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.” Rev 4:9-11
Significant. Out of all of redeemed humanity, there will be 24 “elders” who are in a place of direct contact (or close physical proximity) with our Lord God, Jesus. There is a singular significant action that they take—casting their crowns at His feet. Why?
“Casting crowns” jogs my brain cells this morning. Not only is there a Christian music group of that name, but many songs float up in my memory talking about the act.
I remember there are scriptures that reference my receiving of various “crowns”:
2 Tim 4:8-“Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on That Day…
James 1:12-“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life…
1 Peter 5:4-“And when the Chief Shepard appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Righteousness, Life, and Glory: these are extraordinary achievements deserving of a little recognition. But maybe not: I have to really look at these 24 elders to understand what they are thinking and acting upon with knowledge.
There is this little phrase I see repeated often in my readings: “In the light of (my) Redemption…” The fact is that any and all “achievements” (or crowns) I must put them in the frame of Redemption. The elders get it: Awarded crowns and the recognition that accompanies achievements (even their own thoughts), what do they do? Rip them off their heads and throw them at the Feet of their Redeemer crying with a loud voice (not whispering, not murmuring, but saying loudly) “Worthy are You, O Lord!!”
So this is the reaction from the 2 dozen Elders. What reaction should I imitate and put in place? Candidly I like pats on the back, acknowledgement, specific encouragement, and recognition. There is a certain pleasure that I get from these things. Is it sinful to like pats on the back? Nope, except that if I get into it too much, it can become (and does) turn into Idolatry. Idolatry of what? Why, me-I make an idol of me.
How do I combat this tendency in me? Transparently: with difficulty. I struggle with this probably on a daily basis and am envious of folks who don’t seem to. The writer of Hebrews indicates that daily encouragement is an activity individually we can engage in to keep someone from the “deceitfulness of sin.” Still, whether I am receiving accolades from the outside or breaking my arm patting myself on the back-my actions are to be: Note it; express thanks for receiving it, and; immediately transfer Glory to God-for in the light of our Redemption He alone deserves it.
Father-You see how often I want to put my shoulder out of socket trying to reach my back. Sometimes I get so discouraged because I cry “Doesn’t anybody see?” I know You say You see but I lack faith in being satisfied with You. It’s true-and I hang my head in shame in writing this. But You have seen my frailty in Hebrews 3:12-13 and addressed it. Doesn’t mean it is fixed, just addressed. More than ever, though, I want to excel in the Elder’s practice: casting my “crowns” at Your feet. All things are done by You, made possible through You, sustained through You-redeemed through You and You alone. Yours, O Lord, be the Glory forevermore. AMEN.