I have sought many crowns in 47 years of life. I sought to be crowned with acceptance at a particular university. Then I sought the crown of diploma, and then the right kind of employment. I sought the acceptance and approval crown of men and women. I sought the crown of love, and the crown of material things, bank accounts and cars and houses and various small gadgets.
But my crown seeking is slowing today. Not disappeared, just disappearing. Perhaps this happens on the back side of life, with a view of all the accumulated crowns, some nice, some not so much. Some rusted…and many turned to dust.
And today I read this, almost it seemed, for the first time…
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8 (ESV)
The crown of righteousness…waiting for Paul…waiting for me, because I, for one, can’t wait for His appearing. It’s on layaway, you might say, only with no further payments to be made.
This is the gospel – the greatest crown, the crown of perfect righteousness accessorized with a spotless robe…and it’s earned not like any other crown, through late nights and striving and stress. This one is earned by the labor of Another, and granted to me by faith, at a banquet and awards ceremony given by the Righteous Judge.