and Elizabeth lived was probably Hebron, which was no small trip—perhaps 70 miles from Nazareth.
On arriving at her cousin’s, Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting was saturated with Old Testament Scripture and covenant promises from God. This small detail gives us a peek into Mary’s personal life:
Mary loved the Word and knew it by heart. Her response to an extremely challenging assignment was worship and praise using memorized sacred texts.
Today you will have the opportunity to perform several duties. You may feel overwhelmed with some challenging assignments, perhaps face difficult obstacles. Consider each moment as an opportunity to respond in humble worship and praise.
And Mary said, ‘My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’ (Luke 1:46-47)
What is your response to today’s tough assignments?