It’s so important that our hearts be behind our actions.
I remember when my children were little and they would bicker. I’d tell them to apologize to one another, and mean it. I’m not sure if the “and mean it” part really helped, but I couldn’t stand to hear that begrudgingly offered “Sorry!” murmured only because they had to say it, not because it came from the heart. We would spend time discussing their heart-attitude and how much that meant to one another, and how much it meant to me as their momma.
Life is really all about the heart.
The wise men give us a good lesson that. In Matthew 2:1-12 we find the story of the Magi who watched the skies and noticed an unusual star. We aren’t sure how they knew this star meant the King of the Jews had been born, but they knew. And they followed it to King Herod. (I wonder if they thought a son had been born to him?) They were then pointed in the direction of Bethlehem.
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. ~ Matt 2:11
The gifts they offered were fit for royalty, yet given to baby born into poverty. Yes, they gave great gifts to this child they’d traveled so far to see. And, they gave Him their hearts. They worshiped.
And rather than head back to Herod and disclose the location of this perfect, God-in-human form baby , like he’d requested, they went home another way after being warned to do so in a dream.
What do the Magi teach us?
- As they were hopeful of a newborn king, we can place our hope in the King of Kings.
- As they were expectant, we can come to God in worship, being expectant that He will respond in love.
- As they prepared for a journey, we should take time to prepare our hearts to worship and give praise to God.
- As they were doers, we should worship God by our doing and by living our lives for Him.
- As they sought Him at all costs, we should seek our Lord eagerly- with our whole hearts!
- As they gave kingly gifts, we should give the Lord our very best gifts—our hearts! (See Isa 29:13)
We can use their obedient, heartfelt worship to inspire us to do likewise.
Many scholars have various ideas on the meaning and symbolism behind the Wise Men’s gifts. But one thing upon which they agree is that in the very least, the gifts acted as a fund to help Mary and Joseph travel to Egypt to keep Jesus safe from being killed by Herod. And this of course fulfilled the prophecy, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matt 2:15)
Had the Magi not come to worship and bestow gifts upon Jesus, events may have been different. Instead, they gave sacrificially—their worship and treasure—and thereby secured protection of our Holy Savior. They followed their hearts and worshiped. In in their obedience, they became a crucial part of God’s plan.
And just like I’ve seen with my children, life is about the heart. Worship is about the heart!
Here’s a free printable of verses to help you give God the uncommon gift of heartfelt worship. Hang it somewhere you can read over the verses and meditate on them throughout the day.
How does the response of the Wise Men to the Kingship of Jesus inspire you to worship the Lord? How can you demonstrate the uncommon gift of worship throughout December and beyond?