So many times someone would ask, “How are you doing?” and the response would be, “I’m blessed and highly favored.” I’ve heard it so many times and I’m sure I’ve used it myself. However, as I look at the life of Mary I have to wonder if I really understand what highly favored means in someone’s life. We all want God’s favor. We listen to sermons that tell us that God’s favor will take us beyond our natural abilities. But do we really understand the price of favor?
When the angel encountered Mary, he addressed her as blessed and highly favored in Luke 1:28. Next, he proceeded to tell her what would transpire in her life in the months ahead. In the months before the angel’s visit, Mary was planning a wedding and life was great. The angel told her that she would conceive a child while unmarried. The baby would be the son of God. Mary accepted God’s plan for her life. She didn’t stop to consider how this would impact her life.
We all know that her future would not be pleasant. She would endure the worst that human nature had to offer: the whispers, the unpleasant comments, the dirty looks. Yet, through all this, she was walking in the favor of God. When Joseph saw the changes in her body, he was in disbelief. Joseph pondered about his next move. He decided to make the break as easy on Mary as he could. As he examined the options available to him, the angel spoke to him in a dream. He understood that Mary was not unfaithful but was walking in the favor of God. His connection to Mary made him part of the whispers.
He stayed with her and was supportive of her calling. Then everyone had to register for the census. However, you had to register in your ancestral town. So Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem. The journey could not have been easy for Mary at this time. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room for them anywhere. They accepted a place in a stable. The stable was full of the stench of the animals, a most unpleasant place. It was not a place for people to live but she had to take up residence there. While they were there, the baby was born in a manger. This was not the place Mary wanted to give birth but it was the place the God choose for His Son to be born.
So when people ask, “how are you doing?” before you respond with, “I’m blessed and highly favored.” Stop and think for a moment: Am I willing to pay the price of being blessed and highly favored?