The Magi in the Gospel of Matthew asked: “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” It is the start of a new year. This is a time given over to reflection and resolutions. This question asked by the Magi is a good one to reflect on; we might in turn ask: where is Jesus seen in my life? How am I being the hands and feet of Jesus?
Through the lens of stewardship, this question is very important. It leads us to examine how we are expressing our faith in Christ Jesus through the resources God has given us; our time, skills, and finances. That is what Biblical stewardship is about: utilizing and managing all the resources God has provided for the glory of God and the betterment of God’s creation. And this is what the Magi did. Compelled to follow the star that signaled the birth of the newborn King of the Jews, they set out to worship him in the best ways they knew how.
We cannot know for certain how far they traveled on their journey. Some scholars suggest “the East” meant they traveled anywhere from 600–1,200 kilometers over diverse terrain. So you can imagine that their expedition required many resources, including time, finances, and skills. I am sure it also meant the giving up of things, such as opportunities, events, and time with friends and family. But together they prioritized what they saw as important and made it happen. They willingly embarked on a difficult journey—likely with doubts, questions, and sacrifices.
But it is an important journey to Jesus Christ. As Matthew 2:10-11a says, “When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.” In Greek, where it says, “they were overwhelmed with joy,” it means “overwhelmed with mega joy!” Their “mega joy” was heartfelt awe that led to worship. It was not a fleeting moment of happiness. Instead, it was worship deep from a heart filled with wonderment.
Truly, worship is a time where your head and heart connect in awe and reverence of God. Like the Magi, we are to humble ourselves to worship the Lord. This is what the Magi did when they saw Mary and Jesus—they “knelt down and paid homage,” humbling themselves in the presence of the One worthy of worship.
Finally, we reach the most famous part of this passage: the giving of gifts. St. Matthew says, “opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Stewarding the resources God has given each of us and giving back to God through our time, skills, and finances is a part of discipleship. It is truly an integral part of worship, of showing and accepting love from God with joy. God does not necessarily call us to give extravagantly. But we are called to steward the resources God has provided thoughtfully and generously. When you delight in someone you want to give in a way that is meaningful and thoughtful.
As we enter this new year, let’s resolve to be more like the Magi and step out on a journey of faith—one that requires our heads, hearts, and resources and that will include both sacrifice and mega joy. Most of all, this is a journey that leads us along the path of the Magi to worship Jesus Christ.