If you knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God was asking you to something, would you do it?
What if He asked you to do something that might cost you your friendships, or your good reputation? What if He asked you to do something that seemed… completely nuts? Would you do it, no matter what the consequences were?
Mary and Joseph did.
If you go to Matthew 1:18-25, you can read about how Mary was pledged to marry Joseph, but before this, Mary became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. It then tells about the angel who appears to Joseph in a dream, to reassure him about God’s plan for their lives.
Now, that sounds neat and tidy, right? It’s sometimes so easy to read scripture and forget how hard it must have been for Mary and Joseph to do God’s will.
Put yourself in their shoes for just a minute.
What about Mary, having to convince her parents and Joseph that she’s pregnant, not because she was unfaithful to Joseph, but rather by the Holy Spirit, because God chose her to give birth to the Messiah? As a parent, that might have been a hard tale to swallow. Think about your daughter coming to you with such a story! We know that Joseph was even contemplating quietly breaking the marriage agreement at this point!
Then we have Joseph, who is a righteous man within the community. There are only two possibilities. Either Joseph got Mary pregnant, meaning he will lose the perception of being a righteous man in their society, or Mary became pregnant by another, meaning she was guilty of adultery!
Nazareth wasn’t a metropolis – I’m sure Mary had to deal with those dirty “looks” from neighbors, even as Jesus was growing as a young boy. Even today there are well-meaning people in the communities we live, who count months between the wedding and the fist baby!
Think about it. Would you be able to follow through with God’s plan, if you lived during these times?
It goes without saying that what Joseph and Mary went through was a huge part in God’s plan of redemption! They are more than just a “vessel” and “nice man who taught Jesus a craft”. They put their lives on the line, even while Jesus was growing inside Mary’s womb, to protect the Messiah.
What do we learn from Joseph and Mary? We can take away a lot from their lesson of obedience to God’s calling. They saw that serving God and doing His will was far greater than being socially accepted.
What an important message for our kids, especially now, when they live in a world that’s much more conscious about being socially accepted and politically correct then we ever did. Are we raising children who will one day be prepared to stand apart from the crowd and choose to obey God, even if it means being laughed at, or ostracized by society? Mary and Joseph are wonderful examples to use to teach our kids what it means to be obedient to God’s calling.
Has God placed something on your heart? Has God called you to do something that might cause others to look at you differently or judge you, unfairly?
What’s your answer going to be?
Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.