When I was a little girl, one of my favorite stories was about King Solomon trying to decide which mother should get the baby. His solution to divide the baby in two both horrified me and delighted me. As the real mother came forth and sobbed, “NO!!! Let my baby live. Give it to the other woman!”, my heart would burst in a cheer that because of her willingness to sacrifice what she loved, truth was revealed! I loved that when Solomon was given the opportunity to have anything he wanted from God, that he chose wisdom. To me, the story I just shared was the evidence that God granted his request.
As a teenager, I took seriously the verse in James 1:5 that says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” I have prayed that prayer SO many times! I never knew if God granted my request like He did Solomon’s, but as I look back over my life, I am thankful that I don’t have too many regrets and I can see that He has lead me in my life.
As we come upon Christmas, I love reflecting on all the different parts of the Christmas story. As I was thinking this week on the part the wise men played, I have been challenged once again and so I share with you, my dear readers.
These wise men, who have been so wrongly projected in Christmas songs and tradition were quite amazing. The wise men of the Bible were not guys who would sit around in a yoga position humming. They were not hanging out at the wise men spot and suddenly saw a star out the window and said, “Hey guys! Let’s go track down that bright light!” No, these were men that studied ancient texts. They were astronomers who studied the heavens. They were men who knew the prophecies of God and the times surrounding the coming Messiah. These men were studied men who knew the Scripture they had been given. These were the men who set out to follow the star in the sky because they knew it represented the true Star of the heavens, the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world.
I can imagine that if I lived around them, and they said “Hey, who wants to go with us?” I would have been the first to volunteer. I would look at these amazing men and I would want in on where they were going. I would admire them for their spirituality and I would want to glean all that I could from them. I am so thankful for all the wise “men” in my life. I am thankful for my parents, who wisely led me through my childhood. I am thankful for wise pastors who have loved and shepherded and fed their churches the Word of God. I am thankful for the influence of multiple wise teachers, friends and family. Because I have a personality that is easily influenced, this is why I know that if the wise men had asked me if I would have like to gone along with them I would have said yes. I just would have. I would have loved the adventure of it, the mystery of it, and the identity of hanging out with the cool people. As we would have journeyed along, I would have emulated everything they did and in the end, I would have made it to Bethlehem and made it to Jesus.
When I became paralyzed almost 4 years ago, things changed. Drastically. All of these “wise men” were wonderful encouragers. They said wise things. They quoted me wise passages of Scripture. But it all rang hollow in my ears. All the wonderful wise words they spoke, were falling on a heart that had been crushed. This was not a bad day I need help with. This was a completely different way of life and it was not going to be easy. I didn’t see any of them going through what I was going through so how did they know what I needed? I needed more than they could give me. I could not do this without more. No longer did following the wise men help. They could not help me! I became desperate in the secrecy of my heart, to find peace and comfort and help. I needed
something Someone to help me!
And that is when it hit me – my mistake was in being passionate in following the wise men. I do not need to find or seek wisdom. I need to seek after God and wisdom will be given. Jesus asked that I follow Him – not men. Paul said something about this and we read it like this: “Follow ME as I follow Christ.” I think the emphasis should be “Follow me AS I follow Christ.” We are sojourners together. I no longer desire to just follow the wise men. I want to be one. I don’t want to just tag along on this journey of life and be glad when I finally make it to Heaven. Not anymore. I want to be a passionate seeker of my Savior and feast on the glimpses of Him along the whole journey. I can only imagine that when those wise men started to get weary, they looked at the star. When the path got rough, they looked at the star. When they wondered if it was worth the trouble, they looked at the star. When they gazed at the night sky and all its glory, there was that star shining brighter than all the rest. The story is really not about the wise men at all. It is all about the star.
Follow the wise men? No thank you. I’ll journey with them as I follow the STAR!
Merry Christmas and may this upcoming year bring you to a journey of following after Jesus.