Who Do You Choose?
Jesus is a threat. To Herod, the idea of another who might take his throne and become the King of the Jews brought terror to his heart. He would lose his title and all the power and authority that came with it, so he ordered all children who might become this next king to be killed. To the wise men, Jesus was a mystery to solve, a curiosity to behold. But once solved and satisfied, there were other stars to pursue and marvel at. To allow Jesus into their lives would mean they would have to focus their worship on one “star” alone and deny themselves all other opportunities. They went on their way back to their own country. In both cases, Jesus posed a threat and he was rejected in favor of keeping with the way things were.
The coming of God in Jesus Christ into our world is a dangerous thing because his presence among us requires that we choose our allegiance. In essence, the choices are God or us. To choose God means to abdicate the throne of our lives to God, our control and all of our options. To choose God means to forsake our “own country” and devote the whole of our lives, talents, and resources to the purposes of God’s kingdom. To choose God means to give up being part of the status quo in order to be part of God’s kingdom. We dare not be deceived by this tiny, helpless babe. This little baby grows up to exchange his manger for a throne, the scorn of his own nation for the worship of all nations, and a lowly barn for the glory of the kingdom of God.
—Ms. Susie Wong
- Contrast the shepherds with the wise men and Herod. What did each have to lose and gain by the coming of God into their lives?
- Where does Jesus pose a threat in your life? What would it cost you? Of what value are these things in light of eternity?
- Towards what ends are you using your gifts, education, time, and money? What would it look like to use them on behalf of the poor?
- In what situations have you given up control in order for God to control your life?
How Do I Act?
- Exercise your social power on behalf of the poor. Write a letter to your state senator or congressperson asking them to support legislation to aid hungry children.
- Lower your standard of living and cut out one discretionary activity and/or expense in your life (ie—not eating out once a week, unnecessary purchases). Donate this money to your church or a helping ministry in your community.
- Clean out your closet and given away some of your clothes.
- Pray for people who have given up their lifestyles to live a more difficult life serving God in a special way. Be sure to include their families in your prayers.