Tuesday, April 17, 2012

About the King's Business

Every morning at breakfast, I read a chapter of a missionary biography to my children.  Recently, we have been reading about Brother Andrew.  Talk about an exciting life!  This man lived on the edge!  If you think missionaries live boring lives, you'll be in for a wild ride with this man's biography.  

At one point, when Andrew shared with another couple that he was called to smuggle Bibles and Christian literature behind the Iron Curtain, the couple told him they wanted to give him their car.  Andrew declined, not wanting to take their only vehicle.  But they insisted, saying that they had determined that if he was ever called to such work, they wanted him to be able to have a car to accomplish God's work.  Their simple response was, "We've prayed about this, and we are sure that God told us to do this.  The car is needed for the King's business, and we are honored to be able to provide it for you."

Andrew and his friends had grown up in Holland, which is a monarchy.  They understood what "the King's business" meant.  If the King needs something, you provide it...period.  They did this with a cheerful face and a heart that truly wanted to play a role in the King's business.

If the King needs our car to accomplish a task, would we release it from our grasping fingers? If the King needs workers in the fields, are we willing to raise our hands and say, "Is it me You want to send?  I will go for You"?  If the King needs warriors on the wall to pray fervently, do we climb onto that post and be diligent, even when it's inconvenient?  If the King shows us one of His children who needs a home, do we step forward to adopt?  If the King needs us to move across the globe or across the country, do we go without haste, even if it's not where we want to go?  If the King needs someone to relocate to the middle of a slum on His business, do we volunteer to be that one?

Or are we too busy to let Him redirect our path, too comfortable to allow Him to change our direction?  Do we assume that He is calling someone else to do the harder things, the more detestable things?  Do we somehow feel "too good" for certain areas of His work?  

Do we really truly give any weight at all to His position as King?  Are we prostrate before Him, face down in absolute reverence?  Or is that below us?

If a prestigious ruler walked into our home, we'd probably do all we could to honor him.  There's an unspoken reverence that just oozes when in the presence of one of power. 

So, why is it that we can be so indifferent, so complacent, so disobedient when we are supposed to be serving our King, the King of all kings?

1 Timothy 6 describes Him as:
the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords, 
the only One who has  immortality, 
dwelling in unapproachable light;
no one has seen or can see him,
to Him be honor and eternal might.

THIS is the King we serve.  Are we about His business?

Monday, April 16, 2012

How Do I Serve the King?

Born and bred on this amazing American soil, I am a true freedom-loving individual.  I love that I can worship freely and speak freely.  I love that we have the freedom to homeschool.  And, as a homeschooling family, we are finishing up a 2-year curriculum based on United States history, and our understanding and love for America's roots was ignited and deepened.

So do not misunderstand me here...

Having marinated in the ideals of democratic freedom my entire life, I know nothing of living under a queen or king.  I know OF it.  I spent some time in England, which I thoroughly adored.  But I haven't the slightest idea of how to actually serve royalty.

So, how then can I sing, "You are my King" with such gusto on Sunday mornings?  How can I genuinely call Him Lord if I do not have the lifestyle to back it?  This struck me recently, and I began to ask, "How DO I serve the King?"

I researched online but found very little.  I pulled out books I had bought while I was in England and found several photos that gave clues to the world of kings and queens...but no exact information about serving a king.  I went to the library and checked out a few books, but still, the information was very scant.  I did find a book about Elizabethan England, and it spoke of how families wanted their girls to be chosen to attend Queen Elizabeth.  The families offered this advice to their daughters: 

"...apply yourself wholly to the service of her Majesty, with all meekness, love and obedience, wherein you must be diligent, secret [discreet], and faithful...Use much silence, for this becometh maids, especially of your calling.  Your speech and endeavors must ever tend to the good of all and to the hurt of none...." (Life in Elizabethan England: Elizabeth and Her Court, by Kathryn Hinds).

How truly opposite of how I've been taught in our freedom-seeking culture!  To devote myself wholly to the service of another...especially someone who ruled over me??

