26 “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:26-27)
Let’s take a quiz? And you thought we were done with surprises? Surprise!
Pull a sheet of paper out of the memory bank of your mind and answer the following questions:
- Who taught Max Lucado to write?
- Who visited Dwight L. Moody at a Chicago shoe store and spoke to him about Christ?
- Who gave Michael W. Smith piano lessons?
- Who refreshed the Apostle Paul in that Roman dungeon as he wrote his last letter to Timothy? (2 Timothy 4:17).
- Who was responsible for leading R.C. Sproul to Christ?
- What art teachers encouraged Terry Redlin and Thomas Kinkade to pursue their dreams and refine their God given talents?
- Who were the parents of the godly and gifted prophet Daniel?
- Who encouraged John MacArthur to pursue the pastoral ministry?
- Who encouraged Charles Billingsley to sing?
- Who was the elderly woman who prayed for Billy Graham for over twenty years?
Before you excuse your inability to answer these questions by calling this quiz “trivia”, let’s stop and think. Had it not been for these unknown people, a huge chunk of church history would be missing and a lot of lives would remain untouched.
You will notice I refer to these individuals as unknown people. Unknown to us perhaps, but not to their loved ones and certainly not unknown to God. By the way, they are not, and were not, nobodies. They were “somebodies” God used and perhaps is still using. In short, they are (were) servants. In many ways, servants of God. They were obedient to His leading, and fervent in their serving.
So today, as we ponder the thought of “When God Chooses You to Serve Him”, ask God what He wants you to do. If you listen closely, and pray obediently, He will reveal His answer.
God chooses ordinary people to serve Him. People just like you and me. People just like a girl named Mary. How does God go about choosing people to serve Him? First of all, He finds you. What do we know about Mary the young girl God found and chose to use?
To begin with, she lived in Nazareth. Nazareth was a town located approximately 22 miles east from the Mediterranean Sea and 15 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It was located in the lower region of Galilee. It was surrounded by hills. It was a small town: not a capital but rather a village.
Nazareth had a reputation during the first century. It was known for bad morals and bad religion. The overall perspective of Jewish people at the time regarding Nazareth can best be summed up by Jesus’ disciple Nathaniel: “And Nathanial said to him (Phillip), Can anything good come out of Nazareth” (John 1:46)? Yet the Prophet Isaiah wrote that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. This was a Hebrew reference of the Messiah being from the “branch of David.”
Second, she was a virgin. The Greek word for virgin, παρθένον (Parthenon), means an unmarried person, in this case a female. In other words, Mary had never engaged in sexual intercourse: voluntary or otherwise.
Third, she was engaged or betrothed to a man named Joseph. The Jewish betrothal period, called the Kuddushin, was an arranged engagement. Their legally bound marriage ceremony had yet to take place. This was called the Huppa. It would be like our modern weddings and receptions. However, the celebration would often last seven days. This would be what Jesus and His disciples attended in John 2:1-11.
Mary and Joseph would not have had any physical relationship. They lived in separate homes. The Kuddushin lasted approximately a year. The purpose of this engagement period of time was to prove the fidelity of both individuals.
Mary had been solemnly promised to a man whose name was Joseph. He belonged to the family of David (Matthew 1:1-17). They in a real sense were “legally married.” If either partner proved unfaithful, or other problems arose, then a formal bill of divorcement was required to nullify the betrothal contract.
Mary could very well have been in her teens. Marriages and betrothals in their culture were arranged at a young age. Betrothals often occurred when girls were as young as twelve or thirteen. Perhaps because of her maturity, Mary could have been in her late teens. We can only speculate.
What about you? Where, when and how did God find you? What were the circumstances which led Him to not only convert you but to begin using you? Take time to reflect on God’s usage of you through the years. Thank Him for the privilege it is to serve the One, True God.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!