28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1: 28
There is so much in this passage of Scripture that we can meditate on. This morning, however, I would like to focus on the first words Gabriel spoke to Mary...the greeting: "you are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
WOW! what a way to start a conversation! I mean, really?!
You know, I am a rather socially awkward person. I never know how to act among people, especially people I don't know well. I'm too concerned about making the right impression. The thing is, I'm not sure what "the right impression" really is? How am I supposed to be like? Funny? Serious? Caring? Compassionate? Smart? Intellectual? Academic? Knowledgeable? Dumb? Plain? All of the above?
Do you know what I mean? Maybe not. Sometimes I wonder if I'm among the few and far-betweeners who struggle with self-consciousness and who feel socially challenged. Sigh... everyone around me seems so sure of themselves. And here I am, full of insecurities...full of a sense of inadequacy that often leaves me empty inside...sigh...
Here's this angel, carrying a divine message to this young girl. Of course He doesn't care about first impressions. He is an angel sent directly from God! His business card says: Heaven on it. Of course he is OK giving Mary such a greeting. Of course he is not faced by her being "troubled" by it. He knows who he is and he knows his role in life. He has a purpose: a God-given purpose. He doesn't have to worry about finding the right words to make a good first impression. He just needs to make an impression so this girl would listen to him. And listen she does.
To be more like Gabriel...sigh... it's like all those Hallmark Christmas movies, where there are angels that come to earth to make life easier for the protagonists or to teach life-lessons...they all have a special role, and important one...so even if they make mistakes, it's all OK in the end because they are moved by a higher power...sigh...
The thing is, I should not be jealous of Gabriel...or of any angel, for that matter (especially the ones on TV). Though Scripture suggests that humans might be lower than angels, see Hebrews 2: 6-7 where it is implied that by Jesus becoming man, He lowered below angels...mankind is made in the image of God! We bear His image. Angels are in a whole other category. We are God's poem. We are His masterpiece! (Ephesians 2: 10). That is our purpose: to be the work of His hands! There is no greater joy and role than that!
Jesus didn't become a man to save angels! He became a man, went through the hardship of being human and died a gruesome death for me and for you...what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8: 4 Well, mankind is the object of God's love!
God's love for humanity calls for a response: humility.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
That's the one thing I must keep in mind: to be humble. The love that God bestows on me has nothing to do with who I am. It is all about Who He Is! Therefore, I humble myself in front of Him and in front of His beloved, as a servant of the Most High. That is my role!
Feelings of inadequacy...jealousy...envy...and all those sensations that emerged to the surface of our lives fueled by our insecurities must dissipate as we meditate on the greatest love of all: God's love...for...
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Dear Lord, help me...help us...accept the truth: You Love Us! Please, allow us to live liked we are loved, because we are...we ARE highly favored, and the Lord IS with us...Emmanuel. Hallelujah! Amen!