The 4th Man

“Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul,
May keep the path, but will not reach the goal;
While he who walks in love may wander far,
Yet God will bring him where the blessed are.”

Usually at this point the idea for a blog post has already been rolling around in my mind. But my mind’s been packed to the brim with Christmas plans, parties and lists.

I cleaned off my desk before Christmas and threw away all the lists and left a new one to greet me Monday morning. It had two things on it:

1. Blog
2. Epiphany lesson

So I sat down Monday morning determined to knock this thing out. I tried this idea, and that idea but while my brain was emptied of all my Christmas thoughts it was filled with a swirling fog. I arrived Tuesday to find the same note on my desk.

Since the blog post had gotten nowhere I decided to tackle the Epiphany lesson for the elementary Bible class. Epiphany is the end of the Christmas season, traditionally 12 days after Christmas (the 12th night). It’s a commemoration of the visit of the Magi (“wise men”) to Jesus. I wanted to do something different this year and so I did what I do when I have a brain full of fog. I googled. And googled. And googled. And googled.

And that’s how I came across “The Story of the Other Wise Man,” written in 1896 by professor, preacher and diplomat Henry Van Dyke (he also wrote the words to “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”). It is the story of a wise man named Artaban who sells his house, buys three jewels to take to the King, and sets out to meet up with the other Magi. He is repeatedly delayed by acts requiring his compassion (and his jewels). His journey takes over 30 years and he finds himself at the site of the crucifixion of Jesus. Before he is able to present his last jewel to Jesus he is required to use it to pay a young maid’s ransom.

His quest was over and he had failed. But instead of despair he felt peace that each day he had done the best he could. He heard a voice saying,

“‘Peace be with you Artaban. When I was hungry you gave me food. When I was naked, you clothed me. When I was distressed you comforted me. As often as you did this for the least of my children, you did them for me.’

His journey was ended. His treasures were accepted. The other Wise Man had found his King.”

My prayer for us all this New Year is that we all take up the journey of the other Wise Man to seek Christ. May our journey delay us and each day require us to give up ourselves and our treasures to those along the path. Blessings on your journey!


Other Posts You Might Like:

Growth - Jabbarri Jones

World Bible School - Tom King

Faith - Jabbarri Jones

Vision - Ross Thomson

The F.O.O.D Project – When God Shows Up - Beau Davis

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on the journeybaby dedication

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