Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Snatching the Crown

…And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power….” Parts of Rev. 4:10-11

I grew up feeling like a queen because dad would affectionately call me his Queen Esther.  Pictures of Queen Esther have always fascinated me. She is usually depicted wearing a dazzling crown and beautiful robe. The deposed and banished Queen Vashti’s crown was removed from her head and placed on Queen Esther’s. She did not snatch the crown off of Queen Vashti’s head. There was no ugly scene such as occurred when Miss Amazon 2015 was crowned the winner of the beauty pageant and her runner up contestant jumped up and snatched the crown off the winner’s head, threw it to the floor, and stomped off in a huff convinced she was more deserving. As I watched that scene on TV it made me think of how we Christians can snatch someone’s crown away, thinking we deserve the prize or trophy  more because we worked long and hard to see a Muslim woman come to the Lord.  
 Once a fellow Christian was indignant with me. He had spent time sharing Christ with a certain Muslim woman whom I will call Farhat.  I felt I could do a better job at evangelism than him so basically convinced her to spend time with me which she did. I clearly remember the day a lady in the church encouraged me by saying, “You have a star in your crown, Joy.” Sounded odd but good at the same time. Yes, I snatched someone’s crown of pride and joy away, albeit unknowingly at the time. It took years before I recognized how my actions had come across.  After a few months another follower of Christ who was from the same culture and language as Farhat thought she could do a better job at it than me and convinced the newly baptized woman to come under her discipleship efforts so off went Farhat to the new teacher. I lost Farhat completely and was devastated because I had invested big time with her. This happens frequently in Muslim ministry. We conclude or assume we have more training, more cross cultural experience, know the language, are missionaries with a parachurch organization, are the appropriate gender culturally speaking, have more grounding in Scripture, are more "Spirit-filled", or are from that particular ethnic group, etc.  We snatch the crown….that pride and joy of a hungry seeker, new believer, fellowship group, or ministry project, and place it on our head. Most of the time this kind of snatching is not done with ill intention.  It is usually done without thinking it through or talking it out. Partnering is not considered.    

The Bible talks about receiving the crown of righteousness, crown of life, crown of rejoicing, and crown of glory. We also read about laying down our crowns at the feet of Jesus. There will be no snatching of  crowns in heaven by anyone. I think our eyes will be more on our Savior’s multiple crowns than our own.
Dear heavenly Father, please help me to not snatch anyone’s crown away. Grow me in sensitivity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.