March 9 – The Gospel of Matthew – Chapter 2

Read Matthew 2:1-23

The story of the wise men is a familiar part of the Christmas story. Many of us know the part about men from the East traveling to see the baby Jesus. We know they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  They even have their own Christmas carol. What really strikes me, though, is how persistent they were in their endeavor to find the Christ-child. After all, they were wise, smart men who were pursuing an infant. I wonder why they didn’t give up? Why did they sacrifice their time and money to find a baby? Why didn’t they wait until He was older and of an age when He would have had a more significant role in society? What prompted and motivated these men to pursue like they did? What kept them focused when they may have been tempted to give up?

Planning a vacation for our family is one of my favorite things to do. I like to organize our bags and pack activities for the long drive. I like to plan our menu and have snacks and drinks ready for the kids. I even pack “extras” for the just-in-case-something- goes-wrong situations that are bound to arise. I like to think I am ready for whatever we may encounter. However, when we are down the road, in the middle of the journey, it’s never as fun as I imagined. The kids are not impressed with my organizational skills, which I would like them to honor by putting their activities back in the bag they came out of. The snacks aren’t as tasty and refreshing as I had hoped. Someone has to go to the bathroom right as the kid who never falls asleep has just conked out. Argh! The journey never goes like I had it planned in my mind. I end up wondering if all the planning and packing is worth it.

If I compare my faith journey to my vacation planning, I find some similarities. I want to be prepared and ready for bumps that I may encounter along the way. I memorize Scripture that will help me fend off doubts and worries. I build relationships with people whom I love and trust to guide me. I also set aside time to get to know and pursue God. Ultimately, my destination is a relationship with the One who loves me unconditionally and forgives my sins.

I wonder if the wise men encountered any problems as they traveled. Were there days when they wanted to turn around and go home? I am sure there were. However, they continued on. Their goal was to meet the Messiah. They were persistent in their pursuit. They didn’t give up when the going got tough.

They persevered.

Are you pursuing Christ? Are you persistent in your pursuit? In 1 Timothy 6, Paul encourages a fellow believer to “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” To do this, we must stay committed to the truth. We must take each step of our journey in faith. We must persevere despite setbacks and hardships. Where are you at in the journey of faith in Christ? Are you just beginning to understand who God is or are you on down the road a ways? Are you getting to know Him better each day through reading His Word, praying for understanding, and being in fellowship with other believers? If not, take some time to recommit to the journey. Refocus your goal of knowing God better and pursuing Him.

Tammy Finney

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