I love hymns. For decades I have sung them with full voice, appreciated
the theological depth they add to my worship, and memorized their
lyrics while meditating on the timeless truths so many of them contain.
They have been my close companions when days are dark and dismal, when
I’ve felt oppressed and tested, as well as when my heart
soars in glorious celebration.
Recently my thoughts were arrested by the last two lines of one of
Charles Wesley’s hymns as I pondered:
till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
We’re entering a season of gift-giving, which brings us great
delight. Who doesn’t find joy watching someone we love open a
gift we have wrapped just for them?
Yet I would like to suggest that we change our focus for at least a few
moments before Christmas Day and think of the crowns our Lord has
wrapped for us, which we will accept—and then immediately
give back to Him. These are the ones Wesley had in mind.
- The imperishable crown (1 Cor. 9:24–27). This
will be awarded to those who consistently bring the flesh under the
Spirit’s control, refusing to yield to its evil desires.
- The crown of exultation (Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess.
2:19–20). This crown will be received by those servants who
faithfully share the good news of salvation, leading souls to the
- The crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:7–8). Our
Lord will award this crown to all who live each day anticipating
Christ’s imminent return in the clouds for His Own.
- The crown of life (James 1:12). This crown is reserved for
those who endure great suffering and trials, loving the Lord.
- The crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:1–4). This crown is
reserved for the faithful “shepherd of the flock”
who has carried out the responsibilities as set forth by Peter in
verses 2 and 3.
And how will God’s servants respond after unwrapping such
magnificent rewards given because of His grace? There will be one
glorious crown-casting expression of worship, the likes of which no
earthly Christmas could compare! And instead of walking around the room
picking up ribbons and paper after it’s over, we’ll
all be harmonizing on some heavenly hymn sung to the Lamb as we are
kneeling before Him, “lost in wonder, love, and
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.