Lesson Nine • Worship
Devotion 4: “Crowns”
I feel like most people tend to think in terms of earthly materials when it comes to being satisfied and content with where they are at in life. Considering that, I am sure that many of us have used the phrase “if only” at some point or another as we evaluate where we are and where we wish we could be in life. It seems so easy to come to the conclusion that the more we have, the more satisfied and content we will be. How often do each of us think about (or dream about) wealth, the house, or the job that we do not have, and perhaps will never come close to having in our lifetimes. We try and glimpse into a sort of altered reality where those things are actually within our possession.
A sort of “joke” that I believe is overused (and that is just plain obvious) comes to my mind, and I am certain we have all been on the receiving end of it at some point. It starts with us asking either of the following questions that we tend to ask others when we want to offer our help, “Can I get something for you?” or “Is there anything you need?” The playful response is, “A million dollars would be nice!”
That is a perfect response, right? If only.
In Revelation 4:4, John begins to describe what he sees around the throne of the Lord, “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.”
John takes the time to depict the traits of authority and wealth that those elders portray based on the belongings they wear. However, what stuck out to me the most comes at the end of the chapter, “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘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’” (Revelation 4:9-11).
I believe that the elders that John envisions in this chapter have a solid understanding of where their true satisfaction and contentment comes from. Their faith in the Lord is incredibly strong and firm. As John shares that they cast their crowns to the Lord as they worship Him, I cannot imagine that they did so with an ounce of hesitation or doubt. In our world, a crown is a symbol that typically represents authority, wealth, and prosperity. These elders not only gave up their crowns and all that they signified, but they also proceeded to worship the Lord immediately afterward. They displayed complete surrender to God and confidence in knowing that He is their ultimate provider. Their crowns meant nothing to them compared to God.
In our world, it is so easy to get distracted and to focus solely on the things that our culture promises will bring us satisfaction and contentment as we steer further and further away from the Lord. Yet in the truth that Scripture fully supports, God is the only One with whom our souls can truly be satisfied and content. He provides so much more than that to us through His grace, love, mercy, and especially Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice.
I am reminded of a powerful, declarative chorus as I reflect upon where our true wealth and satisfaction are found. Here are the lyrics to “Crowns” by Hillsong Worship. I hope you can be encouraged by these words today.
My wealth is in the cross
There’s nothing more I want
Than just to know His love
My heart is set on Christ
And I will count all else as loss
The greatest of my crowns
Mean nothing to me now
For I counted up the cost
And all my wealth is in the cross