Imperfect Christmas

Devotional

Humble Beginnings


By Danny Saavedra


“'Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus’ . . . . Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’”—Luke 1:30–31, 38 (NLT)


Among all the great heroes of fiction, Frodo, from The Lord of the Rings, is one of the most standout characters. Why? Because unlike Hercules, Wonder Woman, Thor, or Superman, he isn’t a huge, superpowered demigod. Unlike Anakin or Luke Skywalker, he wasn’t born with extraordinary powers. Unlike Batman, he isn’t a ripped, highly-trained ninja bajillionaire with the money to make high-tech weapons and armor. Frodo was none of those things. He was just a simple hobbit from the Shire, a naïve, kind, gentle little guy. But, as Galadriel says in The Fellowship of the Ring, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” 


Here’s the thing: What made Frodo special wasn’t his superhuman abilities, super genius, or a birthright . . . it was his willingness to step out in faith. He’s a hero among heroes because even though he knew he wasn’t equipped for this impossible task (he didn’t even know the way to Mordor), he stepped up in humility and accepted the call when it came. 


This diminutive hero embodies something so deeply biblical: God can use anyone, even the humblest, most imperfect person, to bring about the most perfect, amazing work. From the prostitute who helped the people of God enter the Promised Land, to the young shepherd boy who took down a giant, to a widow who showed incredible loyalty to her mother-in-law, to the young virgin girl from Nazareth—where some thought nothing good could come (John 1:46), whom “God blessed above all women” (Luke 1:42)—God is in the business of doing big things through the smallest, most humble of people.


So why Mary? Like Frodo, she had nothing mankind would deem as “special.” She didn’t come from a prestigious family. She wasn’t considered great among the people. But she was highly favored by God. When Gabriel told Mary she’d have a child through the Holy Spirit, her response reveals exactly why God chose her and why she was highly favored and blessed with this honor. 


In Luke 1:38 (NLT), she says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Look at the humility she displayed here! Her response to this insane, impossible, frankly terrifying news (she was a betrothed, unmarried virgin, likely between 12 and 14, when she was told she’d have a child) was “I am the Lord’s servant.” 


She knew no one would believe her, that this would likely be a scandalous and dangerous thing (Joseph could have had her publicly shamed or stoned to death for being pregnant as his betrothed, since he was not the biological father), but she trusted God. She believed in Him and His Word. She made herself available to be used by God to do His work. She knew she wasn’t equipped for the call God had given her, but she surrendered her life, will, and future into His hands, because she trusted He would be with her every step of the way.


This is all the Lord needs from us in order to accomplish wonders in our own lives and the lives of the people around us. He doesn’t need us to be highly-skilled, extremely super-qualified geniuses. He certainly uses people with amazing skills, talents, resources, and abilities just as He uses untrained fishermen, poor widows, and outcasts, but it’s not a prerequisite for Him to do His best work. Instead, God does His best work in the lives of those who are humble, available, and willing to be used. It’s not about what you can do, but what you allow Him to do in and through you. He blesses those who declare, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” 


Like Mary, we all have a part in this amazing story of redemption God is writing. We all have an amazing call to make disciples, preach the gospel, and be His witnesses. Do we have to be scholars or dynamic orators to accomplish it? No! We just need to say, “Here I am, Jesus. I’m your servant.”