Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lessons in the Night

Like most married couples with children, George and I have our best conversations late at night once the kid(s) have gone to bed. These conversations can be anything from decline of our nation to what’s for dinner tomorrow night. Most of the time it’s about our parenthood survival plan – this involves fear and trembling!

A few weeks ago we were laying there and George asked a very simple yet important question. He asked ‘Why is it that so many people seemingly worship the Virgin Mary’. I could feel myself getting in position to ‘teach’ him. I do that sometimes. George often comes to me and asks me ‘Bible’ questions and I find myself sometimes prideful because I know the answer and can enlighten him. Such a good little Christian I am.

I first explained to George that it annoys me when people call Mary ‘The Virgin Mary’… news flash, she had other children after Jesus. Their father was Joseph. She birthed them. Are you following me here? The Virgin Mary is just Mary now. Can we please post that in the bulletin this Sunday?

I then got a little more serious with him. It is a topic I have given much thought. I mean, I don’t want to give someone less honor than they deserve. Should I honor Mary more than I do? What Mary did was incredible, there is no doubt. She was the vessel for the Son of God to make His way to Earth and die for our sins. Where would we be today without that? Sacrificing lambs I suppose.

Let’s first look at what Mary was. First she ‘Highly Favored’ by God (Luke 1:28), she was good. Second she was a sinner. Romans 3:23 says ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God’. All means all. Third she was obedient. She was scared and feared what would happen to her if she carried this child, being unwed at the time. But, she was obedient to God’s call.

None of us can deny that God used Mary in a mighty way. But when you look at Mary you should rejoice and get excited. Might the Lord want to use you in a mighty way? Mary was a sinner who needed a savior. No different than you and I. Mary could have said no. You may think that she had no choice, but in her heart I believe she did. Had she not been obedient what do you think would have happened? I’ll tell you what. We would be talking about the Virgin ‘Rachel’ or ‘Hannah’ or ‘Jane’ or someone else who was obedient. When we are not obedient to God’s calling he finds someone else who will be. Mary was replaceable, lucky for her, she chose to obey.

George and I had a good talk that night. I rolled over and continued in my thoughts. I just couldn’t understand why some people, many people worship a person. Why can’t people just see that Mary is a person, much like you and I? That’s when it happened… that still, small voice. The Lord very gently pointed out to me that I am so guilty of the same thing. Huh? I don’t worship Mary!

Libby, he said, You have been striving to be an ‘Esther’ since your early 20’s. You have prayed to be like King David – to be woman after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). You have hoped to have the heart and determination of Paul. You have fallen short so often. Ouch…
He was right. It became clear to me that I, and so many Christians, look to our “Bible Hero’s” for a role model, a guide as to who we need to be. Why do I do that? There is only one person to be looking to. Jesus… as Christian’s we need to strive to be more Christ-like, not more ‘Paul-like’, ‘Esther-like’ or ‘Mary-like’. As we become more like Christ – He will increase and we will decrease (John 3:30). And when that happens, we are used in mighty ways.