Posted by Craig Borlase on 25 November 2016

When it came to being used by God to save the world, there were some very clear reasons why Mary might have counted herself out. She was young. And she was female. And she was poor.

How poor? This poor:

‘When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
[Luke 2:22-24, NIV]

Instead of sacrificing a lamb as part of the ritual purification process for their child, Mary and Joseph were forced to go for the bargain bins and offer instead a pair of pigeons (an option for the poor that’s outlined in Leviticus 12:8).

We all have some good reasons for ruling ourselves out. Our past, our failures, our doubts and fears, our age, wage, insecurities or pains.

But God has a different line by which he judges our suitability. No-one is excluded from being part of God’s plan. As he reminded Samuel when he went to anoint the shepherd boy who was to be king of Israel… ‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ [1 Samuel 16:7]

Before anything else, God looks for a changed heart.

And that’s what he found in Mary.

A young woman who was willing and able to risk everything – her marriage, her future, her place in society, her role as a mother – for the sake of trusting God.

A person living in poverty, who embraced generosity.

All of us are broken. None of us are overqualified for the work that God would involve us in. And yet all of us are invited.

Into what? Perhaps, like Mary, our background and God’s calling might not appear to be directly aligned. Or perhaps, like David, we’ll be surrounded by others who look like they could do the job better.

What matters is the heart. What matters is that we say ‘yes’ to God. Even today, Even now.

More like this

the Friday Pickle - will we sing for the slaves whose voices are silenced?

There’s a long history of slaves worshipping through song. From the freshly-freed Israelites in Exodus 15 to the sounds of the Negro spirituals expressing the hope of going home, their songs have become ours. Is that still true for today's slaves?

The Friday Pickle - how do you know when it's time to step back?

Christian ministry has little time for empire building or power-hoarding - or, at least it shouldn’t. Talk to any church leader working today, and they’ll tell you about the significant impact that generous leaders played in their lives. These were the people who handed over power, who let the young punks take the microphone, who took risks for the sake of the Kingdom and who knew that being a servant leader was more about being a Jesus-directed servant than it was a power-hungry leader.

How do you deal with criticism?

Whether you call them haters or Spiritual Opposition, we all encounter people who don’t like what we do as much as we do. How do you handle yours?