The Wise Man
Matthew 2:1,2 Now after Jesus was born… wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he? … For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
In Matthew, we read the only account of those whom he refers to as Wise Men. These learned men, Matthew reports, read of Christ’s birth in the stars. Interpreting some truth about his divine origins, they responded in dramatic fashion, traveling from afar, bearing lavish gifts and eventually bowing down in worship of Jesus. In short, they learned the truth and responded appropriately. In theory, I want to be wise like these men. In reality, I am often a fool.
There are those who believe that I am the sum of what I know. Thus, if I just know the truth, I will act accordingly. This may be the case for some, but I stand as evidence that this theory is not universally true. I do not think I have ever engaged in any real disastrous pursuit of my flesh while thinking it a right behavior. Mine has never been a problem of knowing right, but rather, behaving right.
Knowing the right path to a destination may be a prerequisite for getting there, but knowledge of the route is not the same as traveling the route. Solomon insisted that The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). I think he described it as the beginning because knowledge of God is the right starting point but it is not wisdom itself. Wisdom only happens when right knowledge leads to right action.
Most of us, I think, can identify with knowing what is right but wanting what is wrong more. Thus, we have found ourselves in destruction, not out of ignorance, but simply out of preference. I want to do right, just not right now. Wisdom makes the tough choice up front and reaps the rewards later. Foolishness wants immediate gratification, not caring about the coming cost.
I have in my foolishness, found myself to be wise. I have been proud of my knowledge of God (which now seems silly). I have refused to follow Christ’s commands to feed the poor, clothe the naked and visit those in prison. All the while, I found myself to be wise because of my supposed knowledge of God. I did not follow God. I knew of him but I followed self and I paid the price.
These Wise Men however, show me that it is not enough just to know of God. If I really want to know God, I have to follow. I have to live out the truth if I truly want to be wise.