King at Eight

January 31, 2013

2 Chronicles 34:1-7

"Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left."

Matthew Laney

This morning I asked my eight-year-old what he would do if he were king.  He said, "Make a law that says people have to eat pancakes every day!" (he was eating pancakes at the time) and "use the iPad whenever I want." (He had just been barred from iPad usage to atone for a recent transgression).

What, if anything, can we deduce from this research sample? For one thing, putting absolute power and celebrity into the hands of one so young is a daring proposition.  And how many child celebrities end up in free-fall as teens or young adults after rocketing to the A-list too fast too soon?

Not so with Josiah.  His star continued to rise, at least in the memory of his sympathetic and admiring biographer.  The secret of Josiah's success was a sure and steady awareness that God was the true king.

We could all take a note.

We all need to surrender the throne to its proper occupant.

At first that looks terrifying until we realize there is nothing more liberating than letting God be God and nothing more terrifying than thinking we are up for the job.  Giving up control looks scary until we admit we've never been in control for a day in our lives.

I used to recoil at the suggestion that Christ saves me from hell.  But then I learned hell is little more than being my own King and getting my own way forever.

Prayer

Christ my King, help me to admit that without you, life is meaningless and unmanageable.  Grant me nothing more than the faith to surrender everything to you. 

About the Author
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.

Order Spring Cleaning: 2013 Lent Devotionals - new from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group and other favorite UCC writers. Lent starts Feb. 13.

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