Christmas 2020 is now in the books, but we have one more lesson to take away from the Christmas story before boxing up the decorations and preparing for a new year.
Matthew 2 tells us that sometime after the birth of Jesus, wise men came from afar searching for the one who was born King of the Jews. Their conviction motivated them to seek until they found Him.
Conviction is a fixed or firm belief, the state of being convinced. Life can be a roller coaster of emotions and present a series of unknown events and challenges designed to discourage forward motion.
Having a conviction of faith in God will anchor you on a rock during uncertain times.
Now many unknowns surround these Wisemen, but there are a few things we do know about them. These men were scholars who, among other things, studied the stars.
Contrary to modern-day academics, their pursuit of knowledge did not lead them away from God but directed them straight to Him.
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
The proper pursuit of knowledge and wisdom will lead you to God, as the source and creator of all things. Yet, as men from Babylon, how did they know so much about the God of the Hebrews?
As you may recall, when Israel was taken captive by the Babylonians, Daniel and his three friends were enlisted into the service of the King. (See Daniel 6)
These young men would not compromise their faith in God. Their conviction led them to worship God, even when their lives were threatened by doing so.
For a time, those who served King Darius would have been heavily influenced by Daniel and his God, and it is likely from this time that Daniel’s prophecies about the Messiah would have been taught and discussed among the King’s counselors.
Never discount what God can do in those challenging seasons of life that may have a profound impact on your future. Remain firm in your faith, gripped with conviction, and press-on.
When the Magi arrive in Jerusalem, word of their arrival makes its way to King Herod. They explain to the King why they are there and ask for assistance locating the one born King of the Jews.
When they finally reach Joseph and Mary’s home, we learn two important lessons about our relationship with God.
#1 When the Wisemen find Him, they prostrate themselves in worship of the one born King of the Jews.
Worship is the act of exalting someone or something with dedicated attention and devotion.
People worship many things today.
- Some worship possessions; they do everything they can, even going into debt, to have the latest and greatest things.
- Some worship money and make increasing their bottom line the primary pursuit in life, only to find that they have lost everything in the process.
- Some people worship position. They sacrifice everything for a title and are driven to make it to the top to validate their self-worth.
- Some worship other people, athletes, musicians, celebrities, and place them on a platform as the model of perfection.
None of these are worthy of your worship because they are temporary and fallible. The Greek word for “worship” speaks of the object as being superior in every way.
This is not based on an earthly standard but an eternal standard. There is only one person worthy of your worship, God! Everything and everyone else falls short in comparison to Him.
The second lesson we learn from these Magi’s response to the birth of Jesus is giving.
- Gold was an appropriate gift to honor a king.
- Frankincense was a fragrance used in worship of the One true God.
- The gift of myrrh was a foreshadow of Jesus’ mission and purpose in life.
When it comes to giving, we all have gifts to give. Our giving is not measured by what someone else gives, but that we give.
We don’t know if the Magi came prepared to give, but they emptied themselves of all they had when they saw Jesus.
My question to you is, has your worship become stale? Has your giving become marginal? So what can we give to God in response to who He is?
#1 Your time.
Time may be the most valuable asset we have because we can’t get it back once it passes. As we use our time directly for God or indirectly by helping others, we honor Him with our time.
#2 Your talents.
You have been gifted with talents. The greatest thing you can do with those talents is to use them for His glory. The mission of God’s kingdom is too big for one person or church staff to accomplish alone.
#3 Your finances.
The Magi came giving gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Wealth is not defined by having an abundance. If you have money in your bank account or pocket, you are wealthy.
Every time you give tithes and offerings to God, you are declaring that He is your source, your provider, and your provision. Being a giver frees us from the bondage of greed and coveting and the worry of, “will I have enough,” because you’re putting your trust in God.
King Herod and the day’s religious leaders knew of the prophecies, even where He would be born, but did not seek Him, worship Him, or give to Him.
These are ideal lessons for us to learn as we venture into a new year of unknowns.