Life declares it and a poet once wrote it - you have a right to be here. The writer of the poem Desiderata, was Max Ehrmann, a lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana. For years, it was thought that the writer of Desiderata was an unknown scribe from the 16th century. But Max was a real guy. He had a place. Finding one's place in life is part of the human journey. A modern day aide at Buckingham Palace may not be your place. Becoming an apprentice to 'The Donald' at Trump Headquarters or hailed by a wealthy circle of "Dragon's Den' CEOs who with a single word can declare your success or failure, may not be your destiny, (and that is probably a good thing!). Whatever your circumstances, be assured, you have a place.
There's a great story about a king that reminds us of this truth. You know the story.
It appeared from the start that this king didn't have a place. He was born out of an at first 'unwanted pregnancy' under a cold night sky...in a lean-to barn...awash with the smells of mouldy hay and other unwelcome earthy scents. By all accounts, the king was an unlikely candidate to be 'the' king foretold through the ages, and by the biblical prophet, Isaiah...
A ‘nobody’ really, this baby, a stable king, yet a ruling tyrant named Herod sought to kill him. Shepherds asleep on Galilean hillsides heard angels singing His glory and ran to find him alongside three eastern kings who had traced a bright star to the baby king's straw bed and were offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Perhaps these sages foresaw his future, for myrrh was used in ancient times to prepare bodies for burial.
The king was born and grew up in quiet obscurity. He was a small town boy who learned woodworking from his adoptive father, and it was by no means a 'kingly' career. Did his trade foreshadow his destiny, perhaps, the forging of a wooden cross where he would hang and die a seemingly untimely, unfair and gruesome death?
No question, the king's reign disappointed some. Many praised as he rode into Jerusalem, yet many were puzzled when he rode into town upon a donkey instead of a kingly war horse. His ministry was short, perhaps two or three years, and included astounding words of authority and acts of power never before witnessed - the dead raised, the sick healed, demons cast out, society's cast-offs loved by Him. Many followed, yet scattered when the king was arrested. The king was proven innocent of any crimes, yet was sentenced to death.
He died on a Roman cross atop a lonely hill and was mocked as 'King of the Jews'. Recorded testimony tells of the king rising from death. One of his closest followers couldn't believe it and insisted touching the Master's wounded side where a Roman spear had once pierced Him.
The King's fishermen friends ate with their resurrected Lord on a stretch of beach one morning, amazed by the great catch of fish they had caught after toiling all night. But at the Master's word, they had cast their nets again, and suddenly the nets were weighted down with enough fish for a year's worth of wages.
The king left with ascension both glorious and mysterious, promising His return. Persecution plagued His followers. Countless numbers died attesting to His love, glory, power and grace, all godly attributes which somehow threatened earthly thrones. Within a few centuries, many followers remained hidden behind walls of 'religion'. Ruled by earthly kings, the King's plans seemed to be all but forgotten, replaced by gleaming institutions adept at using the King's story as a foil for waging wars. The King's 'house' now resembled what He had once warned it might become, "My house should be a House of Prayer, but you have made it... a den of thieves..."
What became of this King and His kingdom, a king who promised no earthly riches and fame and who had said, "No servant is greater than his master...?" In a world where kings soon unveil flaws, and greed for dominion and clashing egos topple domains like dominoes, many wonder why some still follow the King of Kings. Some say he was an abandoning 'loser king', a crutch for the weak, dull-minded and dreary. Some say they find His words confusing, although little children hear His truth, "I am the Light of the World. He who follows me will have the light of life."
The King's subjects can now be found serving in every walk of life throughout the nations. They serve humbly, quietly, boldly, and while news headlines seldom report it, many around the world die for believing in Him. They serve from boardrooms and prisons, from palaces and garbage collection sites. The King's sovereignty is visible in the lives of His people, for as He said, "The Kingdom of heaven is within you..."
A number of years ago I worked for a CEO and long time Christ-follower. It was creative work, but mundane tasks kept getting in the way - dishes to wash in the staff room, lunches to serve, garbage to be hauled out, errands to run, messes to be organized, routines we all face wherever service is required. One day, as I collected yet another endless heap of garbage from the office bins, stuffing reams of paper into a recycling bin, the CEO grinned, and asked with a teasing sparkle in his eyes, "How's my garbage lady doing?"
"I may look like a garbage lady, sir...but remember...I am the daughter of a King..."
No matter where you may be 'at' today, remember...you have a place, a right to be here. The King who gave you life and the opportunity to be here in the first place wouldn't invite your presence without a purpose and a plan. Whatever the plan may be, may you find a new place with Him...this Christmas.