educate equip enable
I recently had the joy of travelling to Thailand.
Whenever I go to a new place, I love to drink in the differences in culture and to observe what makes that country unique.
I soon discovered that the Thai people are beautiful, humble people who are very respectful and welcoming.
We soon adopted their habit of greeting and farewelling everyone with a bow.
The food was a delight, the shopping an adventure and the traffic chaotic!
But none of these was the outstanding feature.
We had only been in the country a very short time, when we noticed how many posters and billboards displayed pictures of the king.
In some he was wearing his full regal robes, complete with sash and medals.
In others he was depicted surrounded by swarms of smiling people, or standing beside the Queen.
Still others showed him as a man of vision, looking out over projects which were being undertaken for the benefit of the community.
We encountered smaller versions of his portrait, on postcards displayed in markets, on calendars tacked up in shops or paintings hung in homes.
Most of them, whether inside or out, were draped with banners, surrounded by candles or decked with flowers.
You could not possibly miss the message that these people are passionately devoted to their King.
As if that were not enough proof, we learned that every Monday, all government workers, and many members of the general population, wear a yellow shirt as a sign of respect for their ruler.
When we visited the winter palace, we found that strict dress codes were enforced, with visitors who presented with bare shoulders or legs, having to hire clothes that were more acceptable, before they could be given permission to even enter the grounds.
Again it was about respect, even though the King was not even in residence at the time we were there.
It was now clear that nobody could be in Thailand for longer than a few minutes, without being absolutely clear as to who the King was, and how greatly he was loved.
This caused me to think about how I, as a Christian, display my allegiance to my King - Jesus Christ.
When people meet me, is it obvious to them that the central focus of my life is to honour my God and King?
Do they know it from observing my speech, behaviour, choices and lifestyle?
It's a tough standard to meet; it always seems that the times I fall short are the times that most people are watching.
Thankfully, God looks on my heart and not my outward appearance.
He doesn't acknowledge me as His, based on my performance, or on my ability to fulfill rules and rituals.
Rather He accepts me because another, Jesus, has already met all the requirements on my behalf, so there is nothing left for me to do except receive the relationship and unconditional love which is offered to me.
All I can do in response is make sure that I "let my light shine before all men", so they have no doubt who rules my life, and God can receive all the honour and glory.
This time of communion today gives us an opportunity to examine our lives and our priorities.
After all, Jesus prioritized us to such an extent, that He paid for our sins with His own broken body and blood.
Let's spend a quiet moment considering if there is any area that needs adjustment, so that all can see our allegiance to the true King of Kings, Jesus Christ.