Once upon a time, the lord of the manor drew attention to himself through great pomp and circumstance. His title came with the luxury of wearing fine clothes, shiny shoes with brass buckles, and other fineries afforded to those of his station. Events such as balls and seasonal fetes showcased his affluence. Those who ascended to have greater authority to rule over vast lands and to lead armies and war against aggressors were given crowns and a royal cloak to wear. A signet-ring served as the emblem of his authority and was often pressed into wax to signify his will by decree. And in his hand he would hold an ornate rod, the symbol of the pinnacle of his power.
Not since King George have we colonists tolerated such ostentatiousness. The spirit of democracy casts off the need for imperialism and the fondness of monarchical finery. Never the less, how many of us have declared: “I am king of my castle.”
Be it built with brick and mortar or speeding down the highway behind an automobile rolling on wheels, our homes become our domain. We possess four walls with treasures accumulated over time. We have thrones of naugahyde or course plaid fabric placed centrally before our wide screen televisions and in our hands we raise high our modern scepters – the remote control.
Even before remote controls, the king of the castle possessed power over the mere serfs. Being the youngest in my family, I was vigilant, ready for the command to rise and turn to Hawaii Five-0 or Mannix.
When I ascended to the throne and had a young squire and damsels at my beck and call, the power wielded by the one who held this scepter came to me, and I thrilled to all the options open to the one in charge of the remote control. With a flick of the wrist and a press of an arrow, I moved across networks, changing channels favoring or dismissing programs and shows. (This control is heady stuff.)
But with great power comes great responsibility, and I learned the lesson of those kings of castles before me.
I am not the only one affected by my scepter wielding authority. Late at night, I practice the art of total control, just me and the wide screen. But on Sunday afternoons,
I raise the remote and click over to Thomas the Train, Curious George or the Care Bears while my one-year-old granddaughter Emmalie claps and smiles at the decision. On Thursday evenings after the vocabulary quiz is written and weekly lesson plans are completed, I click the remote to my wife’s favorite program on PBS or HGTV. The grateful look and head on my shoulder are enough for my satisfaction with my choice made on another’s behalf. I’ve learned that taking others into consideration is a priority of most kings.
When we changed households, I sorted through stuff to make sure nothing came with me that I could leave behind.
In the bottom of the television console, a drawer of remotes lay dormant, relegated to this space after I purchased a universal remote to bring all my media devices under the will of an all powerful one.
In my own life, I learn time and again to temper my plans and personal will to the authority of the One who calls me by name. I am the head of my household, the king of my castle, but I am also a child of the Almighty, and every decision I make must be aligned to His greater purpose. Being tuned in to the will of my Savior keeps my channels set at the right program, and although I hold the remote, I choose to meld my wishes and desires to Jesus who lives in me.
Peter writes: “For all power belongs to God, now and forever.” He reminds us that God is trustworthy: “...the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” Yielding to God places the control in the right hands – the God of the universe.
I did find the perfect place for one of my old remotes. Right beside mine now resides a smaller one, same black shell with brightly colored buttons, and when Emmalie toddles in and curls up beside me on Sunday afternoons, she takes hold of her little scepter, points to the television, and clicks happily away.