Choosey God

We are on the final leg of our Advent journey. Today is the fourth, and final, Sunday in Advent, and, Christmas Day is several hours away. The journey of waiting and anticipation has its hiatus the familiar singing of carols such as “Joy to the world the Lord is come,” heralding Jesus’ birth.

Any birth, symbolises’ new life, new beginnings and new possibilities. Which is why the following texts from Luke’s gospel are important.

28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.

38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

Luke 1:28-30, 38

The text relates the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary to relay to her she is the recipient of divine favour. What I find interesting is that Mary, according to the angel Gabriel, is favoured by God, even before she says “yes” to God. It may be assumed that God’s favour is earned by what we can do for God; or how good and obedient we are; or that those blessed by God have the wherewithal to be able to bless God back. However, that is not the case with Mary. It has been suggested that Mary has been chosen by God because she has nothing; she is a young girl in a society that values males; she identifies herself as lowly and poor (Luke 1:48). If there are any lessons to be learnt about God in all of this, it is this, God is choosey!

In human terms, Mary does not fit the bill of most popular in class or a candidate to receive accolades and favour, quite simply, because she is unable able to return the favour. However, Gods ways and thoughts are not like human ways and thinking. God turns all our assumptions upside down. God notices Mary, God favours her, God blesses her, God has great plans for her. God is choosey! An important dynamic in all of this, for ourselves, is to accept that God chooses you.  God notices you, favours you and blesses you and has great plans for you. Recognising this goes a long way towards nurturing self-belief to step out and do great things for God. Mary’s experience of divine favour is an example of what can happen when you believe that God notices you, favours you and blesses you; and then you could change the world!

Friends, how was 2017 for you? Did you feel like a nobody? Nothing? I pray that Mary’s story will help you realise the nobody’s of this world are somebody’s in Gods sight. God is so choosey! My challenge for you is to dare you to accept that God has chosen you. God notices you, God blesses you and God has an important task for you. You may be asking, what task might that be? Well, consider this, how about choosing someone, noticing someone, be a blessing to them and showing favour towards them. It may be challenging initially, but as you persist you will help change lives and play a part in helping to change the world one person at a time.

Finally, thank you for journeying with me over these ten months I have been your new minister. Being the ‘new kid’ on the block, it’s great to know I am supported by you and that I’m in your thoughts and prayers continually, just as you are in mine. I pray for you and your families a blessed and peaceful Christmas. Joy to the world the Lord is come!

Grace and peace.

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