November 17, 2021
As I reflected a little more on the text from this past Sunday (1 Samuel 2:27-36), I thought of how easy it is to view serving God as a means to serving self. It all got me to thinking…
There is a band called “Casting Crowns." That is a great name and a very important reminder for all of us. It is very difficult to be in the public spotlight, to be on stage, so to speak, and really believe that it is not about you. You may believe that it is not about you intellectually, but when thousands of people attend your concert, aren’t you entitled to a little bit of celebrity status? I do not know any of the band members of “Casting Crowns,” but from what I know about them, they do not act like celebrities. After all, what does it mean to cast our crowns?
In Revelation 4, the apostle John is given a vision of the throne room of God. Seated on this glorious throne is our even more glorious God, and surrounding the throne are 24 elders who each have a golden crown on their head. These elders are described as falling down before him who is seated on the throne, worshiping him who lives forever and ever, and casting their crowns before the throne and saying (singing),
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
To receive glory and honor and power,
For you created all things,
And by your will they existed and were created".
In the next chapter, the vision is expanded and John realizes that the Living Creatures and the Elders are worshiping with hundreds of thousands of angelic beings who are also around the throne. But it doesn’t stop there. The chapter concludes with all creation joining in this worship of God. There are some things that each of us need to learn from this.
1. Worship is a posture of deference.
The elders are casting their crowns before the throne. They are giving away, even throwing, a very precious gift they had possessed and worn. But there was someone so glorious, so beautiful, so worth it, that they threw back what they had in an act of giving attention and heart-felt deference to God.
2. Worship is public and congregational.
We pray in private and often sing in private, but it is not designed to stay that way. In one of the mountain peak scenes of the Bible, all of the redeemed are part of the choir of creation and are singing gloriously, loudly, enthusiastically, and humbly.
3. Worship centers around God.
The Living Creatures, Elders, Angels, etc., did not have to be manipulated or worked up to a frenzy of worship. They saw God! They saw what the Lion of the Tribe of Judah had done. They responded to God and to what he had accomplished.
One day you will, by God’s grace, be part of that scene. You will worship God with millions of others. But, in order to worship God with others, you will have to have a posture of deference. It is easy to think that our crowns of gold, our voices, our talents, our gifts, our abilities, our accomplishments, our involvement in a ministry, our titles, our reputations, somehow make much of us. The truth is, we are to take our clues from the Elders and cast those crowns at the feet of Christ. They are for him. They really are for him. If I don’t get the recognition that others may get, or the affirmation that others may get, or the following that others may get, it doesn’t matter. It all gets thrown at the throne anyway.
When you are part of that scene, you will not be alone. You will probably not get to pick the song, the tempo, arrangement, or key. You may not get to stand exactly where you want. But, of course, you won’t care! That’s the point. Some think that they have to have the setting just so, in order to worship. Those who prefer a band, have to defer at times to those who prefer an orchestra, who have to defer to those who prefer a praise team, who have to defer to those who prefer a choir, who have to defer to those who prefer acapella, etc. If you are going to worship God with others, then you have to adopt a posture of deference. After all, worship centers around God, not on you.
Is Jesus worth casting your crowns down? Is he worth your deference? Absolutely! But look at what he does. He uses the casting of crowns as part of the scene where all creation recognizes who the Creator really is and what the creation is actually made for.
Grace and Peace,
Sunday's Text: 1 Samuel 3