Sunday, July 25, 2010

Affirming Friendships

This is Part 3 of of the (re)Vision talk on leadership principles from the Life of Mary.

In Luke 1:38, Mary aggressively embraced the calling of God on her life, telling the angel, "May everything you have said come true." In the very next verse, she takes a road trip to see her cousin Elizabeth.

Background. Elizabeth was married to a priest named Zechariah. Though both were very old, God promised them a son. Because Zechariah had a difficult time swallowing that news, the angel told him he would become mute for the duration of Elizabeth's pregnancy.

So here we have Elizabeth, "advanced in years" and pregnant. And her young cousin Mary comes for a visit. Scripture says she immediately recognized the life of God inside of Mary and exclaimed, :You are blessed by God above all other women, and your child is blessed. What an honor this is, that the mother of my Lord should visit me!"

Women who influence are surrounded by affirming friendships. We need people who recognize the call of God on our lives, encourage us in it, and commit themselves to seeing it fulfilled in our lives.

I once heard Andy Stanley say, "Your friends will determine the quality and direction of your life." Whether we are looking at David and his Mighty Men or Paul and Barnabas or Daniel and his three friends, Scripture is full of friends on mission together. Mary needed Elizabeth, and Elizabeth needed Mary. From what we can tell, Mary left Nazareth without telling a soul. Elizabeth's husband had been rendered speechless. The needed each other for support, care, and encouragement.

I'm really impressed with the character of Elizabeth. She was older than Mary and an extremely wise and godly woman. She was a descendant of the priestly line and her husband was a priest. She had waited faithfully and prayerfully for years for a child. If I was choosing a great mother for Jesus, I might have chosen her. If I were Elizabeth, I might have looked at Mary's youth and inexperience and scoffed at her choice. But Elizabeth was not jealous. She did not question God's decision. In fact, she rejoiced in it.

Who is your Elizabeth? Who is recognizing the call of God on your life and encouraging you in it? Who is your Mary? Who are you encouraging and committing yourself to?

Every great woman of influence has an Elizabeth and is being an Elizabeth to someone else.


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