The voices of the world tell us that of course we matter… if we make enough money, garner enough social media likes, or make good enough grades. It is easy to hear those voices and feel like we don’t quite measure up. We just don’t matter as much as a lot of other people in this world.
Joanna Harader invites us to reconsider that question in her Advent devotional Expecting Emmanuel: Eight Women Who Prepared the Way. In her book, she asks us to consider eight female figures of Scripture: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary, Anna, Sophia, and the unnamed “weeping mothers” grieving Herod’s violence. A search of Scripture makes you wonder how much these women really matter in the grand scheme of things. The Bible doesn’t spill too much ink on their stories, and the lives that they lived were rather mundane, or complicated, or sometimes both. You wouldn’t put any of them on the list of Fortune 500 CEO’s, social media influencers, or philosophical giants.
And yet, Scripture tells us that these women absolutely do matter. Each of them, as Harader writes, “prepared the way” for Jesus. The first five were all a part of the genealogy of Jesus, and the last three played an important role in his early life. In their time, they were ignored, abused, or deemed irrelevant. But in the long scope of Biblical history, they demonstrated courage, faithfulness, and prophetic wisdom that drew a line straight toward the life and ministry of Jesus.
So this Advent, don’t let the world tell you that you don’t matter. Next time you feel too irrelevant or mundane or complicated to make a difference, know this: you’re in good company.
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant. Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed.’” Luke 1.46-48
by Rev. Dr. Matt Sturtevant
Lord, I know I matter to you. Help me live my life in ways that matter in your kingdom. Amen.