I am on my phone it seems all day long. Church people, family and friends call me with joys, sorrows, with business or just to chat, and I love these calls. Regularly I field calls from the public with some need that they hope the church can cover so I do not mind these conversations. During lunch and dinner and other times of inconvenience it seems telemarketers call to get me to donate to their most worthy causes or to buy windows for my house. And I tolerate those calls. There is a call I get, though, that leaves me really conflicted in my reaction to it; when a school bus driver calls with a hopeful voice saying they need a sub. You see, I have two kids in college and I want them to be educated so I drive the school bus when asked to earn some extra money. The mixed reaction comes from the initial thought of “I have enough pain in my life without this today” that rolls over to “the extra money sure is nice” (considering I have kids in college that attend every class, do all homework and are frugal to a fault with Dad and Mom’s money) I don’t mind driving.
There is one deep-seated angst held by all substitute bus drivers – knowing where to go. I may be on 12 different routes in a year making it impossible for me to know where every house in the school district is located. This then gives me no choice but to swallow my pride and present the question to the riders “where do I go now?” A newsflash to some of the more naïve out there who call me because their child was dropped off late – your kid was probably of no help. In fact he may have been the little darling who tried to be “helpful” in the first place. My goal is to get everyone dropped off at the right place at the right time safely. I can control the “safely” part but the rest is dependent entirely on good directions and who is giving them.
There are three types of eager volunteers, those that want be the jokester and lead me on a merry chase, those that do not realize it but know the route as poorly as me and the rare rider with compassion that tells me accurately where to go (as opposed in certain discipline situations where a student adamantly tells me where to go, though, it is more of a theological destination and not geographical – a topic for another day.) The jokesters are most easily spotted because they have a genetic inability to keep a straight face. They come walking up the aisle with a mile wide grin and a plan to make a prank so memorable they will be spoken about in hushed tones and reverence by generations of bus riders to come. So far I have deflected the helpfulness of the jokesters. But, I have fallen prey repeatedly to the innocent and ignorant that are directionally challenged. Just last week I had a young elementary student want to help so I said “sure, I would love to have your help”. After introducing myself and getting his name I asked “where do we go from here?” On pulling out of the school he said, “Left! No right! I mean left!” As I looked in the mirror he was hold up his hands at arms lengths, thumbs spread apart saying “my left hand makes and L”. It seems I picked the only dyslexic second grader in school because I made more wrong turns in that trip then a mouse in a maze. I have had others point out stops as if I can see behind my back, one kid told me the next blue house and as I blew by her home she said “Oh, I mean yellow” -an up and coming Picasso I am sure. If you do not know where you are going it really is a good idea to get directions from someone who does.
In the Christmas story we read of the Magi’s coming to Jesus because they knew a great king was born and they were drawn to worship Him. It amazes me that God guided them through the unmapped wilderness and desert by providing clear and perfect directions. Just follow the star! From the first time these wise men saw the star they knew something special was taking place and they yearned to be a part of it. Unwaveringly they followed the star in the East until they dramatically arrived at the house of the baby king humbly presenting Him with precious gifts lovingly packed and protected those many miles. The star never failed them through the rough mountain terrain, hot blistering desert and rolling hills and valleys. They journeyed with one thought – follow the star and it leads to the King.
The star led the wise men to not just a king but an even greater star that if followed will lead and never fail. In Numbers 24:17 Balaam prophecies, “I see him, but not now; I behold him but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; A scepter out of Israel.” Jesus not only came as a King but as a guiding star. Peter in his second book at 1:19 further tells us “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Pay attention to the star – a beacon of light in a dark, dark world leading to a place of salvation – salvation in our own hearts. Who is that star? He speaks for Himself in Revelation 22: 16 where we read, “I, Jesus have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches; I am the Root and the Offspring of David and the bright Morning Star.”
Wise men today still follow the star. Are you one of them? Do you have the Morning Star rising in your heart? The Magi had the thought, “follow the star and it leads to the King”. Today keep this thought “follow the star because he IS the King.” Jesus gives good directions.
This daily devotion is written by John Key