By Susanne Dietze
In the center, around the throne (of God), were four living creatures….Day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:6b, 8b-11
My kids bring home certificates from school every so often. Unlike when I was a kid (a statement that makes my kids’ eyes glaze over), my children receive an award for just about any achievement you can think of: participation in Jog-A-Thons, knitting in an after school program, and for being responsible enough to turn in homework. All worthy things, to be sure.
Some parents believe that honoring kids for their participation boosts self-esteem, especially for kids who aren’t necessarily tops in academics or sports. Others insist our kids receive too many accolades, fostering a sense of entitlement. Our generation didn’t receive a ribbon for participation, after all.
I see both sides, but that last bit is certainly true for me. I remember the first time I won something: a cake decorating contest in sixth grade. That blue ribbon, now faded purple and permanently bent, still sits in my top dresser drawer. It was just a little prize in a little contest, but I still feel a silly thrill of awe when I look at it.
I've since added a few more treasures to my metaphoric “trophy drawer,” things I poured myself into and for which, by God’s amazing grace, I was allowed to receive recognition, like a recommendation letter or a contest final.
I’m humbled by those treasures, but I’m also aware that anything good in my life came about because God allowed it, and He deserves to receive credit, praise, and glory for the things He's given to me, whether they're gifts or achievements. Our crowns, if you will.
“Holy, Holy, Holy,” is my favorite hymn. I love to imagine being in heaven, singing it to the God who lives forever and ever, who created me and in whom I have my being. I love to imagine what it will look like when, as the hymn says,
All the saints adore thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea.
The same image comes from my favorite Charles Wesley hymn, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”
…(we are) changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.
Our crowns will represent a lot of things, perhaps, too many for me to discuss now. But I think they’ll at least partially symbolize all we’ve been given: our talents and abilities and achievements, big and small. And all will be laid at God's feet.
Too often I focus only on laying my suffering, sin, troubles, and flaws at the foot of His throne. He wants us to, of course. One of the reasons Jesus died and rose again was so we could approach God and cast our cares on Him.
But He also deserves glory for all He’s done in and through us. You are a one-of-a-kind, talented, precious, gifted, beautiful person created by the God of all power, ability, love, and grace. You have a crown in heaven that no doubt outshines this one, the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain with its 140-carat ruby.
This Thanksgiving weekend, perhaps it’s appropriate to practice casting our crowns—big and small—before Him and lose ourselves in “wonder, love, and praise.”
What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Like me, do you ever imagine heaven?
Susanne Dietze has written historical-set love stories since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the Genesis Contest, the Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, http://www.susannedietze.blogspot.com/.
photos courtesy of wikipedia.com