12/14/05

Encouragement for Today

 

“Still a Treasure”

Marybeth Whalen, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Not much is known about Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is obvious from the Scriptures that she was a young girl who loved God and was willing to obey Him at all costs.  We don’t know why or how God chose her to be the mother of His Son — we just know He did.  Her response to the angel when she finds out about God’s plan for her is our first clue as to why God knew she would be the perfect mother for Jesus.  “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38 NIV).  What an honor!  Yet, how terrifying!

 

Recently, my children and I were reading the passage in Luke when Jesus goes missing and his parents find Him in the temple.  (After searching for three days, I might add.)  I read an author recently who commented that as parents, we panic if we lose track of our child for a few minutes.   Can you imagine searching for three days?  When they finally found Jesus, He was in the temple and wondered what all the fuss was about.  The Scripture says that He told them He was where He should be, in His Father’s house.  “But they did not understand what He was saying to them”  (Luke 2:50, NIV).

 

As my children and I read this passage, I tried to put myself in Mary’s shoes.  Her son had been missing.  I am sure she vacillated between trusting God and panicking.  And this was how I know that I would not have been a candidate for the Mother of Jesus award: as I tried to picture my reaction to finding Jesus in the temple after searching for three days, I pictured myself joyous and relieved.  Then I pictured those feelings giving way to anger and questions.  OK, so that was before the days of cell phones and emails.  He truly had no way to let His parents know where He was.  But why didn’t He stay with them in the first place?  I got angry for Mary!  And then I read the next verse: “But His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51b, NIV).

 

The last time we saw Mary treasuring an event in her heart was right after her son was born.  Once again, things were not going the way I would have wanted.  She had given birth in a cold stable in dingy surroundings.  Again, I was reminded of how accepting of her circumstances she was, and how her attitude reflected that.  Our verse for today reminds us of a young woman at peace with her circumstances, trusting God no matter how things work out.  Fast forward 13 years later and she is still that kind, gentle woman — no yelling at Jesus, no threats, no yanking Him by the ear when they finally find Him and know He is safe.  Instead, the Scriptures tell us that she treasured “all these things.”  Would I have been able to treasure that dirty stable?  Would I have been able to treasure that errant teen? 

 

As I pondered these two times where Mary is seen treasuring her circumstances, I began to wonder how often things go wrong in my life and I react instead of reflect.  I allowed these two Scriptures to seep into my heart.  Am I allowing God to shape me through my circumstances—the good and the not-so-good?  Am I trusting Him when things don’t go right?  Is my attitude “May it be to me as You have said?”  Or is it “OK, God, this is not the way it’s supposed to be and You had better fix it.”

 

As we go through this season of celebrating Jesus’ coming, I plan to work on my attitude when things don't go right.  I plan to practice accepting God’s plan when it doesn’t match mine.  I plan to learn to treasure and ponder instead of whine and complain. I plan to grow in my love and appreciation of Jesus, just as Mary did.  I plan to marvel at His coming and revel in His glory. And most of all, this Christmas, I plan to search for Him everywhere, just as she did — and never lose sight of Him again.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for sending Your Son into this world.  As we celebrate His birth, help me to focus on who He is and why He came here.  Help me to be the kind of servant to You that Mary was and for my attitude to reflect that each day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

If you have children in your life, read this passage with them, and talk about Jesus growing up.  This is one of the few passages where we see Jesus as a child.  This is also a good time to talk about staying with your parents and what to do if you get separated! 

 

Make a point to adjust your attitude today to be more accepting of your circumstances.  Let go of any grudges, anger or hurt you are feeling, just for today.  Pray whenever you feel those feelings surface.

 

Reflection Points:         

The Bible says that Mary treasured “all these things.”  It does not say she only treasured the good things that happened.  Are you treasuring “all these things” in your life?  Do you love God for who He is or what He does?  If you are in a waiting period in your life right now, are you treasuring the journey you are on or just hoping it will end?

 

Power Verses: 

Job 23:12, “I have not departed from the commands of His lips, I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”  (NIV)

 

Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (NIV)

 

Colossians 2:2-3, “I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God.  Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery.  All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else.  And we’ve been shown the mystery!”  (MSG)

 

Additional Resources:

The Christmas Story: Experiencing the Most Wonderful Story Ever Told, by G.A. Myers

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_christmasStory.htm

 

A Christmas ABC, by Golde

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_christmasABC.htm

 

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas (audio), by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_christCenteredTape.htm