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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2022 - For Whom Are You Looking? That Question Really Matters!

WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2022

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible verses are Matthew 2:1–2 which begin the reading for the feast day of Epiphany.    

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

FOR WHOM ARE YOU LOOKING? THAT QUESTION REALLY MATTERS!


The “Epiphany Season” follows the festival of Christmas because this question needs to be asked: “Do you know who this Jesus really is, who He is for you?” Epiphany’s goal is to make that “manifestly” clear. He is your Lord, your Savior, your “all in all” for life and salvation.

The incident of the Wise Men traveling to seek out the young child Jesus is an awesome event that should cause us to pause today and think about the nature and extent of this child’s work in the world. Jesus was laid in a manger in the small town of Bethlehem; he was Jewish by birth. Yet from the very beginning, His life, death, and resurrection were meant to be a blessing to all people. In today’s lesson one sees that God has ways of drawing people to Jesus from virtually everywhere. He makes His promises, grace, and blessings “findable.” In fact, our God loves to be found (see Isaiah 55:6; 65:1), especially when that means finding His grace and forgiveness in Christ. The lesson for us today might indeed be to keep looking for what really matters.

It's very human to start looking for something and then to forget what it is you're looking for. Tennessee Williams tells a story of someone who forgot what mattered when it mattered most, and even stopped looking for what mattered when it was standing there right before his eyes.[1]  It is the story of Jacob Brodzky, a shy Russian Jew. The boy desired nothing but to marry Lila, his childhood sweetheart -- a French girl as effusive, vital, and ambitious as he was contemplative and retiring.

The life of books fit him perfectly, but it cramped her. She wanted more adventure. And, she found it, or so she thought, when she met an agent who praised her beautiful singing voice and enticed her to tour Europe with a vaudeville company.

Brodzky was devastated. At their parting, he reached into his pocket and handed her the key to the front door of the bookstore. "You had better keep this," he told her, "because you will want it someday. Your love is not so much less than mine that you can get away from it. You will come back sometime, and I will be waiting."

She kissed him and left.

Nearly 15 years after they parted, at Christmastime, she did return and came into the store. But when Brodzky rose from the reading desk that had been his place of escape for all the time that they were apart, HE DIDN’T NOTICE THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE STANDING RIGHT THERE BEFORE HIM. HE THOUGHT HER TO BE MERELY ANOTHER CUSTOMER. His broken heart had closed his eyes.

She was startled that he didn’t recognize her. So she asked for a book about a story of childhood sweethearts, a story of a newly married couple who lived in an apartment above a bookstore, a story of a young, ambitious wife who left to seek a career and who enjoyed great success but could never relinquish the key her husband gave her when they parted. She told him the story she thought would bring him back to himself, the story of Lila and Jacob.

After a long, bewildered pause, he said, "There is something familiar about the story. I think I have read it somewhere. It comes to me that it is something by Tolstoi." Dropping the key, she fled the shop never to return. He missed the love of his life, again!

Tennessee Williams's 1931 story, "Something by Tolstoi," reminds us how easy it is to miss what is truly valuable in life, for life. Today the Wise Men remind us to seek Jesus in all things. He is our Savior, our truth, our joy, and our very life.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, in these days give us the wisdom of the Wise Men to seek You as our Savior and King. AMEN.

 

[1] http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/purpose.htm

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