The Secret to Doing Great Things for God

Mark E. Moore
Mark E. Moore | Proverbs 31 Ministries

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”

Luke 1:38 (ESV)
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Even if I’ve never met you, I bet I know something about you: You want your life to matter — to you, to others and especially to God!

I think we all do. That’s how I feel now, and it’s certainly how I felt when I started out in ministry. From the beginning, I wanted to do great things and make a big difference in the world — somehow.

Despite my desire for making an impact in a big way, my first ministry experience was in a small church on the south side of San Antonio, Texas. Our average attendance and average age were about the same at 68. Although I dreamed of a day when I could influence the masses, I had no vision of how to get there. I was a young buck of 23 with oversized dreams and undersized confidence.

The problem isn’t our desire to make a difference. After all, our desire for significance comes from the Creator Himself. He wove it into our spiritual DNA. It drives the majority of decisions we make: what kind of education we choose, what jobs we pursue and what relationships we build.

The difficulty, however, is that we want to be better than we currently are. This is certainly true for me. I doubted my ability to do much that matters because I come from a no-name family, and because I didn’t go to a big, well-known college, and because others around me had high levels of education — because, because, because.

The only “because” I left out of the equation was the one that mattered: because of God! That’s why the story of Mary, Jesus’ mother, is so inspiring. She shows us the way to do big things for God, not because of who we are but because of God.

Mary is honored throughout the world today. Yet there’s a huge gap between her biography and her legacy. She lived in Nazareth, a small town the locals laughed at. (John 1:46) She was a peasant girl; her fiancé was a day laborer. Yet God chose her to give birth to His Son.

No wonder she was confused when the angel Gabriel greeted her: “… O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28, ESV). Then Gabriel made a wonderful and frightening announcement: Mary was going to have a child. But not just any child — an extraordinary child. He would be Mary’s son by birth but God’s Son by vocation and incarnation. That means He would sit on David’s throne as the greatest King of Hebrew history. His Kingdom would extend into eternity, having no boundaries in space and time.

Mary asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34, ESV). After all, virgins don’t give birth. Nonetheless, the God who spoke life into existence could certainly populate a single womb with a word. As the angel Gabriel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, ESV).

This was the power of God coming upon Mary, creating life in her womb as He had created life on Earth with His word in Genesis 1.

What made Gabriel’s promise frightening is that Mary was engaged. In Jewish culture, engagement was a legally binding contract, and a pregnancy would break that. Her reputation would be that of a sexually sinful woman. And according to the Mosaic law, Mary could have been stoned for adultery if she were unfaithful to her fiancé. (Leviticus 20:10) Yet without hesitation, she replied, “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38a). Read that carefully. She was wishing that God’s will would prevail regardless of the cost.

There’s an important lesson here: The impact of your life is determined not by your ability but by your availability. God has a plan for you that’s based on His goodness, not your greatness. Mary was willing to offer her life to God. That willingness is the only thing we need to be used by God for big things.

Mary risked her plans, her reputation and her very life to submit to God’s will. When we follow Christ, we will inevitably risk something as well.

Will you risk your relationships to do something big for God?
Will you sacrifice your comfort to leave a legacy?
Will you put your reputation on the line to make a difference for God?

There’s no other path into God’s purpose than our submission: “Let it be to me …” Thankfully, we serve a God who uses and blesses every bit of our availability … no matter our ability.

God, I don’t know how You will use me, but I am willing. I am available. What are You calling me to today? Let it be to me according to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Isaiah 6:8, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’” (ESV)

What are your greatest concerns about accepting God’s will in your own life? What would you dare to do for God if you feared nothing?

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