Questions to consider this Advent
By Rick Vance
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem. . . . When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
––Matthew 2:1, 10-12
At this time, people begin to reflect on the year past and look forward to the possibilities for the year to come.
Leaders and visionaries always look at current reality in the light of wisdom from the past and find hope for the future.
So it is in this Christmas passage from Matthew. The wise men (magi) have studied the sky for a long time. Well aware of the wisdom of the prophets regarding the birth of a new king of the Jews (the messiah), the magi see a bright star. They know God is doing a new thing, and they want to participate in this new miracle.
While most sermons focus on the gifts these leaders bring, I suggest the magi themselves offer insights into what our ministry should look like.
The magi knew of the prophecy and they understood the importance of the birth. They were willing to do whatever it took to respond. They humbled themselves and offered Jesus the best of what they had. They were willing to be obedient to God’s word rather than follow man.
I believe God is calling UM Men to be more intentional in our ministry to and with all men. As I look at our past, I am convinced God is calling us to draw closer to Him, so we might share Christ with the world.
The questions we must engage
- Do we have the faith to start the journey?
- Are we willing to do what it takes to make the journey?
- Do we have a plan to follow God on the journey?
- Will we be willing to listen to God even if we are called to go in a different direction?
Once we answer these questions, we will be able to live out our mission “to help men grow in Christ, so others may know Christ.” This is a huge mission, but let us not forget that God is with us on this journey!
The July 7-8 National Gathering of UM Men will help us understand “Discipleship is a contact sport.”
Until we gather in Indianapolis, the staff of the commission and men’s ministry specialists are here to provide resources for a journey that will draw you closer to Christ and the ministry He has for you.
As you continue your journey to Christmas and a new year, I pray you will be overjoyed and filled with excitement.
Your brother on the journey,
The Rev. Dr. Richard Vance, director of men’s ministry
General Commission on UM Men