Worship, as Taught by the Magi (Matthew 2:11)

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11

Four things stand out about this initial worship of Christ by the magi.

One, the magi worship Jesus, not Mary. I know that there are folks in the world who venerate Mary; who hold Mary up as an especially holy woman. While she was, as the angle attested, highly favored, she was no different than any other believer. She had her doubts and sometimes even thought her Son had lost His mind. She would, eventually, understand, but there is nothing in the scriptures that indicates that she was anything more or less than a servant of God who made herself available when God said He wanted to use her for His glory. The magi established the Who of worship right off the bat. They worshiped Jesus.

Two, the magi humbled themselves as part of their worship. The words used seem to indicate that the magi bowed and bowed lower before Jesus. This is the proper beginning for worship: getting the right perspective. Worship is not about me or what I want. Worship is about God. The sooner I get down off my high horses and soap boxes, the sooner I will be near to the ground where I should be bowing before my Lord and God. God does not need my pontification, nor does He want it. He wants me. And the principles I have seen in His Word tell me that I must humble myself before Him so that He can lift me up.

Three, the magi brought valuable things as part of their worship. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were costly items in that time. But, more than the cost of the gifts, these individuals had invested their time and energy into this moment of worship. They had traveled a long distance and sought diligently to find Jesus. They brought costly items, but no item more costly than their time and attention. These are still the most precious gifts I can offer to God today, especially in our über-connected, fast-paced modern world. To turn away from all of the distractions and give God my undivided attention for a time is a gift upon which no price can truly be placed. To give my time — the one resource of which I can never get more — is yet another precious gift. Am I bringing God my undivided attention and truly giving Him the time that I spend worshiping?

Four, this worship was planned spontaneity. This moment was spontaneous only insofar as these wise men were moved to worship at that moment. It was highly planned in that the moment required a great deal of setup. They had to provision and travel and zero-in on their destination and travel more until they had found Christ. The had procured the gifts they would present and packed them up along with whatever provisions they would need. I need to plan time for worship in my schedule. It will not happen otherwise. This does not mean that I must plan out every aspect, only that I must make time in my schedule to sit with God and be blown away by Who He is and what He does. I might sing or pray or read His Word or simply be still and know that He is God. Whatever happens in that time, I must make that time or surrender myself to a self-imposed lack of worship in my life.

The magi show that worship involves four things: the right person — Jesus, the right posture — humility, the right presence — I must be fully present in the time I spend in worship, and the right planning — I must plan time for worship and let God take it from there.

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