I’m only slightly obsessed with the royal family. It fits into that category of “All Things British” that makes my heart pitter-patter and leads my friend to determine that the most appropriate way to celebrate my 30th birthday is with British film and copious amounts of tea.
Watching The Crown gave me, and much of the world, such new insight into what it means to be a part of a monarchy. The sense of duty and obligation and denial of self – not out of a place of negativity, but because you truly believe in what you represent. Some may find that limiting and archaic – I found it inspiring and challenging.
Yesterday morning, as I was doing my daily gossip run, I read a lengthy article about Meghan Markle’s acclimation to royal life. One quote stood out to me as capturing that spirit shown in The Crown:
“But when you’re in the royal family, you have to learn it’s not about you, it’s about what you represent.”
To read about Queen Elizabeth II is to learn discipline and moderation and true denial of self. She believes in her role. She believes it’s important. She’s willing to forsake other things in its support.
That, I realized, is a real-life, modern example of what it means to follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we must realize it’s about Him. It’s about His glory. It is absolutely not about ourselves. Just this morning, I read in Isaiah 48 that He refined His people, not for them, but so that His glory would not go to another. It’s all about Him. And for us, as His followers, it’s about representing Him well.
Some might think that to be a monarch is to live in the lap of luxury, to get everything you want, to have no limits. I imagine that the Queen would deny that wholeheartedly. There are obvious benefits, to be sure. Benefits I can’t begin to imagine. But at the end of the day, she doesn’t get to be just Elizabeth. She must be the Queen. She must uphold what she represents.
In a similar sense, some Christians believe that to follow Jesus is to live a life free from trouble or strife. Still others believe that if you’re not daily living in poverty, you’re not living the Gospel. Both of these stances – prosperity and poverty – miss the boat. It’s not about swinging entirely to one side – it’s about denying what you think is best for you and living for what best brings glory to God. It’s about upholding what you represent. And just as the Queen and her household enjoy perks others can’t imagine, we as Christ followers enjoy benefits beyond our own reckoning. Not (necessarily) in the form of Land Rovers or palaces, but in His peace and love and mercy. And, sure, for some of us there may be a Land Rove sprinkled in.
At the end of the day, I don’t get to be just Christin. I must uphold the God that I represent. And rather than see it as something limiting and archaic, I want to view it as the Queen views her role as monarch – a source of purpose and meaning.