The Wise Men’s experience at Christmas defines the difference in wise men or wise guys. Wise men know and follow the wisdom of God. Wise guys are cocky, arrogant, egotistical, and are going to trust their own wits instead of God. Two characteristics of wise men were discussed last week – wise men saw the star, and wise men followed the star. Here are three more characteristics.
- When the Wise Men lost sight of the star, they kept going forward (Matthew 2:3-10).
The Wise Men didn’t pack up and go home. Losing sight of the star was temporary. They had studied and were prepared. They kept going forward.
Wise men always move forward. When Moses led the people of Israel out of bondage, they faced what they thought were impossible situations. Whenever Moses came to God for advice, God told him, “Tell the people to go forward.” It’s easy to get discouraged and disappointed. Sometimes a vision becomes confusing, or you don’t see the vision clearly. Wise men keep going forward regardless. Wise guys pack up and go back home.
- When the Wise Men arrived at the scene, they worshipped the Christ child and brought Him costly gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).
Wise men are givers. Wise guys are takers. Christmas is a time that demonstrates the difference between wise men and wise guys. My friend Mary Ann Pickard wrote that “the custom of giving gifts is more in harmony with the Wise Men’s story than receiving gifts from Santa Claus.” Next year will provide opportunities for you to give of your time, your talent, and your treasure in many specific ways. Be a giver, not a taker.
- The Wise Men went home a different way (Matthew 2:12).
The Wise Men were warned by an angel to go home a different way. They didn’t ask questions – they obeyed. They followed God’s directions which protected themselves and the Holy Family. Wise men follow God’s direction – wise guys try to determine their own path. Wise men know God never makes a mistake in His sovereign plan and leadership.
God has an eternal view about life that wise men accept. I was in Atlanta, Georgia staying at a hotel. As you know, massive traffic jams occur at rush hour. I was staying in a room many stories up. I looked out the window and could see traffic jams everywhere. From my vantage point, I could actually see some areas that were not as congested, and I wanted to tell those drivers to take an alternate route. But I couldn’t communicate to them. God has a vantage point that we don’t have. Any lack of communication with God is not on His part but from our lack of listening and receiving and following.
Wise men know God has a better view of life. Wise men hear from God and obey. The meaning of Christmas is living life a different way. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature – old things are passed away and all things are new.”
I remember reading about a salesman who got lost on a country road in south Alabama. He stopped and asked a farmer how far it was to Elba. The farmer smiled and said, “The way you are going, it’s about 25,000 miles! But if you turn around, go back to the corner of the field, take a right, go about a mile and take a left, you are only 5 minutes away.”
God has a destination for each of us in 2018. What direction are you headed? How far away is it the way you are traveling? How close would it be if you were willing to turn around and follow God’s directions? Read Proverbs 3:5-6.
Wise men see the star, follow the star, keep going forward when they can’t see it clearly, give and worship, and are willing to go into the New Year a different way. Wise guys are just self-centered, cocky, egotistical, and want to decide their own destination.
In 2018, will you be a wise man or a wise guy?