From sheep tending to gift bearing.
From the least of these to the highly favored.
From shepherd to king.
A life’s journey, filled with all manner of detours along the way. We don’t come into our kingdom inheritance by accident. We don’t just “happen” upon our crowns. Rather, they are bestowed upon us, as a result of our faith—of our living witness to the fact that God’s kingdom come is working itself out in the likes of you and me.
When Jesus willingly sacrificed his life for the kingdom cause, he did so knowing that the momentary surrender of his crown would pave the way for our eternal coronation. He laid his down, so that we could pick ours up. So that we could share in an inheritance that, not only allows us the royal mantle, but that also cloaks us with the unimaginable and longed for penchant of every king’s heart.
An everlasting kingdom. A reign without end. A day in and a season out when the scepter no longer passes but, instead, remains.
But until then, until we reach the final Word on our final reward, we are given the sacred trust of tending to this side of God’s kingdom with a shepherd’s heart. With a rod and a staff that aren’t afraid to poke and to prod as necessary because a shepherd understands the worthy weight of his/her assignment.
The safety of the sheep.
Perhaps that is why Jesus began his life amongst the shepherds. Why he nestled his first night within their hills and interrupted their night’s watch with the cries of his feeble flesh. If anyone could have understood the weight of Christ’s kingdom assignment, they could … at least in part; for like them, he came to earth with a solitary purpose in mind.
The safety of his sheep.
With a rod and a staff that weren’t afraid to poke and to prod because he fully understood the ramifications of his willingness to do so.
An everlasting kingdom. His. Yours and mine, if we allow him his heart in the matter. And his heart always beats in our favor and on our behalf.
The summation of Bethlehem’s announcement, Calvary’s necessary, and Easter’s proclamation. As simple as it gets, yet far more profound than our understanding often allows.
You and I have been entrusted with this profundity. With the shepherding of a story that exceeds reason, but that breathes with the truest Truth of the incomprehensible. We may not always speak it with eloquence or with the wisdom of the sages, but when we allow God’s story our voice, we blanket our flesh with the mantle of our Father’s kingdom come. We’ll never look more like royalty then at that moment.
We’re coming into our inheritance, friends. There is a happily ever after for those of us who’ve cast our hearts with King. You may not see it now, but if you’ve been listening to his story over the past few weeks, I bet you’ve felt it. One tiny heartbeat after another, pressed in and multiplied until your eyes have found their wet and your voice has found its expression.
If you haven’t, if this Christmas season has been your bane more than your blessing causing your eyes their dry and your voice its silence, then I pray for you the pause of a night sky. A night’s watch in Bethlehem, where the lowly of the fields gather together with the threshold of heaven’s illumination to receive the summation of our Father’s love.
“‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”
And with that proclamation, there comes of mantle of incomprehensible wealth that clothes each one of us with an everlasting inheritance … that will walk us safely home to our Father’s care, where crowns and kingdoms are common fare and the continual feast of all of God’s children.
Rags to riches. All in a single pause, when King Jesus momentarily surrendered his crown so that we could receive ours. What wondrous love is this? Thus I pray,
Bring us to Bethlehem, Father, for a night’s illumination and your song’s witness. Forgive us for thinking that we can decorate you into our Christmas. You, alone, are more than enough to fill our hearts with the treasure of your kingdom. Decorate us with you. With your love and grace. With your staff and rod. With your story and the telling therein. There is nothing more sacred than a heart filled with the Truth of your Word. Penetrate our lowly with your highly favored, and move our spirits into a place of sacred worship this Christmas. May the Peace of your kingdom come be the Peace that rules our hearts until then. Amen.
Copyright © December 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.