“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord…”

Recently, while reading through the Christmas story in Luke 1, Mary’s words (verse 38) burned in my heart – “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

“Handmaid” – To me, the word has a special ring.  In other translations I see it as maid, servant, and slave; but I love sound of “handmaid.”

Webster defines handmaid as “a personal maid or female servant” and “something whose essential function is to serve or assist.”  The relationship is personal.  I pondered how I too am a “handmaid” of the Lord.  What a special calling, to be a “personal” servant of Christ.

Then, I looked back at the preceding verses.  When the angel first approached Mary (verse 28) he said, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.”  And (verse 30), “Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God.”

“Favoured” – “highly favoured” – one who had “found favour with God.”  Mary was a special handmaid with a special calling.  A mere servant, a quiet, simple young woman who just went about her daily life serving the Lord, favored by God, and serving others.

Mary did not hesitate but immediately said, “Be it unto me according to thy word” and accepted her role in giving birth to God’s Son, the One who would come to save us from our sins.

Oh that it could be said of me that I am a handmaid that has found favor with God, one who is a personal servant of Christ, with a special calling from God, and one who immediately trusts, obeys, and goes about carrying out the purpose for which God has called me.

Ladies, God’s call to Mary should make us feel special.  He continues to call us – first, to be highly favored, then to serve.  Will we be as eager as Mary and say “be it unto me according to thy word?”

Merry Christmas!!

Remember The Bread

I typically take a list when I shop for groceries.  I do it for this reason:

In the midst of Oreos…Breyers Ice Cream…Doritos, it is easy to forget the bread.  It is important in a sea of choices to not forget the main item.

Kentucky Baptists are being given a unique opportunity to partner with Baptist Global Response with the goal of impacting Sub-Sahara Africa in disaster relief and human needs ministry.  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief has agreed to be part of a pilot initiative in partnership with Baptist Global Response.  Through this partnership, we will serve as the primary responders to regional disasters in Africa.  We will also seek church and associational teams to meet critical human needs through strategic community development projects in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Africa is a vast continent…A place of breathtaking beauty, incredible wildlife, gracious generosity, and endless potential.  The land is rich in people, diverse tribal culture, and strong family ties.  However, it is also an area ravaged by poverty, hunger, disease, and war.  The Aids pandemic alone has left over 16 million orphans and millions upon millions of child-headed homes scattered across this scarred continent.

God is calling Kentucky Baptists.  Calling us to pray for the people and tribes of Africa.  Calling us to go with disaster relief to flooded communities and villages destroyed by fires.  Calling us to share food and care in refugee camps where thousands have been driven from their homes.  Calling us to send our medically gifted to facilities deep in the bush to meet basic needs and to offer training in places where few have any medical care.  Calling us to bring construction skills to restore and build new facilities for Baptist hospitals and ministry centers.  Calling us to dig wells and bring water purification to lands where a child dies every 20 seconds from unclean water.  Calling us to go and minister to seas of orphans scattered all across this vast continent.  Calling us to bring His compassion to the forgotten and the broken in the uttermost places.

I would offer this one reminder as we go:

Do not forget the Bread.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of life, He who comes to Me shall never hunger…” (John 6:35)

It is right for us to go bearing medicine, clean water, food, and helping hands; but let us not forget the most vital of all….the wonderous, life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ.

Remember the Bread.