I used to be married. A few times. I have given diamond rings as a token of love and affection. I know the drill. You can learn a lot by destroying living like I did. One thing I learned: in marriage, diamond rings are easier to give than control of the TV remote. No one debates who should have the diamond ring. The remote control to the TV is another thing, altogether. Another thing I learned: ‘tis better to lose control of the TV remote than lose the marriage.
I’ve been thinking about Jesus as King, lately. A king has all authority and ability to carry out all of his edicts. That’s not how Americans generally respond to the concept of “king”. We are more likely to think in terms of president or governor… an office one holds for a limited time, with limited power, easily replaced in the next election. That is not a king.
The more I think about it, the more reasons I see why I should not be allowed in the kingdom. Worthy subjects get to hang around a king. I’m not worthy. Noble persons are invited to dine with a king. I would not be mistaken for nobility. Wealthy people get close to a king, not poor people. I’m not wealthy or poor.
The kingdom of heaven is the greatest kingdom we will ever know. And Jesus is the greatest King we will ever know. But His kingdom does not reserve space for the worthy, noble, or wealthy. It is for the unworthy, the downtrodden, the poor in spirit… if they truly know the Redeemer. The residents of His kingdom are those who know they shouldn’t be admitted; and wouldn’t be admitted, except for Jesus.
And that’s why I’ve been thinking about Jesus as King: the worthy One that gave everything so we could be citizens of His kingdom. As a member of this kingdom, is it right for me to insist on control of the TV remote? Or my paycheck? Or how and where I spend my time? Or how many minutes a day I will spend thinking about Him, or worshiping Him?
After all, this is the King of kings, who said “take up your cross” and “follow Me”. Is it acceptable to complain that my cross is heavier than yours? Or that it has too many splinters? (I probably could not pick up your cross. That’s a different blog post.)
So here’s a question: if I willingly hand over the “diamond ring” but hold tight control on other things, am I really in love with Jesus?
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23