My wife and I stopped by Shakespeare’s birthplace on a recent trip to the UK.
For fans, a visit to the Bard’s birthplace is a must to pay homage to this iconic wordsmith who has enriched countless.
For critics, such a visit may be to throw rotten tomatoes at the man who traumatised us with English literature, especially when most of us who learnt it – from Africa to Asia – were anything but English.
While there, I walked past what I thought was a statue of a knight or king in shining armour. Except he turned out to “live” tourist attraction.
He came to life as we walked past and gently insisted I pose with him with his sword in hand. So, this was my cheapskate shot at kingship or, at least, knightship.
Should make us ponder: “If you think I look ridiculous as a Chinaman aspiring to be an Anglo-Saxon ruler, how much more ridiculous we all must look to God when we aspire to be little kings of our little kingdoms!”
For without God, our daily casual conversations degenerate into caustic accusations. Our grand plans spiral into petty quarrels.
It is pitiful when we aspire to be king. It is miserable when everyone is talking – in marriage, family, work and social media – but no one is listening.
In my previous post, A Secret Affair, I wrote about Jesus’ secret to completing God’s saving mission by sending him as endtime Messiah – his anointed King of the world.
Jesus did not plot, plan or power his way to kingship. Rather, he prayed himself into that role.
So, we find Jesus praying to his Father at his baptism (Luke 3:21ff), in choosing his disciples (Luke 6), in revealing his suffering and glory (Luke 9:21ff) and in pleading to fulfil God’s will at Gethsemane (Luke 22).
At each instance, there was every temptation for Jesus to wrest control from God’s hands into his hands. To do his own will rather than his Father’s will.
And the silver bullet that firmly kept Jesus from being king on his own terms was prayer. Humble prayer that declares complete dependence on God. Honest prayer that says: “I am at my wits end and strength to do God’s will. Help me.”
So, the next time you are tempted acutely to be the ridiculous king of your thoughts, words, feelings and actions – in relating to yourself, your parents, children, spouse or friend or colleague – pause.
Pause long enough to acknowledge you are not God. Bow low enough to pray. Humbly allowing Jesus to be king works. Proudly pretending to be king does not. Amen.