November 17, 2017

Pastoral Nuggets: The Journey of Discovery

Brother-Aaron-236x300Certain portions of the Christmas Story reveal tremendous truths about mankind’s journey of discovery as it relates to our desire to come to terms with Who this Jesus really is. I suppose we are all on this journey together.

All of must decide for ourselves what we really believe about this Babe in the Manger, Who would grow up to become our Sacrificial Savior.

Sadly, some have written Him off as being non-existent. Some say belief in Him is merely a crutch for the downtrodden and feeble-minded. Some have decided His life presents a good moral standard they should strive to emulate.

To some He was a visionary, revolutionary leader, Who was martyred for a great cause. To others He is merely one in a long line of historical “do-gooders.” However, to many He is our Savior.

The portion of the Christmas story relating to the wise men speaks to the issue of men being on a journey of discovery. How many wise men were there? Why, everybody knows there were three, right? We’ve seen it in every Christmas play that ever was! However, the truth is that we don’t know how many there were.

The Bible doesn’t say.  We equate their number with the three different gifts they brought:1) Gold. 2) Frankincense. 3) Myrrh. Oh! And we also know that the three wise men presented their gifts to the baby Jesus in the manger, right? Wrong! They presented their gifts some two years later at the home of Joseph and Mary.

Who were these wise men? The Bible teaches us they were astrologers. The Jews considered them to be counterfeits of true prophecy. But herein lies the lesson we need to consider today.

As believers, each of us will encounter people along our life paths who live lifestyles we do not agree with. Yet, they are genuinely seeking to discover Who Jesus really is. We must learn to be gracious and kind to them and to help them in their journey of discovery.

We must learn that we don’t help them discover Who Jesus is as much by berating and condemning them for their lifestyle and things we are against as we do by loving them and modeling before them what we are for. This is what the Babe in the Manger would grow up to do!  Isn’t this what we should do?

What path of discovery did they take? Well, they certainly didn’t employ what Archimedes principle states, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.”

For two years they followed the star. I’m sure their path brought them through many countries and caused them to interact with many different people groups, cultures, religions, and philosophies of life. But they kept following the star and eventually they found Who they were seeking. I am reminded of a story I heard once about a farmer and his son. It was winter. When they finished what they were doing on the farm they walked from the pasture back to the house.

It had snowed and both the dad and his son left tracks in the snow as they returned to the house. The dad’s tracks simply went in a straight line from where he was to his destination. However, the young boy’s tracks meandered everywhere.

They led to the barn where he checked on his horse, the tractor where he climbed on and jumped off, by the pond where he visited with the ducks, and finally under the back porch where he played with his dog awhile before going into the house. Both were on the same journey.

One went straight from Point A to Point B. The other meandered.  However, both wound up at the correct place. So it is with our journey of discovery regarding Who Jesus really is. Some go directly from Point A to Point B. Others meander.

The important thing is that, as the wise men, we keep our eyes on the Star of Christmas and though our paths may meander, when our journey is finished, we arrive safely where He is.

When we examine the tracks left by The Nazarene – The Babe in the Manger – we discover they meandered through the lives of lame folk, blind folk, politicians, fishermen, prostitutes and harlots, religious leaders, and folk from every imaginable tribe, country, and persuasion. But if we follow them, they lead us to where He is! This is the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Merry Christmas!

Brother Aaron

 

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