“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
This verse has intrigued me for a few days now. It is written immediately following the description of the nativity scene: the birth of Jesus in the manger, the heralding angels, the adoring shepherds.
The birth of Jesus is what Mary is pondering.
These thoughts are what she is keeping in her heart.
Later in the same chapter, Jesus has grown into a young boy of 12. He and Mary and Joseph have returned to Jerusalem where Jesus finds His way to the temple. There, He amazed the rabbinical teachers with His understanding and wisdom.
For three days Jesus stayed in the temple.
For three days Mary and Joseph searched for their son.
Jesus’ response to their questions was, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (verse 49). Of course, Mary and Joseph did not understand what He was saying.
Luke 2:51 reads, “Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.”
Did you catch that? Again, Mary pondered what God had spoken to her and kept these things in her heart. Have you ever wondered why? Why isn’t Mary running throughout Bethlehem and, later, Jerusalem, telling the world that she has given birth to the Savior of the world? Why isn’t she shouting it from the mountaintops?
I have tried to put myself in Mary’s shoes. Can you imagine when the angel first appeared to her and told her that she would bear the Savior of the world and that He would be conceived by the Holy Spirit? Can you just imagine?!! Mary had to accept this news on blind faith. She chose to walk in obedience which was bathed in childlike faith and illuminated by her love for her God. That was it. That was all Mary had to go on.
So she did.
And as the promises of God began to unfold around her, I believe she watched in amazement at the marvelous faithfulness of her Lord.
And she tried to understand.
And she tried to stay out of the way.
So Mary kept these things in her heart and pondered them. She knew that this was not about her – it was about Him. She was only a vessel for God to work through.
Has God ever asked you to step out in faith to fulfill His purposes? If you are His child and if you take time to sit at His feet and listen, then the answer to this question is yes. Yes, He has asked you to be a vessel for His honor. When He speaks something to you, I encourage you to keep it quietly in your heart and allow Him to bring it to pass. Continue to bathe it in prayer. Talk to Him about it, not the entire community. Seek Godly counsel (surely Mary spoke to Joseph about these events; we know she spoke to Elizabeth), but choose wisely whom you should speak with. If it is of God, He will confirm your steps; you don’t have to make it happen. God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His timing is definitely different than ours. Remember, Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the Messiah occurred 700 years before Jesus was born!
Mary provides a beautiful example of what it means to have an obedient heart and to live out a life as a vessel of honor for God. Let’s ponder the behavior of this Godly woman and learn from her.
“And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'”
Father, I desire so much to be a vessel of honor for You – to be available at all times to be used by You for Your glory and Your purposes. I want to learn to stay out of the way and to keep Your Word deep in my heart as I watch You work. You are an amazing God. I love You so very much. Thank you for revealing Your heart to us as we study Your Word. Praise You, Father.