To be a prince
To start off, I'd like to read a little fairy tale.
The Beaver Prince
by Oren Otter
A princess sat beside the lake upon her grand estate.
Up to her swam a beaver, who told her of his fate.
"An evil wizard" said the beast "has placed a spell on me.
He changed me to a beaver, as you can plainly see."
"Once I was a hero, of my deeds the bards would sing.
And that's not all, I was a prince. My father is a king.
My form was rather dashing. My face was fine and fair.
And wealth and lands, I had so much, as father's only heir."
"But now I am a beaver, and a beaver's life I live.
But this no longer has to be, if one thing you will give.
I beg of you to give to me a thing you'll never miss.
This spell, it can be broken only by a princess' kiss."
The princess thought about the things she heard the beaver say.
If all of this was true, she couldn't let him get away.
A handsome prince with wealth and lands, now that she couldn't miss!
"Marry me." the princess said. "And you shall have your kiss."
And so they wed, and then they kissed, to many teary eyes.
And he turned into an otter, much to his bride's surprise.
"What's going on? You're not a prince? This wasn't in my plan!"
"I am a prince!" he said. "I never said I was a man."
When I say "prince", what do you think of? I'm guessing you think of a dashing young man dressed in velvet and gold, with tights and a sword and a little crown with ermine lining around the base. He has gorgeous hair, teeth that sparkle and a singing voice that makes forest animals run to the fairest maiden in the land and say "You gotta hear this!" But we know that very few princes actually look like that. Princes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. And did you know that there is more than one type of prince? The classic definition of a prince is either the son of a king and/or queen or the heir to the throne. In the case of a crown prince, it is both. But in the old Testament, the word "prince" is used to mean anyone who governs, but is lower than the king. This may mean anyone from a cabinet member to the guy in charge of the DMV. In Animorphs, any andalite in authority is called a prince and any military officer is a war prince.
Every Christian is a prince. Yes, even the girls, though I don't think anyone would object if you used the term "princess". We fit every definition of the word "prince". We are sons of God. Yes, even the girls, because they are equal heirs with us boys. We are heirs to the kingdom, destined to be kings. Not the HIGH king, of course. That privilege belongs to Jesus as the literal "King of kings". And of more immediate consequence, we are ministers of God. Not "minister" as in priest, rabbi or pastor, although those are included, but "minister" as in government officials. We are the ones entrusted with our Father's authority in order to do His work.
Now I am going to shift gears for just a moment here, but if you'll be patient with me, you'll see how this fits. I spent two hours this morning studying American and world history. What I learned today reinforces what I have said in my river of history series. There is only one war. Every single conflict that the United States has ever been in, without exception, can be traced back to a single source: the conflict between British and American ideologies. Even the world wars, in which the US and Britain fought on the same side, are a direct result of that conflict, and that conflict is itself only part of a greater war. This war has foisted countless miseries on the human race, including slavery, poverty, drug addiction, genocide, murder, forced fascism and communism, and of course, the eventual elimination of religion from the world. If the New World Order conspiracy has its way, Earth will be a living Hell, ruled by the darkness, where a few fat cats live high on the hog while sliding into the lake of fire. This darkness is powerful. I speak not of satan, although he was the first piece of this darkness and serves as its guide, but all those who knowingly or unknowingly inflict horrors upon their fellow man for whatever reason. It is a force that seems unstoppable. Just seeing how it has gripped our planet is enough to make a strong man break down and weep.
But praise be, there is one stronger than the darkness. The light of the world is Jesus! He is the Dayspring! He is the light that illuminates the world and drives back the darkness, and we are his children! We are the children of the day and of the light! If we have Jesus within our hearts, then every time we open up our hearts, we are going to stab the darkness. That is the very purpose of man! It is to love God and to serve Him, and as our God is the light, serving Him means shining His light and fighting back the darkness. Every one of us who calls God his Father is a war prince. Our mission on this Earth is first and foremost to rescue anyone who is willing to be rescued from the darkness by telling them that God loves them, and that Jesus died to save them, and that by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, they can have eternal life in Heaven, and they can conquor the darkness! And then after that, we are to brighten the corner of the world where we are.
