Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Treasure Hunt

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

-- Isaiah 55:6

Have you ever considered what life would be like if we never had to work for anything? For instance, what would happen if we got straight A’s in school without ever studying? Or what if we received a high-paying job but had no real responsibilities?

Getting everything on a silver platter might be nice for a while. But without experiencing challenges, responsibilities and even tragedies, we can quickly become lazy, self-centered and ultimately fail to reap some of life’s greatest rewards. Just ask anyone who had to work their way through college or take a second or third job to pay the mortgage or send their child to a better school. It can be a struggle. But it can also pay off in the end.

Of course, let’s not forget that we can never work hard enough or do enough good deeds to earn our way into God’s good graces. It was only Jesus’ death on the cross that paid that high price. But as Christ-followers, it’s still up to us to live lives that reflect His love in action: in our community, in the workplace – and of course – right at home. It’s all part of our unique faith journeys.

Let’s now consider some of the very first Christ-followers – those who traveled hundreds of miles through deserts and rugged terrain just to meet Him. They were called the Magi, but you might know them better as the Wise Men or the Three Kings. It’s thought by some scholars that they were astrologers from Babylon (ancient Iraq) who were familiar with Old Testament prophesies about the Jewish people’s long-awaited Messiah. As God had planned it centuries earlier, a very special star appeared to them in the nighttime sky. It was a sign that was both astounding and unmistakable. It was the Magi’s roadmap for finding the king of Kings. And follow it and find Him they did!

The Magi’s journey holds lessons for modern day Christ-followers. The first is that following God can be dangerous and demanding. To reach their goal, the Wise Men had to cross miles of rugged, unpredictable terrain. Likewise, our faith journeys are full of hairpin turns and steep hills rather than smooth stretches of superhighway. But let’s ask ourselves: how often do we choose the easy way out of situations rather than doing the difficult (but right) thing?

The Magi’s long journey also reminds us that we’ll find Him if we search diligently through faith. After spotting Christ’s star in the sky, the Wise Men grasped their life-changing opportunity, stayed on the rough path and ultimately found the Savior. Yes, there really is treasure to be found in life if we’re willing to accept Jesus’ invitation and take the first step. Our hands are sure to get dirty. And we’ll get a scrape or two. But the incredible rewards will be worth the effort.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” Christ assures His followers. “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

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