And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold
and frankincense and myrrh. — Matthew 2:11
In these figures that the New Testament calls Magi, we see a fitting image for us as we begin a three-week focus on financial stewardship. While we don’t know much about these strange men who appear suddenly and then just as suddenly disappear from the scene of Scripture, we are left with one very clear image. These Wise Men, whoever they are, brought gifts!
These men, with extravagant generosity, give us a clear focus on our life of worship before the Lord. To a King to which they had no claim, they bring the best of what they have. Wealth, worship, witness, and a foreshadowing of woe is what they give.
Gold is the wealth. It is a gift fit for a king! Frankincense is the worship. The prayers of the ancients were symbolized by the smoke of the incense rising upward (Revelation 8:4). But what about the myrrh? That was an expensive spice for burial. This foreshadows what this Child will do for them, and for us — give His life for the sins of the world as His name means. None of these gifts were cheap. They cost them dearly.
But they didn’t see it as a cost. They saw it as worship. This king would be their king. He would be your king too! Over these next few weeks, consider the gifts you will bring to our king. The gifts that the Lord calls us to bring are best called simple gifts. These gifts are to follow the model of the Magi. Not inexpensive nor seen as costly. But flowing from a heart that is full of the glory that is revealed to us in the babe of Bethlehem who has come to die for us. Our gifts flow from gratitude for what our Lord has done for us and the world. They don’t have to be golden, fragrant, nor a sign of death. Rather they are to be gifts that rejoice in the new baptismal life we have in this Jesus. The Jesus — who is the Savior revealed to us.
©2019 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Used with permission.