Three mysterious Magi appear in King Herod’s court asking about a new king. I can just imagine that despite their road-weary condition, their entourage commands attention and awe. Don’t you want to know more about these three who journey the farthest to find Jesus? I’ve often wondered about their lives. How could they take so much time to go find this new king? Did they leave families behind? Who instilled the faith in their lives that they needed to drop everything and embark on this life-changing journey as soon as they saw the star in the sky?
Recently, I attended a beautiful Advent retreat at Sustainable Faith Indy. During the “first movement” of the retreat, we were directed to reflect on the Magi and their part in the Christmas story:
First of all, I am struck by the Wise Men’s simple faith. They saw the star and they acted on it. Actually, they were compelled to follow it. An important point that I’ve often overlooked in the past is that in order for them to see, they had to be looking.Their eyes were to the sky and they were alert, watching and waiting.
Even though I’m not a professional astronomer as the Magi probably were, I can be a professional follower of Jesus. I can lift my eyes off of myself and be watching for glimpses of the sacred in the everyday as I live my life. God will guide me, too, as I navigate the journey of my life.
What really stands out to me from their story, however, is that the Magi are the perfect combination of humbleness and boldness. If they were humble but not bold, they never would have found Jesus. If they were bold but not humble, they never would have worshipped him. They needed both attributes, and so do we.
God tells us in Isaiah 66:2 “This is the one I esteem he who is humble and contrite of spirit and trembles at my word.” He also tells us in Proverbs 28:1 “The righteous are as bold as a lion.”
God is constantly looking for those he can use to partner with Him in His work. To do that we need the boldness to step out and do what He is asking us to do. And we also need a humble spirit — one that is not filled with myself, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Don’t, however, confuse humbleness with timidity. The are two different things. We can have a skewed sense of humbleness that tells us “I’’m not good enough, smart enough, rich enough to do this.” And then we do nothing, because we believe a lie. We need to have the boldness to take that step and know that God will come through and equip us to what He has called us to do.
This Christmas let’s follow in the steps of the Magi. Let’s look up, and act with a humble, bold spirit to follow God on the journey He has for us in the upcoming year. Where is He leading you?