It’s been almost 5 years since I visited old friends at Tuesday Group. Many of them are unaware of the journey I have been on in the last couple years, but I felt in the spirit that I really wanted to see some of the old friends again just to tell them “I love you” – especially so because at this significant age of 40, everything is going to change for me very soon. I am embarking into healed territory. Redemption is surging, and I’m fearfully and wonderfully stepping into my place of career and ministry. The dreams and visions that have bubbled in my heart while absorbing the promises of God while being hammered by the sickness and condemnation has finally emerged in God’s timing. God’s makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecc 3:11). They are also fellow journeymen in this epic journey of faith, they are beautiful, and I love them.
When I arrived, I was joyfully tickled to find George share arguably my favorite poem by J. R. R. Tokkien. I had kept this poem in my heart for more than a decade.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
The poem appears twice in The Fellowship of the Ring. First in Gandalf’s letter to Frodo in Bree, before they knew that Strider (Aragorn) is the subject of the verse. Strider was Aragorn’s ranger persona which he adopted after his exile as royalty. At that time, it would have been so easy to dismiss Strider as anyone important. Strider seemed to look capable, yet he is not adored with any regalia, and bore a weight on his shoulder – a past that he was constantly fighting to make sense of. Strider kept consistently working out his life and skills as a ranger, a profession the world would not recognize as “kingly”. What good is a lowly ranger versus the powerful forces of Mordor that can envelop nations? It turns out, in God’s timing, very good indeed.
Is that you today? I think deep inside, all us are kings without crowns. Many of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out how we got to this point and how to get back our crowns. And what crowns do we look for?
We are created by God and have a royal DNA. But we live in fallen world. That’s the reason all of us tend to do things that try to fulfill that kingly need in all of us. We need to be respected. We need to feel in control. Why do people fight for wealth and power, why do people try to lord over others? It’s a quest to be king, but done in a myopic, fallen way. It’s like grasping for straws hoping to create a straw-framed throne that we hope can carry the weight of our desperation.
You can’t truly be a king by fighting for it. If you are not in a royal kingly line, you can fight to look like a king, but you won’t have the true authority to be king. You would be a slave on a man-made throne, but not a son of royalty with a dignity and destiny that cannot be taken away by people. However, you can be a king, if you are son to a king, and if the King decrees your ascension.
Brothers and sisters.
Good news. In the correct context of where we are as a people in this time of history, God already “did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him is the glory and the power to the ages of the ages.” (Rev 1:6, YLT)
You are kings, and better still, priests of the order of Melchizedek.
As a king, you are meant to have a kingdom and legacy, and to exercise your authority to be victorious in this life. If you were an Old Testament priest, you would facilitate reconciliation between man and God. You would seek to get men to repent so that hopefully blessings can come down. But, today you are much better than that. As a priest in the age of grace, you are of the order of Melchizedek. You are a messenger and conduit to share God’s blessings with His people. You are not meant to simply exist and strive for yourself. Your cup will overflow till you will have more than enough to make a meaningful impact in the lives of people. (Psalm 23)
And what God decrees, it shall be done. It is a matter of timing and how rather than if. “… so is my word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Is 55:11, NIV)
But how can this be, when the worldly reality seems to show the opposite?
Understand that there are two realities. The world around you that is filled with defeat, fallen man, past mistakes, sickness, chaos, and a lack of purpose. And the other, the spiritual world that is being forged within your heart and spirit. In God’s timing, one world will invade the other and impress it’s reality on the other. The fallen effects of the world is a hologram so to speak, that will morph into a promised land as you step into your identity as a king and priest.
“But Ken,” you might object, “you don’t know the mistakes I made. These are mistakes of my own doing.”
“You don’t know how people have bypassed me. They don’t support or help me.”
“I don’t gave the abilities or gifts to do anything of note in this world. No one will marry me. No one wants to be my family.”
I know these objections only too well.
I was chronically sick with no real solution. During my times of desperation, I made bad choices in life. The compounding of my sickness that others didn’t want to understand with my bad choices alienated me from some friends and support systems.
But let me share with you what God thought of my objections. They are all irrelevant under the payment of Christ’s death on the cross. Think of all these negatives as debts that you hold. The quality of Christ on the cross is worth so much more than that.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
(Rom 8:28, NIV)
The theological basis that justifies this verse is indeed due to the quality of Christ’s sacrifice to us. Christ’s death for us is a receipt that God will work out all things for good, and He also foreknows the good He will do for us.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:32, NIV)
1) “You don’t know the mistakes I made. These are mistakes on my own doing.”
This grace (hesed) was with Abram. Abram was to go to the promised land God would show him to go. Yet because Abram was afraid of a famine, Abram instead chose to go to Egypt instead (Genesis 12), which is a typology of the world. The Hebrew meaning of Egypt (Mizraim: מצרים) include siege, entrenchment, bind and to show hostility. Abram chose a worldly solution because of the lack of faith in God’s provision. As expected, problems ensue. Lacking moral courage, Abram allows the Pharaoh to take his wife Sarah to be part of his haram. Years later, Abram makes the same mistake again with Abimelek, another foreign king (Genesis 20).
