As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd cried out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” -Luke 11: 27-28
Pastor John Ortberg tells us in Chapter 4 of Who is This Man? that in the ancient world a woman’s highest calling was to bear children- particularly male children. The author adds that Jesus’ response to the woman in the crowd signaled that women and men share a common humanity, that God’s highest calling applies to all: “The glorious adventure of coming to know and do the will of God in whose image they are created.”
Marriage in Rome involved something called manus– Latin for hand. A remnant of that remains in our language tradition: “to give one’s hand in marriage”. In Rome a wife could be given into her husband’s hand ( aka control) or given “without hand”, meaning her father retained control of her. God’s hands weren’t on Roman radar! That’s why Jesus’ statement was so revolutionary. It involved a different idea of religion, one that threatened (rather than strengthened) the prevailing social structures.
Following our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, it’s tempting to believe that the hands of those involved in our loss have put a stranglehold on God’s calling in our lives. King David’s words turn our thoughts toward Jesus:
“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” -Psalm 31; 14-15
Today’s question: At this point in your desert, transition time, what insights has Jesus given you regarding your future calling? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Teaching to change lives”