We value leaders, but what about followers? It is a topic often overlooked, but followership is at the very heart of leadership. Imagine Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or Winston Churchill without any followers. Their many faithful followers demonstrated their ability to lead well. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the ideal follower. When God surveyed all creation, He appointed Mary to look after His one and only Son.
To say Mary was surprised at her meeting with Gabriel would be a huge understatement. It is certainly not every day that an angel of the Lord greets you with news that you will give birth to the Messiah. This announcement was the first for Gabriel too. This was the first and only time he would announce the birth of the Messiah. It took him several attempts to convince Mary that she was the one chosen to raise the Son of God (vv. 28, 30, 35).
Gabriel told Mary that a miracle had come to Elizabeth, too (v. 36). Her older cousin was also pregnant. Luke places the stories of Mary and Elizabeth side by side, contrasting their remarkable and similar situations. Elizabeth had been trying to get pregnant, but she could not because of her old age. Young Mary had never been with a man. Yet, both became pregnant, and Elizabeth’s child, John, would prepare the way for Mary’s child, Jesus.
Both women trusted God and followed Him faithfully because, as Gabriel said, “No word from God will ever fail” (v. 37). Mary’s final words to Gabriel demonstrated her commitment to being God’s follower: “I am the Lord’s servant” (v. 38). This teenage girl’s willingness to obey God amid impossible circumstances made her both a faithful follower and an unlikely leader.
>> Sometimes, the best way to lead is by following. It sounds counterintuitive, but followers make the best leaders. What about you? Would God describe you as a loyal, humble, and courageous follower?
King Solomon asked for the blessing of wisdom to guide his leadership, and we ask the same. We submit to You, believing that You are the source of truth and strength. Bless our leadership as we follow You.