More than once, Abraham makes poor judgments motivated by a lack of moral courage and faith. Yet, in both situations, God used the situation that came about due to poor decision-making to enrich Abraham and move him closer to his destiny. God defends Sarah’s honor directly by communicating to Abimelek directly and both kings never took back the dowries given to the Abraham clan.
What qualifies Abram to have such favor? He simply “believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness.” God told him to follow on a journey, Abram believed this foreign voice had a good heart and simply agreed to follow. Abram didn’t sign up to be a perfect person. He simply chose to walk with God. That’s what you did, dear friend, when you believed in Christ.
Dear friend, He offers his favor freely because of His faithfulness, not yours. It’s done. Finished. If you belong to Christ, He will not turn you away. He can use your wandering and lost period to ultimately bless you and form a beautiful future for you. That’s the Jesus we have. That’s why He is beautiful beyond description.
2) “You don’t know how people have bypassed me. They don’t support or help me.”
Dear friend, the psalmist David writes, “the LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?” and continues with “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me” (Psalm 27, NIV). God promises to never leave you or forsake you (Heb 13:5). We have a God that can create something out of nothing. Even if no one cooperates to help you, God himself will help you. And, if He helps you, rejoice! Because the quality of His help will be far superior to the small scraps others can offer to you. While others are limited to give you what they are good at giving and not what you need, or give out of imperfect intentions, “God will meet all your needs according to the riches and his glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19, NIV). God does not give according to your lack, limited imagination, or what you think we deserve. He gives what is befitting based on the character of Jesus. Where is Jesus at the time of this writing in Philippians? Jesus is seated in glorious victory at the right hand of God with His work of redemption finished.
There is a story told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right even to lift a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?”
Alexander responded in royal fashion, “Copper coins would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.” (Source unknown)
How much more would suit the heart of Jesus, who can “do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or think?” (Eph 3:20).
3) “I don’t gave the abilities or gifts to do anything of note in this world. No one will marry me. No one wants to be my family.”
Two pictures are enough.
Here’s Nic Vujicic inspiring as a world-class speaker.
Here’s Nic Vujicic with his beautiful and pregnant wife.
I think anyone would admit that a man that speaks on a world-stage and has a beautiful wife that loves him despite a massive disability would be rich beyond measure.
His ‘secret’ is not the flimsy ‘positivity’ or belief in yourself. I notice that this is usually preached by people who already have the tools of what it takes to make it in the world. Nic’s belief is outside of himself. He knows he can’t save himself, hence he needs a savior. He knows statistics say that he won’t lead a ‘successful’ life in this world, Jesus came to prove the world wrong. His website “Life without Limbs” summarize his position:
Born with no arms and no legs, Nick Vujicic has overcome life’s challenges through strength & hope found in Jesus Christ.
Back to the poem that started this whole blog. Not all that is gold glitters. The adversities around you can be gold in disguise as God is setting up your bright future using the dark crap in your life as fertilizer.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor 4:17, NIV)
You might not be glittering at the moment, but you too are gold. You are royalty that the world hasn’t recognized yet. It is only a matter of time before the crownless will be made king… because that’s who you are in Christ.
At the end of LOTR, Return of the King, Frodo had the whole of middle-earth bowing down to him in recognition of the massive achievements and sacrifice he endured during his treacherous journey to defeat Mordor. Yet, when he returned to the Shire, nobody knew or bothered to care what adventure he had. Most elderly folks chided him for gallivanting again – they never believed Frodo and gang could have done anything praise-worthy. But his experience in the bigger, more massive world outside of the Shire (that most of the inhabitants of the Shire were ignorant about), empowered him to do great exploits within the Shire itself. Exploits in the bigger world which no one knew in the Shire is what precisely empowered Frodo to do great exploits that others could not. Similarly, the world may not recognize you. But you have a heavenly journey and identity that far surpasses this world. And it is a matter of timing, when that legacy of heavenly experience and identity stamps it’s imprint in the world around you.
You are to be crowned. Not by your efforts. God has decreed and God will fight for you. It’s because He fights for you, that’s why He gets all the glory. If you fight your own battles, with your own ambitions and machinations, you might make it out the battlefield with what seems like a victory. But such victories are usually tainted with pride, a damaged ego, a seared conscience or bitterness. Let God fight the battles. See His humility in action while exercising paradigm changing power. See your world change. See you promoted. See Him give you back more than others have stolen from you. He gets the praise. You are amazed by His grace. You forgive your biggest transgressors. You become a blessing to others instead of hording ego, power and praise to yourself. In this is the greatest expression of what it means to be a King and Priest.
So the next time you see someone struggling and that person doesn’t seem to be able to amount to much, take heed. That man could soon be king. See him. Help him. And rejoice in his restoration. Not all that is gold actually glitters.