The Wise Men

They entered the house where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts.

(Matthew 2:11)(NLT)

Every now and then people will quip that they can worship in their garden or on the golf course just as well as in a church. While this may be true for some, many simply use it as an excuse to skip church. The true motive behind their statement can usually be discovered in their answer to one small question: "Well, do you?" The wise men who came to Bethlehem literally went to great lengths to worship the Lord. They embarked on a long journey in order to adore the newborn King of the Jews because they understood the importance of worship. And just as the wise men's eagerness to worship the Lord troubled King Herod, their earnestness can still unsettle us and teach us about worship today.


In addition to presenting themselves for worship, the wise men brought gifts. They worshiped the Lord by their presence and their presents: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As costly as those gifts were by themselves, they gained even greater value when given to Jesus. We, too, can give gifts to God, and watch him multiply them for his glory, much like a seed bringing forth plentiful fruit.


The wise men's gifts provide us with many insights about worship:

Gold has always been a valued commodity and traditionally represents material wealth. Worship includes giving a portion of our material blessings to the church or to others in Christ's name. Giving demonstrates that we are good stewards of the wealth God has given us.

Frankincense was a fragrant substance added to sacrificial fires. As the valuable incense was consumed, the fragrance was released, filling the air with a sweet aroma. This can be compared to time given in service to God. Although this time may appear to others to be consumed and lost, it becomes a sweet aroma of worship to God.

Myrrh was added to the cloth used to prepare bodies for burial. Thus, the gift of myrrh compels us to reflect on the ultimate purpose for which Christ came to earth: to give his life as a ransom for many. Reflection upon Christ's atoning death should form a central part of our worship, and so Christians should regularly participate in the Lord's Table.


We tend to worship only when and where it is comfortable or easy. We allow inconvenience to dampen our enthusiasm for worship. But what a different attitude toward worship the wise men displayed! They endured a very long and difficult journey to worship the King of the Jews and to give him costly gifts. Let us learn from their example and make a special effort to regularly come before our King in worship.


(from the Praise and Worship Study Bible)