Do you all remember my sermon titled "The Least"? It was about how God is able to use whatever little you have to give to accomplish great things. The widow who gave her two mites shone her light into the darkness and with a little help from Jesus, that light stabbed through the darkness and is now visible across the world and through all of time. The darkness will never be able to recover from that blow, and will never obscure that deed again. And if you do even a small thing such as write a song and give it to someone to brighten their day, you have done three things. You have exercised creativity, expressed your freedom and acted in love. Those three things are like poison to the darkness. Love especially. Any little act of love you may do is a service to God, no matter how small.
This is our mission as princes. To serve our Father by shining His light of love and mercy.
Now I'm going to go off on another tangent which will circle back around into our subject.
John Smith was a loyal carpenter, working for a very successful building contractor who called him into his office one day and said, "John, I'm putting you in charge of the next house we build. I want you to order all the materials and oversee the whole job from the ground up."
John accepted the assignment with great enthusiasm and excitement. For ten days before ground was broken at the building site, John studied the blueprints. He checked every measurement, every specification. Suddenly he had a thought. "If I am really in charge," he said to himself, "why couldn't I cut a few corners, use less- expensive materials, and put the extra money in my pocket? Who would know the difference? Once the house is painted, it will look just great."
So John set about his scheme. He ordered second-grade lumber, but his reports indicated that it was top-grade. He ordered inexpensive concrete for the foundation, put in cheap wiring, and cut every corner he could, yet he reported the purchase of much better materials. When the home was completed and fully painted, he asked the contractor to come and see it.
"John," said the contractor, "What a magnificent job you have done! You have been such a good and faithful carpenter all these years that I have decided to show my gratitude by giving you this house you have built, as a gift!"
One of the things being a prince means is being heir. We are heirs of the universe. Someday, God will wipe out the darkness once and for all. When He does, what will be left? The universe we inherit will be the one we helped Him build. When the wood, hay and stubble is burnt away, the precious treasure that is our service to God will remain. Just how much that will be is up to us. Jesus encourages us to store up our treasures in Heaven. These treasures aren't just going to be our rewards from God for our service, but the natural consequences of our actions as well. Friends who accepted Christ in response to us. Kindnesses remembered. Joys that will live on in the hearts of those who received them. These things will be as plentiful as we will make them.
And now, I would like to make a confession. Thursday morning, as I mentioned earlier, I was studying history, and I became aware of the darkness once again. It was disturbing to realize that I had forgotten about it. I had become so wrapped up in my own problems that I forgot to fight it. I have said many times that the reason I draw comics is to fight the darkness with laughter and learning. My health and finances and lack of success so clouded my vision that I forgot who I was. Consequently, I was not acting very princely. I was not putting the principle of Noblesse Oblige into practice. A prince's duty is not to himself, it is to those over whom he rules. He rules not to serve himself, but to serve his people. I was put here to serve, and instead, I put my own needs first. I asked you to find another pastor, ceased my art and literally withdrew into my shell. That is going to change. God has given me this corner of the web, with St. Fred's, Ottercomics and OtterTunes and miscelaneous other bits. I am the prince of Pandora, and I am going to start acting like a prince.
And this is my challenge to you. Anyone who bears the name "Christian" is a prince (or princess, if you prefer). It becomes us to act like royalty. Not the royalty of this world, but like the truly royal and noble Jesus Christ. I adjure you to always be mindful of who you are, and to remember that you have a mission. You are the prince (or princess) of the corner of the world where you have been placed. Shine the light of God's love where you are. If you are not a Christian, well, you'll notice that there are a lot of empty thrones here. One of them is waiting for you. You have only to accept the gracious invitation of the King to be one of His children.
5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.