Can you imagine the excitement of the wise men to be chosen to welcome Jesus into the world? They traveled between 400-700 miles to bestow gifts to the King of the Jews. They took gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give to the King because only the best would do (Matthew 2:1-12). Think about their excitement on the journey of going to greet the King. Would He be born of royal lineage? Would He attend the finest schools? Would He live in a palace? Imagine their disappointment when they followed a star, just to find a stable.
Can you relate to this story? Have there been times where you, too, thought this opportunity was going to be life-transforming, only to find it was nothing like you thought it would be? It could be that the job turned out to be something less than ideal. Or you find out, after the wedding, that the perfect mate you searched for actually squeezes the toothpaste from the middle or leaves their clothes on the floor! The truth is that their breath stinks when they get up in the morning, just as yours does.
My favorite movie is It’s A Wonderful Life. You may remember in the movie that George Bailey’s Building and Loan company looses $8,000, through no fault of his own, and he could end up going to jail for embezzling funds. He begins to question his life, even considers taking his life. But just at the last moment an angel appears, the town’s people rally around him, bringing him a basketful of money, and everyone lives happily ever after. The problem is that, most of the time, life is not that way. You may say, “Chris that’s a great movie, but nobody comes and bails me out of my mess, and I end up filing for bankruptcy or going to jail.”
I believe there are a couple of things we can learn from the wisemen that can help us with the stables in our life. First, wise men look for God in the stables of life. The magi did not shake their heads and return home. Somehow, they found God in the stable and bowed down to worship Him. Many people in Scriptures found stables, but everything worked out fine. Joseph had a dream, but found himself in a pit. Paul was obedient, yet found himself in jail. The three Hebrew boys did what was right, and found themselves in the fire. And all Daniel did was pray, yet he was thrown into the lions’ den. Never forget, you may be in the pit, but there is a palace ahead; or you may be in jail, but there is a Philippian jailer that needs God. You may be in the furnace, but there is a fourth man, who looks like the Son of God, there with you.
Whether you are at the palace or the pit, remember this, God is with you, and He is directing your steps (Psalms 37:23; Hebrews 13:5). There is a reason for where you are and God has already made for you a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). You are fine. God’s got this!Another thing we can glean from this story is that the wise men gave their best. They did not hold anything back because of their stable experience. They did not say, well, since this is a stable, let’s just give the myrrh. We can take the gold and frankincense back with us. When we recognize that God is in the stable and that our steps are ordered of Him, we will begin to give our best in everything we do. If that Sunday School class you teach has two, not twenty-two, you need to study and prepare like it is for 102. If that job isn’t what you thought it would be, I would encourage you to do it with excellence. If you are flipping burgers, then build each one like you were building it for the Lord Himself (Colossians 3:23-24). I promise that if you do everything as if you are doing it for the Lord, even in the stables of life, you will receive the call to go to the palace. It may not be where we wanted to go, but many times it is far greater than what we wanted. Always remember: God has this. He is working something out in you and through you, and you will be fine (Romans 8:28).