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An Inconvenient Call or Carrying Jesus to the World

by Paddy McCoy

She was like any young woman engaged to be married: excited and making plans for the future. Maybe she was thinking about the wedding; her dress, his suit, the wedding guests, the celebration she’d been dreaming about since she was a little girl. Or maybe she was thinking about her husband to be and how great life would be with him. She could have been thinking about their future children; would they look like her or him, and what would they do with their lives? What would life be like out on their own.

As a campus chaplain, I get to be a part of a lot of love stories like hers, and I get to attend many weddings. I get to see the excitement in the eyes of both the bride and the groom, and I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of love in the air and a lot of hope for the future.

The girl in our story would have had that same love, that same hope, that same level of excitement. But then something happened that changed her life, and our world, forever.

As the story goes, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’. . . ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus’ ” (Luke 1:26-31, NIV).*

Mary’s first response, as it would be for most of us, was doubt. How could she do what the angel said she was going to do? Literally! She was a virgin. To her, what the angel was saying was simply impossible.
Now, as the story goes, even though it seems impossible, Mary ends up accepting what the angel has said and commits to being obedient to this incredible calling. She answers, “ ‘I am the Lord’s servant. . . . May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her” (Luke 1:38, NIV, emphasis added).
And she lived happily every after, right?

Not quite. Even in today’s culture, a woman who becomes pregnant outside of marriage is often looked down upon, but in Mary’s day the law said she should be killed. Mary, accepting this call to carry Jesus, the Son of God, into the world, knew it would be far from easy. Both she and Joseph would face stares and glances at church, gossip behind their backs, rolled eyes, and looks of condemnation. They would be shunned, ostracized, and left out of the lives of many of their friends and family.
Carrying Jesus into the world, for Mary, would come at a great cost; her dreams for the future, her wedding, and her family would never be what she had once hoped. But there would be a reward for her faithfulness; she would be the mother of the Son of God, and she would have front row seats to watch Him change the world. My guess is, looking back over her life before she died, she wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Mary’s call is our call. We are called to carry Jesus into every part of this world. His call may seem impossible, and it may not come at the most convenient time, but He’s promised to give us what we need to answer that call and to be with us every step of the way.
Over the next four weeks we’re going to talk about, and share stories of, spending our summer in service to others. Summer is a great time to relax, be with friends, and enjoy life, but it’s also a great time to think about being a blessing to others and to carry Jesus to your church, your neighbors, and the world. I strongly believe that our lives become richer, more full, and more meaningful when we answer the call to carry Jesus to our world. As one of my favorite quotes says, “My life begins to have a point when I am no longer the point of my life.”
I found this to be true in my life, and I believe Mary would have said the same. Makes me wonder how your life will change this summer when you take time to be a blessing in the life of someone else. My guess is that after you do, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
* Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Paddy McCoy is a chaplain at Walla Walla University, located in College Place, Washington.
An Inconvenient Call or Carrying Jesus to the World

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