When I drive to my parent’s house my route takes me past a wholesale shingle distributor. Outside his business each December he places a simple sign that reads: WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM. It’s a true enough statement for a traditional Christian like me to believe, but it’s also in danger of becoming a cliche. But spiritual searching in our culture also runs the danger of becoming cliche. To be a “seeker” has even become commodified. If you don’t believe me, just head to your local bookstore.
But what does a true spiritual search look like? When one searches after God, what is found? And what does a true search produce in us? With respect to these questions, those wise men from the East (Magi) still have a lot to teach us. Matthew records their search and their discovery, and what their search produced.
Great Humility. It is often assumed that humility means being uncertain of what we believe or whether truth can be found at all. Isn’t it arrogant to say that we can seek God and truly find him with certainty? Well, no. True humility means the willingness to search after what we do not know but also to look with the intention of finding. These wise men went on a search but also came to a destination. Endless searches with no goal actually are not humble because one never needs to submit to any found truth. But when we search for a true destination, it creates true humility because when we find we must kneel.
Great Generosity. If there is only a few things known about these men, one will certainly be that they brought gifts. Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh. These were expensive gifts, royal gifts. They came out of an overflow of honour and affection the wise men had for the baby they found. Why does a true search for God in Christ produce such rich generosity? It is a response to the immense generosity first shown to us by God. The Christian Gospel is one God’s grace – he came to us, he lived for us, he died in our place. Even the faith we have for him is a gift to us. Everything is a gift. And upon the receiving of the gift we become more like the Giver. God showered us with his generosity – we spend for others.
Great Worship. When the wise men searched they were humble enough to know they had found. When they arrived they poured out generously in response to the gift that had been given the world. And they also kneeled and worshipped. When we search after truth (truly search) and then find (truly find) we discover that truth is a person. That which is ultimate, absolute, divine is not abstract ideas or an ephemeral something. It is a Someone. And when we seek him, find him, we will love him. That worshipful love is the result of a true search.
Wise men sought him. Wise men still still seek him. May we be like them.