“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38
In a young woman’s life there is no greater time of anticipation, excitement and joy than the few months before her marriage to the love of her life. In the midst of just such a time Mary was stunned by the message of a supernatural messenger. I have never seen an angel, but those who have, whose encounters with one or more are recorded in Scripture, have this in common, they somehow know that they are seeing and speaking to one. Mary did not go screaming out of the room, even though the angel Gabriel’s appearance and greeting was, to say the least, “greatly troubling” to her. Who wouldn’t be shocked by such an encounter? Mary’s response, however, to a message that must have sent earthquake tremors through her heart, and initially shattered the anticipatory joy in which she had been reveling, was as shocking, at least to me, as the angel appearing in the first place. It is not a response that most of us would have if we were to receive this information in the midst of such a celebratory time in a young life. Her response to the announcement that she would soon be pregnant with the Son of God, before marrying or “knowing” her beloved Joseph, is a model of genuine faith. What is more, it is the classic illustration of what it means for us to pray as Jesus lived and then taught us, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
As we begin a new year, eight years into a new millennium, I can think of no greater desire to have for our life, and for those we love. Yet is this petition of the Lord’s Prayer so common, so “by rote” for us, that it does not even come to mind when we think, “What do I want most for my life in this New Year?” And if we consider it, what does it really mean? What am I really asking when I pray for my Heavenly Father’s kingdom to come and for His will to be done on earth, in me, as it is in heaven? What does this mean for my life and my circumstances? Does it mean that my body should be healed from what ails it? Does it mean that money will magically appear to pay all my bills because reportedly heaven is free of things like debt? Does it mean that my night of depression will flee and joy in my relationships and career will replace it? How will my life change? Can I afford to pray such a prayer and want it answered? Our real quandary is whether in unspoken reality we want to substitute “my” for “thy.” “My kingdom come, my will be done.”
Admittedly the many texts of Scripture concerning God’s kingdom can be bewildering as we seek a simple interpretation to a complex subject. The kingdom is spoken of in Scripture as future, and yet present. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world, and again that it was in our midst. But Mary’s example helps us put the focus where it needs to be. God’s kingdom comes into our own life when we recognize, accept and love Him as King, not only of things external to you, but of my very own life. He rules me; He is my authority; He is in practice my sovereign; and I have perfect trust in whatever He chooses to do to me or my world. My greatest desire is that God do with me as He will and I will be joyfully content, for I know I am in good hands. This is Mary’s example. This action of God involved her heart, her feelings, her body, her health, her marriage, her life. These ceased to be her own as she responded with faith and trust; she was the Lord’s. “Be it unto me as You have said, for I am your servant.” It is very possibly not the characteristic most prominent in your life right now. But it can be your greatest desire in 2008. And if in 2008, then why not until He returns? If so, you will not be unprepared.
“Heavenly Father, in 2008 I want to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness in my life. Rule in me first of all and then in my world.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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