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In the Christmas narrative of Luke, Mary was visited by an angel who revealed that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” (1:32), even though she had not been sexually intimate with a man. Mary received this revelation by offering herself as “the Lord’s servant” (1:38). In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we reflected on how Mary’s response can inspire us. Today, we continue on in the story.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we considered how God interrupted Zechariah in the context of his work. Today, we encounter another interruption, though the text does not inform us of the context. In Luke 1:26-38, the angel Gabriel appeared to a young woman named Mary, informing her that she would give birth to a son and that he would be the messianic king of Israel (1:26-28).
If you have been following Life for Leaders for a while, you know that we often highlight the biblically based truth that our daily work matters greatly to God. This perspective is revealed, first of all, in the opening chapters of Genesis. It is reaffirmed time and again throughout Scripture.
Christmas and Work. I’d like to take several days to reflect on some connections between these two realities. I’m going to take my cue, not from the experiences I’ve noted above, but rather from the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke. My plan is to read slowly through this narrative, pausing to consider with you how what we’re reading relates to our work.
The bible tells us Christ willingly moved into the neighborhood, leaving heaven for earth to be with us, in human form. Compelled by an inexplicable love for his creation, God somehow took on the form of a baby and came to be with us.
If you have a sense of déjà vu when reading Psalm 53, it’s because this psalm is virtually identical to Psalm 14. Lining up these two psalms in parallel columns, you’ll find that they differ only in a few minor details. How curious! It’s as if those who collected the psalms must have believed that the message contained in this particular poem was so important that it was worth repeating twice, almost verbatim.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Jesus called for Bartimaeus to be brought before him. Excited, Bartimaeus “jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (10:50). But then Jesus asked a curious question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (10:51). Wasn’t it obvious? Couldn’t Jesus have figured out pretty quickly that Bartimaeus was blind and wanted to see? Why did Jesus want Bartimaeus to state his desire so obviously?
This simple cry for mercy has inspired countless prayers during the last two millennia. In particular, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one of the most common and influential prayers is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This so-called “Jesus Prayer,” which appears in a variety of forms, is spoken millions of times each day by believers throughout the world.
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