Matthew 2:11 – On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
This is hopefully my first of many ponderings on scripture to come as I go through a New Testament Survey course. Reading through Matthew this week, this verse above struck me. It made me think, do I bring my treasures to Christ? Not only that, but do I drop whatever I’m doing when I hear God’s call in order to bring those treasures to Him?
|Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi
We do not know a lot about the Magi – or Wise Men – that brought these gifts to Jesus when they were shown “his star in the east” and came to worship him, but thinking about these men as real people makes you realize some things: most people have things to do with their time, especially in this time that we live now. I don’t think that is new to people though, so one can assume that these Magi had full schedules with responsibilities and things they needed to do. But when they hear of the “king of the Jews” being born and are led by God to go and worship Him and bring Him treasures – not only do they do just that, but they stop whatever else they were doing in order to do so.
When I do hear God’s call, (if I even end up listening to it at all), I have a tendency to finish whatever things I have already on my “to do” list before doing what it is that God has called me to. Especially when I feel God’s call to bring Him “my” treasures (as if they are really mine to begin with, but that’s another story for another time), I pause when the star is pointing the way and think “well, lets look at this month’s budget…” (since God must not be big enough to provide for whatever it is He has called me to give to), and “let me be sure I pay all the other ‘important’ things first” – yikes, doesn’t He ask for our first fruits?
Going through what God has led me through over the past few years, I have been (slowly) learning this lesson of giving to God. It is somewhat “ironic” that I have been learning that lesson and am now depending on the generosity of others and how God leads them to give in order to provide for our needs. But through this lesson, it has been coming more clear to me about the truth behind God’s word when He says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). We know where the hearts of the wise men were at this time… And even more so, we know where God’s heart is – after all, he sent the greatest treasure of all to pay our debts to Him. That fact alone should cause us (me heavily included) to desire to easily be open to wherever it is that God is calling us to give.
|Chuck with the “Neighbor kids”.
|We received a very encouraging message in the most recent newsletter from one of the missionaries that we support from our church. Chuck McDonald and his wife Tammy have an amazing story, and God has given them an amazing heart for outreach to the impoverished and orphaned children of Kenya – I highly encourage anyone reading our blog to go check out their website (www.savedbygodsgrace.org) to learn more about how God is using them to reach these children and even to pray about how God could use you to help the McDonalds in their ministry.
Michelle and I have often been encouraged by not just the words of Chuck and Tammy, but of the evidence of how God has been working in and through their lives – at times I have felt like I was looking in a mirror when I hear them talk of how God has changed their hearts and opened them up to the mission field that God has called them into full-time. Even though we are both in different life places and will be serving God in different ways, the change that has taken place to lead each of us to where we are is very much similar.
This month was another example of how encouraged we have been through the McDonalds and what God is teaching them. In the newsletter, Chuck talks about “God’s timing…why does He seem to wait until the last minute?…for our good!” Right out of the gate one can assume where this lesson is going, but something that was stated later really hit home for me especially with the process that Michelle and I are currently going through of building our team of ministry partners. I think that this can apply to most anyone, because I know it isn’t the first time I have had a struggle with my timing vs. God’s timing. This is not the first time I have heard something on this topic either, and I am sure it won’t be the last, but for some reason the way Chuck worded it in this letter really struck me in a way I hadn’t thought of before.
The statement that really struck me was this: “What I have found out is the plans He has take time, He is working in people’s lives we don’t even know will be involved, but the waiting is for our benefit and for others He is calling to be a part of His plan…” What an amazing thought! What an amazing perspective of clarification to have on the whole “waiting on God’s timing” point of view we are to have. Of course we want to get down to Florida to start reaching the students on the Walt Disney World College Program, but there is more to our ministry than that… not to belittle the incredible opportunity that the WDW ministry holds, because it is an AWESOME opportunity, but we shouldn’t rush out of what potential God has for us in reaching a ministry partner that He maybe hasn’t even introduced us to yet. Reading through Chuck’s current example of how well God’s timing worked out for them in their urgent situation, it is amazing to think that if they would have had things happen a little faster – in their timing – then they might not have had the incredible work that has happened happen. I won’t go into too much detail on their specifics, so that you can go to their site and find out for yourself, but it just made me excited to know that whatever God’s timing is for the process we are currently in of raising our support, it is for His glory that things will work out the way they will… And thankfully, it is also for our good, and by our I don’t just mean the Patrick family – although of course it includes us – but I mean our as in what it says in Romans 8:28:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
He is working in “our” timing for the good of all of us who love him and have been called according to his purpose. I guess that again I need to remember that everything isn’t just about me and mine… but there is a bigger picture going on that we amazingly get to be a part of.
If you are curious to learn more about the amazing work Chuck and Tammy are doing to build a sustainable source of food and water for the orphans in Kenya, click here to read about their special project and consider making a Christmas gift to help buy farmland and drill a well for clean water. God is blessing their ministry in Kenya and we know you will be blessed when you read more about it just like we have been.