Read: Matthew 2:7-12
Interestingly, the detail Matthew focuses on in the story of the magi, beyond the star that they followed, is the moment of gift giving. Notice that the gifts are called “treasures” in Matthew 2:11. They were very expensive gifts! Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
These wealthy, learned men, who had the means and ability to travel a great distance and to give expensive gifts, are now among a small, seemingly every day, blue collar family and they are face down on the ground, giving this child treasures. Gift giving in this way was something you did if you were fortunate enough to approach royalty, or individuals of very high social status and power. The giving of gifts in this way was a means of showing deference, homage, service to a king!
These treasures offered up in worship weren’t just expensive, they carried tremendous meaning as well. Gold – the commodity of kings; frankincense – the incense of the alter in the temple; myrrh – the foundation ingredient of anointing oil used to set people and things apart for God’s service, and also used in the preparation of the dead.
What makes these gifts so significant, isn’t simply the expense. It is more than gold and perfume, but also the meaning and heart behind them as well. They show the royalty, the sacrifice, and the holy set apart status of the One given the gift. They show the heart of the givers…face down in worship, humbling themselves to the service of this child, recognizing Him for who He was. Do you have treasure that you could give in His name?
What do we give if we don’t have treasure? We could respond as the shepherds did…responding in belief, making Him known, glorifying and praising Him!