The Opposite of Stupid
You’re stupid! How’s that make you feel when someone tells you this; maybe it has never happened to you? It happened to me once or twice in my life, well maybe that many times a week. When we worked at a residential home for teens we had to outlaw the guys from calling each other stupid. Talk about each other’s mom – no problem, call the guy stupid and it was on! Obviously this insult cuts deeply to the core. Nobody wants to be defined as stupid but how do you combat stupid?
The opposite of being stupid is not acting smart but wisely. A stupid person makes silly and idiotic decisions detrimental to themselves and all others around them. A smart person knows things. A wise person, though, knows how to take these things making prudent and sound decisions to the benefit of themselves and all others that they may influence. Just like stupid reflects your core, wisdom projects from the core the character of the one possessing it. How then does someone work toward wisdom?
In Proverbs 2 it says “…and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom…” In the Matthew account of the Christmas story we are privy to a glimpse of how the magi projected wisdom by pursuing God. “We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (v.2) brings us a thought totally different than anyone else seemed to grasp. The star was in the night sky for all to see; no one has their own personal star that only they can view. Stars are public. Even though everyone else looked in awe as a fantastic new star traveled the night sky only the wise men actually followed it! The wise men were not wise because of the stars they observed but because of the one they followed. Likewise, it is not the stars we see that makes us wise but the one we follow; the bright Morningstar.
Upon arrival the wise men did another thing demonstrating their wisdom. Verse 11 tells us that “On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother and they bowed down and worshiped Him.” These men did not come out of mere curiosity or a desire to be first on the scene. Even though they possessed a vast range of knowledge, knowing the baby Jesus by worshiping him was what they most desired. These men were wise because they honored through worship one greater than they were, the greatest one who will ever live.
Furthermore Matthew says “Then they open their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and incense and myrrh” (v.11). After presenting their hearts in worship to Emmanuel- “God with us”, they gave to Him freely whatever they treasured. Wise men realize that the creator God still owns all things; giving our treasures humbly for His glory shows a person after God’s own heart, the one who unselfishly gave the ultimate gift of His very own Son to us.
After worshiping Jesus the wise men understood in amazement the significance of the baby king. They knew now that King Herod did not want them to return to his palace so he could worship the baby as he said. Having given their hearts to Jesus through worship they were now transformed and could clearly hear the voice of God, “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route” (v.12). After actively pursuing the star culminating in a place of complete worship the wise men honored God with their treasures and through the experience were radically transformed. Wise men are changed by personally encountering Jesus.
May your Christmas give you joy in the passionate pursuit of Christ the Morningstar as you take time to worship Him in an act of quiet homage and love. Freely honor Him with your treasure allowing His presence to result in a gift of transformation for your heart and soul. May the message of Christmas be so transforming that we all go home “a different way!”
This daily devotion is written by John Key