Summary: What would be your response if God gave you a mission like He did the wisemen?
Someone once asked the question: "Do you know what would have happened If it had been Three Wise Women, Instead of Three Wise Men?" The answer:
They would have asked for directions,
Arrived on time,
Helped deliver the baby,
Cleaned the stable,
Made a casserole,
Brought practical gifts and
There would be Peace On Earth. (1)
Last weeks question was "What if God spoke to you the way He did Mary?", but "What if He gave you a mission like He did the wisemen?" We might have several choices of how to respond, but I want us to look at how the wisemen respoonded:
1. They had "purposeful worship": They went to great lengths to worship, they - traveled afar - sought out the King - brough gifts - followed a star - all to pay homage! All to pay homage and worship the King.
illustraition: There is a splendid moment in the movie Jurassic Park, when world-class paleontologist Allen Grant, who has devoted his life to the study of dinosaurs, suddenly comes face-to-face with real, live prehistoric creatures. He falls to the ground, dumbstruck. The reason is obvious. It is one thing to piece together an informed but nonetheless imperfect image of dinosaurs by picking through fossils and bones. But to encounter an actual dinosaur—well, there can be no comparison.
For many people, spirituality amounts to picking through the artifacts of faith that survive from long ago and far away. In that bygone era, humans saw God, heard His voice, and experienced his awesome, at times terrible, power. But that was then. Today, those kinds of gripping encounters with God—with a God who wasn’t an illusion, but Someone who was real, Someone you could see, and touch, and feel—well, there could be no comparison. (2)
The wisemen were searching for meaning in life outside of themselves; they were seeking the One who made life meaningful; ... not money, power or position... and all the while, their real aim, purposeful worship of the King.
2) Secondly, to complete their mission they were in tune with "what was right, and what was wrong":
An intuitive sense - warned in a dream - a little conscinous - coem on let’s face, who in this room this morning, when we get down to the nuts and bolts of it, we know what is right, and we know what is wrong. Sometimes we ignor what is wrong, for the pleasure of the moment, but afterwards comes guilt and seperation. Or we find ourselves sidetracked from the mission.
Not the wisemen... in tune with God they realized what was wrong, and they did not return to herod.
Elisabeth Elliot, at 76, told of her brother Thomas Howard. Their mother let him play with paper bags she’d saved if he put them away afterwards. One day she walked into the kitchen to find them strewn all over the floor. Tom was out at the piano with his father singing hymns. When confronted, he protested, "But Mom, I want to sing." His father stated, "It’s no good singing God’s praise if you’re disobedient." (3)
3) The wisemen had a joy for and about worship:
I spoke a little bit about this two weeks ago when I talked about the comparison between Herod and the Grinch. When the wisemen finally arrived to worship the Messiah, and saw that the star had stopped, they "were overwhelmed with Joy".
The wisemen had a joy, because Jesus was their joy. And yet some of us who claim to me on a mission like the wisemen, don’t have a joy for worship; or a Joy for Jesus! (4) "As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: "It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians--and I am one of them." I might add, "I am one of them, and so are you; and like the wisemen of the world we must have Joy for Jesus!"
4) Lastly, if God were to give of a mission like He did the wisemen (and the point being, He does) we must "be in it for the long haul": Some speculate the wisemen followed that star for two years. Some say they left early and arrived just after the birth. Some put them arriving when Jesus was about two years old, which is why Herod had all the children two and under killed. It was, whatever the case, not a short journey. We often picture them on camels... so that had transportation, but could you imagine two years on the back of a camel? Now that is dedication.