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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Luke 2:24, "And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

This morning, the world continues to move in paths of respecting of persons and elitism. Natural man, in his pride, seeks to attain a higher status than he currently possesses. So also, he looks down at those that are "beneath" him in social stratus cake. James exhorts against this behaviour in the church, and we should not be geared into thinking about how much the brethren are worth, where they are socially, and how much (or how little) they possess in worldly things. (James 2:1-4) The popular term today "keeping up with the Jones" immerses and swallows every thought and inclination that some people have. If we are not careful, such thoughts can creep into our own mindsets and actions as well. May we be ever mindful that the Lord is pleased with humble and contrite spirits that show forth the gratitude for mercy and not the desire for worldly fame, riches, and honour.

In the verse above, we are in the midst of the events surrounding the birth of Christ into the world. After the witnessing of these events by the shepherds earlier in the chapter, Mary and Joseph bring Him to be circumcised the eighth day and fulfill the requirements of the law. In our verse above, Mary is fulfilling the offering for herself and her purification for bringing a son into the world. In this passage, we learn many things about the events and circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ, and we also learn of the reputation (by nature) that He would have. Finally, we will learn that the walk of faith that we should engage in makes us cognizant of a priceless free gift unto us that makes all other things seem as nothing.

When Mary brings forth her offering, notice that her offering for herself is either a pair of turtledoves or a pair of pigeons. In Leviticus 12 where this ceremony is given, we find that if someone offered in this manner, it spoke of their destitute financial condition. If someone was able and had the means, the offering of this kind was to be a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering with a single pigeon or turtledove as the sin offering. The statement that is made when someone offers two turtledoves instead of a lamb and turtledove is that they are not able to afford a lamb. Indeed, Mary's offering on this day spoke of her destitute financial condition, and it further shows us the humility that our Lord was born into. He could have come as the son of any magistrate, king, or ruler that He desired. He could have been born in the highest social echelon if it pleased Him to do so. But, He humbled Himself, made Himself of no reputation, and came in the form of a servant.

He is of the royal lineage of David, surely, but at that time, His upbringing was in a carpenter's home that would be in the poorest of financial regions.  Mary here shows forth that state, but when we see the beauty of Mary's situation, we can take comfort today in our path and course. While Mary could not afford a lamb of the first year for her offering, she was the blessed mother of the only suitable Lamb that could be an offering for sin, uncleanness, and iniquity. The natural lamb merely pointed, in a shadow, to the One True Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. When we see the picture from the angle that Mary, though poor by worldly standards, is rich by spiritual standards, we can surely see a connection to our lives as well. Mary's offering on that day was not much, but she still willingly did it. She could not afford a lamb, but she did what she could.

Today, we may not have much in the way of the world's possessions. We may only be able to offer what we can. Sometimes our service seems so little (by natural standards); yet we are the blessed possessors of a Gift that is beyond all the wealth and riches of the world. The Lamb that was slain for us is ever with us and has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Only an eye of faith can perceive the richness of Mary's life. The natural eye does not see anything beautiful about this poor woman offering a "second-rate" sacrifice. Many today will mock the household of faith for their "second-rate" services that cannot afford all the modern innovations. But, we should not be discouraged as, by faith, we understand the gift and blessing that is ours by the free mercy and grace of God.

Mary bore many hardships to be the one that bore the Christ. She had taunting and ridicule thrown at her (as did Jesus) for the "perceived" circumstances surrounding His birth. We today will be ridiculed for trying to follow after the Lamb. But, let us never cease to do our reasonable service. While it is not ever enough to merit heaven (as Mary was not able to afford a lamb), may we offer what we can cheerfully knowing that we are already in possession of the greatest riches (Lamb) that could ever be known.  Finally, knowing these things, let us never get caught up in the "rat race" of life as people try to outstrip the other in the race for glory and riches. The wealth and glory of the world is fleeting and will one day come to nothing by fire. May we press toward the things unseen that never pass away and not worry about what man may say.

In Hope,

Bro Philip