Have you ever had to do something you didn’t really want to do? I’m sure you are like me and have had to do something or go someplace you didn’t want. I can remember having to get a shot at the doctor’s office, take a hard test at school, go visit someone who was very sick, perform in a play because I was nervous, or even be nice to someone I didn’t like. All hard things, but they were necessary things, so I would be healthy, learn needed lessons, and grow up to be a better person. It is all part of life and being a good Christian and person – even if we don’t like it at times.
In Matthew 2:13-14, the Three Wisemen have just visited Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. They had brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Things were going well until the family went to bed that night. Suddenly, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Hurry and take Baby Jesus and Mary to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return because King Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill Him.” King Herod was jealous of this “new King” he had heard about and did not want Jesus as a threat to his reign. So Joseph got up that night and took Mary and the baby to Egypt where they stayed until King Herod died.
I’m sure that both Mary and Joseph didn’t really want to pack up that evening and be on the move again. They had just come to Bethlehem from Nazareth, had a child, and gotten settled with the new baby and a routine, but Joseph did not question God. He did what God asked him to do and took his family to where they would be safe. Mary trusted God and Joseph too and went with Joseph without question.
Sometimes, more often that we like unfortunately, we have to trust God and do things that we may not want to do exactly either. We know God only wants what is best for us and would never do anything to hurt us. He also wants to teach us to be good and kind people to everyone, and that may include doing things that we just don’t feel like doing at times. Being nice and praying for someone who isn’t nice to us is hard. Going to the doctor or studying and taking hard tests at school is hard. Getting out of bed and going to church on a cold, rainy morning is hard. Sharing our toys is hard. Just like Joseph and Mary, we have to trust God and do what He wants us to do because we know it is the right thing to do. And guess what! God will bless us for doing those things – even if we’re not totally happy about doing them at the time.
As we grow up then, we will know how to be better people, trust and serve God, and love others. That is what the Bible tells us to do: love God and love others. It isn’t always easy, but God will help us and be happy that we did what we knew He wanted us to do. We will make not only God happy but others and ourselves happy in the end!
Have a wonderful start to the New Year! Promise God to try to do what is right even when you are hesitant or afraid. He loves you more than you will ever know! Happy 2017!
Let’s say a prayer before we close. Dear God, thank You for the wonderful year that is just ending. In 2017, help us to be better children and trust You even more to lead us in what we should do. Bless everyone we know and those around the world that we don’t know. In Your name we pray. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church.