This year during the advent and Christmas seasons, we learned the manger is an invitation to live differently. Today we are reminded, the wise men followed a star to visit the babe that was sent to Earth to be the Savior of the world.
In 1988, Michael Jackson released the song Man in the Mirror and for a minute just listen to a few of the lyrics.
I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”
The manger invites us to live life differently. The manger invites us to change. The manger invites us to make this world a better place. Will we accept the invitation to live out Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
How many of us could actually AND honestly answer the question “I know I am living out God’s purpose for me.” I for one constantly ponder in my heart what exactly my purpose is and usually tell myself “I am not qualified for this or that.” More often than not I let fear guide me. I let the fear of “what will others think of me” or “will anyone really connect to what I write?” guide me. Maybe some of you let busyness guide you, maybe some of you let your limitations guide you, or maybe some of you let your comfort zone guide you.
As I think about the wise men and their journey, I am sure they were met with fear of the unknown. Fear of the journey. Fear of what could go wrong. However, they didn’t give into this fear. Somehow I don’t think this is the lesson we are to take from the wise men. I think the lessons to be learned is first and foremost, the wise men sought Jesus and secondly, they gave Jesus gifts.
First, The Wise Men Sought Jesus
According to Matthew, the star guided the wise men to Bethlehem. The wise men followed the star to the house where Mary and the baby were and they entered it, because they wanted to worship the baby.
Worship as defined by the Webster dictionary, is the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. The feeling of great glory. The feeling of exuberance. To give glory to God. The wise men sought Jesus to worship. Seeking Jesus was a top priority for them and we can see their extravagant love for Him. Worship can be in the form of singing, going to church, or being in the Word. However, ultimately worship is the matter of the heart. Just like the wise men, our hearts reveal how much we love God, by not only how we show extravagant love to HIM, but how we show love to others. Here lies the second point. The Wise Men Gave Gifts.
Matthew continues to write, the wise men opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They gave Jesus their treasure chest of gifts.
So what is in your treasure chest? Think about it in this way, we open our up treasure chests or the gifts God has given us, and we give those away. We give away teaching. We give away service. We give away baking. We give away love. When we give away our talents our heart changes. Our focus isn’t on ourselves, it is on God and others. When we give our gifts away, we change, we give Glory to God. We live out His purpose, He planned for us, so long ago. Just as Aaron read in the scripture lesson, 1 Peter 4:10-11 states it best:
“God has given each of us a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will give glory to God through Jesus Christ.”
So what is your God-given gift that He wants you to use for his purpose? There is a saying, “Our talents come from God, how we use our talents is our gift back to God.” Ultimately, we are to use God’s gifts to live life differently and change the world. So...
Are you called to lead?
Are you called to teach?
Are you called to bake?
Are you called to serve?
Are you called to write?
Are you called to sing?
Gather up our treasure chest of God-given gifts and give them away. And freely, give them away.
To live life differently We must worship God and seek God with all of our heart. When we are active in God’s word, He changes us. He stirs something in our heart, and can look at ourselves and know we can help make a difference. We can use the gifts God has given us to make this world a different place, like he planned for us so long ago.
Some of us all ready know what our purpose is. Some of us will hear the whispers on our heart. For some of us, God will put a series of events in our lives all in one week, to say, “This right here is your purpose.” And yet, some of us will wait for the burning bush to find out our purpose. Here is my challenge to you, as you live life differently in 2018. Be like the wise men, seek God and make worship a matter of your heart. Open up your treasure chest and share your gifts to live out God’s purpose. And when you do:
The message will not be any clearer
It’s gonna feel real good to make a difference.