Saturday, December 10, 2016

Seek First

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

-- Matthew 2:1-2

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness," Jesus advises us through Matthew's Gospel," and all these things will be given to you as well."

When we seek something--or someone--we need to know what--or whom--we're looking for. Christ-followers on their life-long spiritual journey look toward Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And every day, they seek to know him better and do God's will with purpose and vision.

If you're a Christ-follower, no one has to Majitell you that this odyssey can be rough at times. But let's consider the original Christ-followers, those who 2,000 years ago traveled countless miles through deserts and rugged terrain--just to meet Jesus in person.

They were called the Magi, but you might know them better as the Wise Men or the Three Kings. It's thought that they were astrologers from Babylon (ancient Iraq), who were familiar with the Old Testament prophesies about the Jewish people's long-awaited Messiah. In any event, they one evening recognized a very special star in the nighttime sky. It was a sign that was both breathtaking and unmistakable. And the Magi would soon follow it at all costs to gaze upon and worship the King of Kings.

The second chapter of Matthew's Gospel reveals that the Wise Men lived up to their name. Moreover, this scripture still holds lessons for modern-day Christ-followers like you and me. We learn first that following God can be dangerous and demanding. Our winding spiritual pathway is full of hairpin turns and steep hills rather than long, smooth stretches of superhighway. To reach their destination, the Magi chose the road-less-traveled rather than the direct route. So let's ask ourselves: How often throughout the day do we choose the easy way out rather than doing the difficult (but right) thing?

Their example also reassures us that as Christ-followers, we will find Jesus if we search for him diligently. The Wise Men recognized the Christ-child's star from far away. And they stayed on the path until they reached their goal.

It was a worthy lesson 20 centuries ago, and it remains so for us today. Let's set our sights upon Jesus and open our eyes, mind and heart to God's will for our lives. It's then that we'll navigate that narrow, winding road with fellow Christ-followers until we reach the Promised Land that's also our eternal home.

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