The Power of Encouragement
Elizabeth and Mary
Elizabeth and Mary
Throughout our lives we are called to different roles. You may be knee deep in diapers, climbing the corporate ladder, fresh from college or approaching retirement. In each and every stage God directs us to build His Kingdom. This is a bit intimidating in the craziness of our current to-do lists. Yet, when we remember we are the daughter of the most-high God we can move forward. One tentative step at a time, we reach out to those that God puts in our lives.
With the approach of Christmas, we can get caught up in all our preparation. Ah, but Christmas is so much more than that. The WORD became flesh. The God of the universe came to earth as a tiny babe. His mother, Mary was a mere teenager. How afraid she must have been. Of course, God knew. He directed others to her to stand with her, instruct her, and protect her. One of those people was her cousin Elizabeth.
Elizabeth represents the encouraging mentor. Oh what she must have done for Mary’s spirit when she greeted her with joy! Luke 1:41-42 “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear’” (Luke 1:41-42 NLT)!
Mary’s story—betrothed and pregnant of the Holy Spirit—was unfathomable to most people, but not to Elizabeth. Culturally, Mary’s pregnancy was social suicide. Although betrothed, she was not yet married. If not for Joseph’s brave acceptance of her (as he was instructed to do by an angelic dream), she faced death by stoning.
God prepared Elizabeth to take Mary in and teach her despite the awkward social dynamics of the situation. Elizabeth was a builder of faith for Mary. She reminded Mary of the great responsibility she had been given. Elizabeth lifted the burden of this task and replaced it with exaltation.
I wonder how often Mary thought back to this day, with fond memories I expect. It must have built her faith and allowed her to trust God in times of doubt or fear. Did she hear Elizabeth’s voice when she was having a baby in a stable? Did she rely on it when she escaped to Egypt? Did she remember it when she saw her son rejected, beaten, and murdered? I believe she did. Mary had to be a woman of great strength and faith—a foundation Elizabeth helped lay.
This beautiful relationship, found in the precious preface to the Christmas story, does more than prepare out heart for the coming holiday. It reminds us that, in all seasons, our God directed encouragement impacts lives. This season in all your preparation, be aware that your words are lasting. You too, can be like Elizabeth.
Portions of his devotional were taken from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld Click here to purchase.