My Crown or His?

I’ve enjoyed reading My Luggage is Not Heavy, a book published by World Harvest Mission made up of short entries from their missionaries all over the world. One entry, “Titles Matter”, caught my attention at hello. In this one, Patrick Knaak wrote, “As I was getting settled into my job here at World Harvest, there was some back and forth about what exactly my title should be. One option seemed to say, ‘He’s a good guy. He holds a pretty helpful position.’ The other option leaned more toward, ‘He’s an important guy. He holds an essential position.’ I probably don’t need to tell you which title my ego was coveting.” Patrick went on to contrast this demand for self-importance with Jesus’ title choice of “shepherd” who lays his life down for his sheep. When I was in high school, I was really impressed by the quote, “Lighthouses don’t toot whistles and blow horns, they just shine.” It’s a little embarrassing to me that this is in the yearbook as one of my senior quotes, but it does provide a great contrast between the way I want to bring light to the world and the way Jesus does it. If I do it at all, I want recognition for it. I don’t just want to be identified, I want to be sought after. No, more than sought after, I want affirmation that I am not just important but essential to the thriving success of those around me. I start to panic if I sense I am becoming invisible, forgotten or worse yet, overlooked. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24 Composting produces far more nutrient rich soil than what most people might find immediately in their back yard, and much healthier soil than what can be more instantly created by chemicals or artificial additives. It is life poured out of one that brings life to another. It is the mother’s very life blood, literally, in which a newborn is developed and grown. It is the function, not the title, that brings life. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. Zech. 14:9 My need to be acclaimed by people I may or may not even be actively involved with five years later misses the fact that I am known and cherished by one who knit me together in my mother’s womb, who knows the hairs on my head, knows when I sit and when I rise and knows the very number of my days. What does the title of president or chairman or director really provide that God has not already given me in His Kingdom? I’ll tell you what it does not give me…the worship of others, which is what my heart shared with Adam really wants. He has offered me abundant life and the privilege of sharing dominion over creation, being part of the renewal of all things and sharing in His fellowship. Yet I think applause would be better? They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” Mark 10:37-38 Jesus is the only King who can maintain His position in the soil of His creation year after year enriching it and bringing life rather than sucking out the nutrients. He is the shepherd who has given His life for His sheep and been able to take it up again. He is the kernel who has submitted Himself to decay to bring fullness of life to His people. It is His name and His renown that are to be the desire of my heart, not my own which can’t do any of those things independent of His work through me. In the first Cars movie, the final race of the movie ended with one first place winner who crossed the finish line before the others and one beloved champion who forfeited his certain victory to ensure an injured car made it across the finish line. One owned the title at the end, but it was hollow because it mattered to him more than he cared for the others around him. The other lost the crown, but increased the dignity of others by setting aside his honor for the love of others ahead of himself. I cannot seek the spotlight and empty my life into others. I cannot increase and decrease simultaneously. While I think being “line leader” is the ultimate dream, He is patiently growing my eyes to have a vision for something fuller, stronger and more powerful than holding an office or having my picture in the paper. He has made me a co-heir with Christ for eternity and invited me to share in His work, suffering and satisfaction in the days to come. The King of all kings, the Creator, Judge and eternal Father identifies me with His Son…wisdom, maturity and completion far beyond temporary homecoming queen or class president. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:13-18

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