“Let it be to me as you have said.”
These words jumped out at me recently when I heard the familiar story from Luke 1: 25-38 (ESV), of the angel telling Mary she was to be the mother of Jesus. Mary is troubled by the angel’s appearance and greeting. She wonders how it can be possible. The angel comments on the child’s origin and his future, notes that God is also working a miracle in the life of her relative Elizabeth, and states, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”
Mary’s response, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.”
I always read these words as acceptance of her pregnancy. This time it occurred to me how much she was accepting beyond the pregnancy and birth — the years of raising this unique child, seeing him to adulthood and then wondering how the angel’s prophecy will be fulfilled. “Let it be. . .” connotes acceptance, and has a passive ring to it. Mary couldn’t have envisioned all that was to come, but she must have realized this was a very active role she was accepting. At the time, she didn’t know whether or not Joseph, or any other man, would partner with her in parenting Jesus. She had no idea how it would impact the rest of her life, but is willing to accept her very active role in all of it.
Mary prefaced her acceptance by identifying herself as “a servant of the Lord.” We are servants of the same Lord. Servants accept the tasks their master gives them. None of us have been given the task Mary was given, but we each are given our own tasks — tasks related to our roles in our families, to our means of making a living, to our contributions to our communities, and to the people who happen to cross out paths. Big tasks and small tasks, quick tasks and long, ongoing tasks, tasks that are easy and fun and others that are difficult and challenging.
Mary must have felt assured that the God who sent an angel to make the announcement would be with her through this daunting task of being the mother of the Son of God. The same God has promised to be with us in our everday tasks. The angel told Mary she had “found favor with God.” We, too, have found favor with God, not because of our piety or our church attendance or how well we do our tasks. We cannot earn God’s favor by any of our deeds. His favor was earned for us by that baby in Mary’s womb. As an angel told Joseph, “You will call him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.”
By the grace of God, we, too, are servants of the Lord. We, too, are given tasks. May it be to us as He has said.