I pondered this over and over in my mind, asking, "If I'm serious about Jesus being my King, then really, HOW do I serve Him as such?"  

On Sunday morning, I was awaken very early by an odd alarm ringing in my dreams.  From the moment I opened my eyes, I knew my Father was beckoning me to come learn at His feet.  Still disoriented, I climbed downstairs and opened my Bible with the familiar anticipation I have when I know He wants to share something with me.  Anticipation turned to tears as I realized that He was correcting me.  Correction never feels good at the time, but He corrects the one He loves.  The correction was fairly simple: I had accepted Him as my Savior but not as my Lord.

It's all too easy to say He is Lord, but to live like that is another thing altogether.

HOW do I place Him as Lord and King in my life?  I've heard it my whole life, but the reality is that though I have HEARD that I am to make Him Lord, I have lived my entire life in a culture that, in action, conflicts with that.  The reality is that my American culture opposes kingship.  The conflicting messages are almost innumerable...

American culture tells me to fight for my rights.
Jesus, who was God, gave up His rights as God and submitted to a criminal's death.

American culture tells me to look out for myself.
Jesus tells me to think of others as better than myself.  He said the test of my love is to give up my life for others.

American culture tells me to earn as much as I can, to save for a rainy day and buy the best money can offer.
Jesus tells me to sell all I have and give it to the poor.

American culture tells me that that my security is in bank accounts and retirement plans and insurance policies.
Jesus tells me HE is my security.  He says to put His Kingdom first, and He will care for my needs.

American culture tells me to live in a town where I'm comfortable and in a neighborhood that is safe.
Jesus left the ultimate comfort and chose to walk the earthly streets among the worst of society.  He chose to touch the leper.  He chose to eat with the despised sinners. And He called me to follow His example.

American culture tells me I'm an individual and can be a successful self-made person.
Jesus tells me I'm bought with a price, and my life is not my own.

American culture tells me to bow to nobody.
Jesus tells me to serve.  And at the name of Jesus, everyone will indeed one day bow.

American culture and history tells me that kingship takes away my rights.  Bluntly speaking, it lifts fists and heels and weapons against kingship.
Jesus wants me to give up my rights, and to make Him KING of my life.  

So, a new light is emerging in my heart.  Oh how I love my America and all its freedoms!  I believe in freedom from tyranny.  I embrace our country's history and liberties.  And yet, if I fail to understand the reality of Jesus as my King...if I let my American liberties override my allegiance to King of kings...if my mindset is defined by all things American instead of all things King Jesus...if I never truly know HOW to serve a king, THE KING...then I am far worse off than someone without American freedoms who truly understands how to serve a king.

I have a King who died for me and has commanded that I follow His example.

I have a King.  How do I really serve Him as such?

Thursday, April 5, 2012


In Old Testament days, a burnt offering was a voluntary offering that, among other things, signified complete surrender, devotion and commitment to God. (information from notes in the HCSB Bible)


Complete surrender to God.

Complete devotion to God.

Complete commitment to God.

The burnt offering was burned completely.  It was incinerated.

To cause to burn to ashes.
To burn completely.

The months have swirled and escalated into a climax of decision.  Every way I turn, the same message meets me face-to-face.  I have all but run the opposite direction, feeling like Jonah wanting to point to a place on the map and charge recklessly anywhere but toward that altar.

"Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 (HCSB)  The note says, "Our worship entails offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, which means dedication of the total person to living for God's honor."

Dedication of the total person.

Burnt offerings must be consumed entirely.  Incinerated.

Self kicks, writhes, wallows, stands in exact opposition.


One must enter into true discipleship voluntarily.  It's a narrow difficult path, far from the one most trod.  Even in the church on Sunday, with hundreds of voices hitting every note of "Where He leads me, I will follow," only a tiny handful truly live it.  Only a fraction take the nails.  Only a few climb on that altar and let God consume them entirely...a life fully totally dedicated to Him...a life that really will go wherever He leads and do whatever He says.

It's foolishness to most.  It's fanatical to those not wanting any inconvenience. 

It's simple obedience to the true disciple.  And oh how long I have been disobedient!