by Shannon Caughey
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We talk and sing about those who played important roles in what unfolded in the little town of Bethlehem: Mary and Joseph, shepherds, a vast host of angels. As we wrap up this series of devotions on “wise coaching,” it’s appropriate to consider another group who came to see the child: the wise men.
The definition we’ve been using for biblical wisdom is “being skilled at living well in this world.” The narrative in Matthew 2:1-12 about the wise men points to what’s at the heart of truly living well and coaching well: right worship. Worship is a response of adoration, reverence, and devotion to someone or something. Why does right worship lead to wise living and coaching?
Matthew 2 begins, “1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’” Later in the chapter we read what the wise men do upon locating Jesus (v. 11): “They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
The wise men’s desire to worship Jesus – right worship – models a couple dimensions of wise living and coaching:
1. Diligently seeking Jesus leads to living and coaching wisely.
The wise men were the scholars and researchers of that day. They likely lived in Babylonia. While they were not Jewish, they studied the Hebrew Scriptures (what we today know as the Old Testament) and came to the conclusion that a king of great significance was coming. This king would bring needed salvation to people and usher in a glorious, eternal kingdom. Their research also led them to believe that a particular star indicated this king had arrived.
The wise men did more than learn some interesting facts about this prophesied king. They recognized that this king would be a game-changer for the world. So they traveled the 500+ miles from Babylonia to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem – pushing through inconveniences and hardships, refusing to be deterred – out of a desire to personally encounter this king. The wise men made it a priority to diligently seek King Jesus.
We live and coach wisely when we don’t settle for learning some things about Jesus or giving him lip service once in a while. As we diligently seek him, making it a priority to know him more personally and deeply, we find in Jesus the source of life: the life for which we were created, the life of thriving according to God’s good design under his reign as our King.
2. Genuine adoration of Jesus and surrender to him leads to living and coaching wisely.
Their diligent search for the newborn king is rewarded, and the wise men “bowed down and worshiped him.” They gave him costly gifts that were typically given to kings in that time – expressions of their reverence and devotion. The response of the wise men to Jesus the King offers a picture of genuine adoration and surrender.
Similar to these wise men, when we revere and adore King Jesus – when our hearts are set on him – we will be compelled to follow him in full surrender. Why? Because we know that he is loving, good, righteous, just, and perfectly wise. Submitting to his reign over us is the path to living and coaching wisely. As we’re devoted to Jesus as our King, he will lead us and empower us to live and coach in ways that honor him and impact others for him.
To be a wise coach, engage in the right worship: revering, adoring, and being devoted to Jesus Christ. Prioritize seeking Jesus day by day, growing in your relationship with him. Willingly surrender to Christ’s reign over every area, trusting him and his work in and through you. This Christmas and throughout the year, worship Jesus as your Savior, Lord, and King. He alone gives you true skill in living and coaching well in this world.
For reflection: Take some time to express your worship to Jesus. Praise him for being Savior, Lord, and King. Pray for an even deeper devotion to him as a coach and in all areas of your life.