In some surprising news, it has been revealed that Sultan Mohammad V, King of Malaysia, has abdicated his throne. Anytime any monarch steps down, it’s big news. In this case, it’s a first. No other Malaysian king has resigned since the country had received its independence from Great Britain in 1957. No reason was given, but speculation has it that it’s due to his love interests. That sort of thing doesn’t usually stop folks from anything, but that’s a story for another time.
Obviously, rulers don’t step aside every day. Who would want to give up all that power, prestige, and probable influence? I’m pretty sure I would have a problem doing it. It would have to be a pretty substantial reason for me to muster up the gumption to give it all away like that.
Good King Jesus
On the other hand, that’s exactly what Christian’s are required to do. We sit upon the thrones of our own lives, and then along comes King Jesus. He calls us to follow Him, we hear His voice, and we spend the rest of our lives attempting to give Him control. We’re not always overly successful, but that’s the idea.
Abdicating the throne of our lives, just like abdicating royal thrones, is not an easy thing to do. It’s scary, courageous, and costly. It makes us vulnerable and puts us in surrender mode. It places us on a pathway to regions we might never have otherwise gone.
Giving up kingship means following another ruler. It means allowing someone else to chart the way. It means giving up the right to be in charge. It entails the invitation to help fight someone else’s battles. You gear down to discover a new way of life, and then it’s full speed ahead.
The cry to offer up your throne is called dying to self. Alternately, it’s referred to as discipleship—following someone else so closely that the mud from their shoes kicks up and splatters across your face. It comes with a cost, but simultaneously, it offers great rewards.
Renouncing Your Kingship
The only good reason to renounce your kingship is because the new King you’re about to follow is great than you. Furthermore, He is the only one who can offer you everything because He created it all. No other king has anything of lasting worth.
A lot of Christians prefer not to think about such things. After all, we’re called, chosen, elected, and sealed for salvation. Jesus, on the other hand, was very clear in these matters. On more than one occasion, he spoke at length about the cost of following Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it the Cost of Discipleship.
Jesus threw around phrases like bearing your cross and hating your own life. He told illustrative parables about constructing tall buildings and fighting wars. In essence, abdicating your own throne is tantamount to engaging in warfare against your own ego. It’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do—and the wisest. Trust your destiny to God—the true King.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]