Romans 8:29-30 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
The American author, Mark Twain, published his book the “The Prince and the Pauper” in 1881. It tells the story of two young boys who were born on the same day and were identical in appearance. Tom Canty who lived with his abusive, alcoholic father off Pudding lane in London and Edward VI of England, son of King Henry VIII.
Tom had been loitering around the palace gates one day and he met Edward Tudor, prince of Wales. Having been overcome with excitement, Tom was captured and beaten by one of the royal guards. Edward, having seen the display stopped what was happening and invited Tom into his palace chamber. Once the two boys got to know one another, they were fascinated by each other’s life and by the uncanny resemblance they had to one another. When they learned they had been born the same day, they decided to switch places temporarily. The prince, before he left the palace hid an item that we learn later was the Great Seal of England. When Edward leaves in Tom’s clothes, he is summarily escorted back home to live with Tom’s abusive, alcoholic father and quickly finds the need to escape. In the process of fleeing the abuse, Edward meets Miles Hendon, a soldier and nobleman returning home from war. Edward tries to convince him he is actually the prince of Wales but Miles is only humored by the claim, only then deciding to become his protector. News reaches Edward that his father, King Henry VIII had died and so Tom, disguised still as the prince, comes in line for the throne.
Tom continually struggled with the customs and manners of the throne while Edward gained first hand knowledge of the brutal life of a London pauper. The court continually asked Tom concerning the whereabouts of the Great Seal, to which he had no knowledge. Edward, on the other hand experienced the stark class inequality that existed in England, including the harsh judicial system where people were burned at the stake, pilloried, and flogged.
Just before the coronation of Tom as king, Edward comes back and tries to convince the court that he is the rightful heir to the throne. Edward’s knowledge of the whereabouts of the Great Seal prove his rightful place, leaving all who witness the spectacle in shock.
Edward assumed his rightful place as King and then appointed Miles as an Earl and his family the honor of sitting in the presence of the king. Tom was granted the position as the “King’s ward”, a position he held for life.
This fictitious story carries with it a parallel not to different than real life. A spiritual distinction that rings true for all caught up in this grandiose spectacle of spiritual warfare.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
Following in the footsteps of Christ is the call to assume the role of the pauper. The stern, wicked alcoholic father is a role the world assumes all too readily. Don’t get me wrong, the position of pauper is not a position of disgrace but one of honor. As a minister of God, the pauper represents the King and in so doing, walks in the Kings glory, a glory that is not his own.
The world does not receive this counter cultural position well. Moving against the tide of self righteousness, hedonistic gain, and a relativity of truth is a position that becomes offensive to all who follow the worlds creed.
What can the pauper expect?
- A need to remain patient
- An expectation of tribulation
- Hunger and thirst
- Distressing troubles
- Bumpy roads
- Hard work
- Tireless efforts
- Fasts of prayer
- Striving in the gifts of the Spirit
- Walking in Love, Truth, and the Power of God
- Wearing the full armor of God
- You will be honored and dishonored
- People will attempt to charge you with evil and good
- Regarded as deceivers and yet administers of truth
- Deeds done in anonymity and yet proclaimed in the Heavens
- Dying to self that we might live
- Arising from adversity
- Sorrowful for others and rejoicing in victories
- Being poor but making many rich
- Appearing as paupers but equipped with the riches of Heaven
Does this sound like the life you hoped for?
From the appearance of the world, you would be a fool to choose such a life. The appearance of the pauper evokes the ridicule of all who seek the riches of the world. Many think they have gained everything in this world only to find out they lack anything of any true value.
The appearance of the Pauper hides their true worth. Value beyond compare lies at their feet, the riches of God’s glory is at their disposal and the investments of their lives continue to accrue interest that will be rewarded for an eternity.
Proverbs 11:18 “The wicked man earns an empty wage, but he who sows righteousness reaps a true reward.”
There are two types of princes in this world:
- The prince of darkness. The ruler of the air rules over over nothing that can be grasped. This realm has no substance and to all who subscribe to this deceiver, they likewise inherit the wind. Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Followers of this prince seek only personal fulfillment. Their flesh cries out for more, only to remain insatiable. They seek more knowledge, only to lift themselves up and present themselves as noble. The other side lives by a different value.
- The Prince of Peace. Jesus came unassuming, born in a stable, the proclamation of His birth was announced to the lowly shepherds in the fields. Having lived as a carpenter like His father, He came to the world as one despised and ridiculed, appearing as having nothing but holding the keys to life, He bore our sorrows and carried our griefs. Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” To those who follow Him, they too must assume the position as He. You will not be lauded by this world, but your acclaim will carry far more value. Praise that comes from the King is praise that is worth seeking. Praise from the world is an acclaim that comes from those destined for destruction.
We all have a choice and then again, we all don’t.
There are none who may opt out, the world has no conscientious objectors in its ranks, the war for the souls of mankind is a war that pits the forces of darkness against the King of light. We either choose the Lord of all glory as our Prince to whom we follow into the fight or we sleek away into the darkness only to find the lord of the flies as the dark deceiver who has already been defeated.
The end of the story has already been written. To which side will you be standing?
Psalm 24:7-10 “Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah
We who are called by His name, the name of Jesus, will be honored with the honor that He purchased alone with His blood. We will be unrightfully brought into His throne room as heirs with Him…because of His grace.
To those who choose this world, the end will come in shame and disappointment. The false promises of this ruthless prince will prove only be the deception needed to sway the masses toward oblivion. The curse of sin remains on those who choose the wide gate and broad road, a lake of fire awaits all who walk blindly to his beat.
Until death leads you through the corridor of judgement, you still have a choice. It must be made. To reject one places you in the camp of the other.
Eternal life or eternal death.
The choice seems obvious, but if it was that easy, why don’t all follow?
You can only be the judge of yourself as to whom you will serve. Your actions are your own, you have all the knowledge you need, now it’s time to act.