It is such an impressive and grand display of beautiful and priceless artifacts. Something that I will never forget.
What I will also never forget was a sermon by a youth pastor. He was trying to encourage the youth of the church to do what is right. His title of the sermon was "I want a big crown!" He went into a lot of description of the crown that he wanted to have in eternity and then also spoke of how every time we do a good deed, another jewel is added to the crown.
He said he wanted to be in heaven walking around with a big crown with lots of jewels placed therein.
His biblical support was the "crown of life" and the "crown of righteousness" that is given to those who are steadfast in trial and remain faithful to Jesus.
I recall, thinking later, "where in the world did he get this idea of walking around with a crown and earning jewels?" His scriptural support was lacking but the idea was intriguing. I pondered if what he said was actually true. One of the things that's good about sermons, is that they encourage you to study God's Word to see if what the pastor is saying is truly from God or from his own fanciful ideas.
I was reading in the book of Revelation and came upon chapter four. This chapter talks a little bit about crowns.
Specifically "24 elders" who had crowns.
I imagine if there were 24 individuals, who are called elders, who had crowns, they would probably have very big crowns with lots of jewels. I would imagine of everybody in heaven, they would probably have the biggest and best. After all, they are the top 24 in heaven. They have their own thrones, are dressed in white and rule with God.
But what I read in verse 10 openly contradicted what this pastor had to say. This verse states that the 24 elders lay their crowns at Jesus' feet. So, if we do walk around with crowns, we have clear instructions of what we are to do with them. We are to follow the lead of the 24 elders and lay them at the throne.
So that means, what Isaiah (a man who had a vision of God) says, "our righteousness is as filthy rags." All the things that we do to make everybody notice us, all the good things that we do, all the things that we do for our own righteousness will be laid at God's throne.
So, where does that leave you and me?
We need to focus on pleasing God and not on pleasing ourselves.
We need not focus on things that make us look righteous.
We need not focus on our eternal reward.
We need to focus on what the 24 elders focus: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."