As I was encouraging a dear friend of mine who loves the Lord with all her heart and soul I remembered a teaching by Karen Mains many years ago that touched me. Karen had shared with her radio audience Mary’s reaction and song when she heard that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceive Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah. Mary was not asking about what she was to gain from this, she was asking about how she could give what the Lord was asking of her. Mary’s response in the King James version was, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38) The Amplified Bible says “handmaiden”, the New King James says, “maidservant,” and the NIV says “servant,” but I love the idea of being the Lord’s handmaid because a handmaid to royalty is someone who asks for nothing for herself yet is allowed into the most intimate chambers of the King or Queen. A handmaid is the most trusted servant, the one who is trusted with the confidences of the King or Queen. It is the image of someone who has the honor of serving most intimately in the King or Queen’s presence which results in her really getting to know the real personhood of the one she serves. For you men it might help you think of it as being the personal butler to the King.
Why am I saying all this? Jesus challenged us to be servants not only of one another but to the Lord and His wishes. It is to be the Christian lifestyle, one of service, one of submission to God in all we do. But even more than that it is our privilege to bring to the King of Kings the only gift we can give, that is, a life full of a desire to honor, love, and serve Him. The best part is to realize that as with Mary “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” so that you can actually become a Handmaiden of the Lord who serves while enjoying the opportunity to be in His very presence. We, like Mary, cannot serve as the Lord wants us to do unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit, follow His leading, and receive His power to affect our world and serve Him. Even in our attempts to worship God, there is nothing in us that we can do on our own until we allow the Holy Spirit to sing from within us, to empower us to truly and completely worship the Lord. How many times are you singing a worship song or hymn and you realize you have no idea what you are singing? There are other times when you are so caught up in the worship the Holy Spirit is activating in you that you are aware of the surrender, joy, and freedom that you are feeling is pleasing your Lord. At these times you may even be able to feel His presence. This is the Lord “handmaidening you” or, said another way, teaching you how to be the closest personal servant of the Lord, the one who enters His chambers and knows Him and His ways. That’s what I want. My greatest desire is to surrender myself so completely and be taught and empowered by the Holy Spirit so well that I know my Lord and I can truly serve Him in ways that please Him. I not only want to be in His presence, I want to be allowed into His confidence and learn His secrets as His trusted servant. So my prayer is: “Lord, handmaiden me.”