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Devotion 8 - 2 Dec 2012

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Luke 1:46b-48a - “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”

Peanuts Give Perspective

So advent started this past Sunday, and while the temptation rises to get carried away with the so-called ‘spirit’ of the season and focus on things festive and jolly, perhaps it would be best to take a step back and try to put things in perspective.

In our morning service this past Sunday we reflected on that glorious passage in Luke’s Gospel, known as the Magnificat (the song of Mary), and we spent some time considering the various things God has done and for whom he has done them. In Luke 1:46-56 Mary sings of a number of things that God has done, whether for her, or for the generations of people who faithfully worship and serve Him, or for the nation of Israel specifically – all wonderful and gracious things that God has done for recipients so unworthy, things the thought of which compelled Mary to lift her voice in a song of humble praise.

But perhaps one of the most striking (and perspective giving) things that God has done, of which Mary sings in this passage, is the very first thing she mentions… “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” (Luke 1:46b-48a)

Mary opens her song with what is probably the most profound truth of all – especially in light of the Christmas miracle that was the birth of Christ! See friends, God thought of us and that is why he sent his son to be born. Imagine that! The great and glorious, almighty and holy God, the creator of the universe… thought of us!

Why would he do such a thing? Why would this great God be bothered to think about us? The Psalmist himself is stunned by this very truth when writes in Psalm 8:4 “What is man that you are mindful him…”

One wonders what made it possible for the Psalmist and for Mary to have such clear perspective and realize the astonishing implications of the fact that God has been mindful of us… Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that they knew themselves (I mean really knew themselves) and that they knew who God is (I mean really know who God is). They understood and appreciated something of their pitiful smallness in relation to God’s supreme greatness and in light of this it becomes absolutely astonishing that God thought of us – for we are so unworthy of his thought.

It reminds me of a story I once read about a man named George Washington Carver who was a famous agricultural chemist and, through his research and experiments, developed over 300 products derived from peanuts. Everything from flour to coffee to plastics, wood-stains and even soap he was able to create from the humble peanut… When he was asked about his extraordinary success he simply explained it this way: “When I was a boy, I said to God, ‘Tell me the mysteries of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is reserved for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ And then God said, ‘Now, George, that’s more your size.’ And he told me.”

We think we’re capable of grasping the mystery of the universe when, in fact, a great scientist is only capable of grasping the mystery of a peanut… It tends to put things in perspective, doesn’t it? That the One who designed and holds in his hand the very mystery of the universe has been mindful of those barely capable of understanding a peanut! And that is why Christ came and we enjoyed that first Christmas, because God thoughts of us.

Sadly we live in a time with such a deep-rooted sense of entitlement and self-worth that it often spills over into our relationship with God and we are no longer amazed at the simple truth that he has thought of us – we fail to sing in wonder with the Psalmist, or in humble gratitude with Mary that God has been mindful of us. Perhaps Christmas is the time when we ought to rediscover that song and learn to stand amazed at the thought; “God has thought of us!”

Today, and every day during Advent, pause for a moment to think about the fact that you are on God’s mind… in his greatness he has thought of us… perhaps this would also then urge us to think of those whom we so often forget about or neglect.

What a thought… God has thought of us!

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