“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” (Luke 11:27-28)
Jesus always had a way of challenging the beliefs that people held. In his day, you were considered important and valuable if you were connected with those who were also important and valuable. It was a matter of knowing the right people or being in the right relationship with someone important, so the woman in this story assumed that Jesus’ mother should be blessed because she gave birth to Jesus.
Mary was indeed blessed, but not primarily because she gave birth to Jesus. Jesus takes the opportunity to point to something more important than motherhood. The people that God blesses are those who hear his word and obey: his disciples. Discipleship is what brings blessing.
Often, people look at pastors or church leaders and ascribe some kind of holiness or special status upon them. Just because someone works in a spiritual environment doesn’t give them any more spiritual blessings than anyone else. Even today, we tend to think that only ‘special’ people receive God’s blessings.
God looks at our heart. He looks for those who listen and follow. That can be anyone who is willing. We don’t need a specific position, education or status – we just have to be willing to do what he asks. In return, we will be blessed with all that he has for us.