Sunday morning...busy, rushed, with four kids to get up and ready, sometimes chaotic. That is how this particular Sunday began. We had rushed through the morning and my brain was still in that hurried mode even though now we were nearing the end of the church service.
As I sat in the very back of the room I vaguely remember the pastor saying something about tossing our crowns at the feet of Jesus. Now in my defense, I was listening but we were preparing for communion and I was already focused on it. When the pastor mentioned throwing our crowns though I thought, "My crown is looking pretty beat up Lord."
It was one of those half hearted comments that I sincerely felt but didn't really think the Lord would address.
I was wrong.
As I sat there with my head in my hands, feeling so discouraged, I suddenly saw a scene far different than the back of that church. I was surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of people and every single one of them had in their hands a beautiful crown. One by one they were tossing them in a big pile and just beyond that pile were feet. I didn't dare look up at the face that belonged to those feet, I knew without looking whose they were...
I looked down at my hands where I too held a crown, my crown. It was the saddest looking thing I have ever seen. Tears sprang to my eyes as I took in the cracked plastic and the chipped, tarnished paint. In places the dull plastic "jewels" had completely fallen out leaving ugly black holes.
How, oh how could I give this awful thing to Him?!!
But I had nothing else to give Him.
I tried to hide among all the those people. I held my "crown" behind me hoping against hope that He wouldn't see it. I could feel the panic rising in me as I realized there was no way out of it, I had to put it on the pile with all those real crowns. Sure that my fake, dollar store looking piece of trash was going to stick out like a sore thumb. I tossed it, deliberately throwing it on the side of the pile closest to me hoping He would miss it in favor of another, far more worthy crown.
Though I hadn't even been looking at His feet I sensed that they were moving. Stealing a furtive glance toward the throne, I could see that I was right; He had gotten up and was walking...right...to....where....my....crown....lay.
I stood perfectly still hoping that those in front of me were keeping me hidden from His view. He stooped down and picked the crown up, turning it over in His hands a few times as He studied it. I hadn't known that it was possible for it to look any uglier than it had but against His beautiful hands it was the most hideous thing I had ever seen! Then He began walking straight to me. I kept my gaze trained on the ground, I simply couldn't bear the thought of what I would read in His eyes. His feet stopped and I could feel Him looking at the top of my head. I knew He wanted me to look at Him and I tried in vain to fight it. Finally, I could stand it no longer and I slowly shifted my gaze upward. Past His hands holding the ugly crown, up His face until finally my eyes met His.
I did not see what I had expected.
His eyes were kind and crinkled ever so slightly at the edges in a gentle smile. Instead of the reproach and condemnation that I had feared I saw empathy, compassion and most of all an overwhelming love. I could scarcely breath as I stood there, lost in His gaze. I was in awe of Him and His response to me.
Finally, He dropped his eyes back down to His hands. Oh how I hated the thought of looking there again! I knew He wanted me to though and I couldn't resist Him. I tore my eyes away from His face and gasped when I saw what He held.
Where my ugly, broken crown had been now rested the most exquisitely made crown I had ever seen. Clean, sparkling...with the most intricate workmanship imaginable. Every detail was perfect! And the jewels? Oh the jewels!! Clear and shimmering they almost seemed to have a life of their own!
He held the crown out to me and with trembling hands I reached out to take it back from Him. As He placed it in my hands I realized that my life was like that crown. Left in my own hands it would never be what it could be, what it was meant to be until, placed in His. Freely given to Him though, He will change it into something wonderful, something I never would have expected.
My eyes refocused on the elements of communion resting in my hands and I was overcome with His generosity once again. I have never had a sweeter time of communion.
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13