Praise! God Can Handle It!

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46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” – Luke 1:46-55

Waterfall | Near Branson, Missouri | October 2021

During a particularly challenging time of ministry I read something that resonated deeply to me: More pastors die of a broken heart than an over-inflated ego. I’m not certain that is true, for we public people have to possess some degree of ego in order to stand up in front of a group and offer a sermon. Sometimes that can be a healthy ego. Sometimes, however, the ego takes over.

Sadly, I’ve seen too many pastors whose gifts send them beyond the success that their character can support. Such is the danger of celebrity leaders. Unless sustained by vast amounts of character, celebrity leaders pose the most grave danger to the church and even the faithful. The combination of high capacity leaders who have low character reserves is potentially the most dangerous dynamic in a church. Such leaders are all about self-promotion. 

Jesus is not only high in character. He is also completely unconcerned with self-promotion. Mary will bring glory to God and magnify his name and fame. She is, however, not a mere carnival barker. She is not interested in gathering a crowd. She is not trying to gin up support or hype God. She is simply extolling God’s glory, mercy, and majesty. She is focusing our attention on the One who can handle the fame – to say the least – and who we need to worship. 

Mary’s glorification of God is not for his benefit. It’s so we will be directed toward the source of true joy, hope, life, and salvation. We may get distracted by celebrities and led astray by those who lack character. She is focusing our attention and directing our faith toward the Mighty One who has done great things. She is reminding us that the True God casts down the mighty from their thrones, and fills the hungry with good things. He is truly worth being magnified – not for his ego’s sake, but for our faith and devotion. 

Christy Nockels and Todd Agnew offer this version of the Magnificat…

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