And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Luke 1:41-42)
Elizabeth responds with passion to Mary's miracle message. She has zeal, joy and enthusiasm! Yes, it is possible to grow older and not give out! There is hope for the homestretch that inspires us to "pour it on" as the finish line approaches.
The source of this fervency is that Elizabeth is SPIRIT-FILLED (v.41). This was deeper than just emotion, although intense feelings were stirred. Feelings fluctuate like the weather in the mountains. Emotions ebb and flow like the tides at the beach. This was the Holy Spirit that ignited this fire of fervency! Sadly, some of us are lukewarm—a spirit of apathy rather than a Spirit of anointing rests upon us. We may be headed to the finish line with only cold ashes where once we were on fire for God. It’s time to stir up the ashes with the poker of Scripture, fan the embers into flame with prayer, and rekindle the flame of love for Christ!
Recall the church at Ephesus? They were orthodox in doctrine, active in service, and yet there was a serious problem: "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent." (Revelation 2:4-5)
I love the spirit of my wife's old cousin, Lester Crayton. This preacher is past 90, has had a host of health problems, and pretty much given up for dead. But he refuses to quit! The family took his car keys out of concern for him and others. I could tell he didn't much appreciate it when I visited with him and his sweet wife the other day. Quickly, our conversation turned to preaching and Bible commentaries, and other dimensions of ministry that he had been incapable of doing for a long time. Still, you could see the gleam return to his eyes and passion to his voice as we conversed. Well, the next day, my wife--who works for LifeWay Christian Bookstore---gets a frantic call from his family. Lester found the car keys and took off! Marilyn wasn't working that day, but she placed a call and found out he had been in the store and bought a Bible commentary! There's a man with hope for the homestretch--and a challenge to me. By the way, Lester got back safely home.
Elizabeth wasn't just Spirit-filled, she was also SET APART (v.42) Along with Mary, these women were chosen vessels for God to use. Elizabeth underscores in this verse that Mary was set apart for a special purpose. She was blessed to be a blessing—and so are you! All of us are set apart for a unique plan God has. Without question, Mary was unique in her Gift to the world, but all of God's children are gifted. The Lord has saved us and set us apart to serve Him. His retirement plan is Heaven, and until we cross the finish line, may we keep running!